"World Guy"; why he's rolling a giant globe across the state

Published: Aug. 7, 2017 at 7:38 PM CDT
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With each step, "I've walked from Washington, DC to Maine," says Erik Bendl, pushing a giant globe across downtown Bowling Green.

Every trip across the United States, "I've walked from Sheboygan to Muskeogee, Oklahoma."

Each time, with the road leading him back home to Kentucky.

"And I've walked out of Louisville so many times it kind of gets rhetorical," he adds.

On Monday the "World Guy" as many call him brought his cause to Bowling Green.

"Is this the town square? Sweet!" says Bendl, walking into downtown for the first time.

Two weeks in on this trip, Bendl is walking from Louisville to Hopkinsville in honor of his late mother.

"That's why I'm doing it," he explains, "because she passed away from diabetes and somehow or another this ball has allowed me to get a lot of attention for the cause and for my heartache that I lost my mom to diabetes."

He says the globe came from a teacher he knew who was going to throw it out after no longer needing it.

Now, he takes it with him across America and people stop to watch, take pictures, and ask questions, as he explains it's all for promoting healthy living and raising awareness.

"I've made a non-profit for -- that gives to the American Diabetes Association for diabetes awareness," he says.

This particular trip also includes something special at the end.

"To meet my sister in Hopkinsville for the solar eclipse," Bendl says.

And rain or shine he's making his way there -- globe and all.

If you're wondering about where he sleeps, or what he does for shelter, he has a van he leaves parked during the day.

"And then I leapfrog the van up to wherever I get the world to, whether it be a firehouse, Walmart, corner store, and then sleep and supply out of the van. Wake up in the morning with fresh clothes, and a good attitude and take my little daily walk."

"Little" is an understatement. Bendl says he hikes anywhere from 8-12 hours every day, gaining around 10 miles.

"Every day I get some ride back to my van. I call it my GPS, my Good People System," he says.

Bendl ties the world up wherever he decides to stop for the day. Then, he relies on these other people to drive him back to his van, so he can then drive it and park it wherever he walked to that day, using the globe as his marker. The next day, he repeats the process.

As far as his plans after Hopkinsville,

"I might just keep walking."

Bendl says he's been into or through 48 states.

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