PORTLAND, Maine — Caleb Werntz shares his incredible journey of breaking free from the chronic cycle of homelessness.
Accompanied by his beloved cat, Marilyn Monroed, Caleb found solace and liberation through his trusty bicycle.
Caleb said the media often focuses on Marilyn's presence, but he believes his own story is equally deserving of recognition.
"I outran homelessness. I went so far in the direction of not being homeless and facing it head-on. I think that's the point. I've never really been homeless," Caleb said, reflecting on his journey with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Originally from New Hampshire, his dreams led him on a 3,000-mile journey away from home. As a passionate filmmaker, he ventured to Los Angeles, only to face financial struggles that left him without a place to call home.
It was during this challenging period that he found inspiration from a fellow resident at a homeless shelter, a man who had chosen to live life on two wheels. This encounter served as a catalyst, awakening him to the idea that he could break free from stagnation and embark on an exciting adventure of his own.
For two and a half years, he embarked on an extraordinary cross-country odyssey, crisscrossing the United States three different times.
He said he traveled over 15,000 miles, spanning an impressive 34 states. Although Caleb stopped counting the miles along the way, his focus shifted to the unique experiences and connections he forged during his nomadic existence.
It was during his initial countrywide adventure that Caleb's path crossed with Marilyn's, nine years ago. Throughout their travels, the two have always managed to find temporary resting places, whether for a single night or a few days.
"I have stayed at over a hundred fire stations, where I encountered incredible generosity," Caleb said.
He acknowledges the profound impact Marilyn has had on his journey. He recognizes that without her by his side, his travels would have been considerably lonelier.
Marilyn's warm and friendly nature serves as a bridge, allowing strangers to engage with Caleb on a personal level.
Through Marilyn, he has experienced the kindness and openness of others, proving that even in unfamiliar territory, genuine connections can be formed.
While their extraordinary journey continues to captivate audiences, they are currently contemplating a temporary pause in their adventures. Caleb says he plans to spend the summer in Maine, working to earn some money while enjoying a well-deserved break from on the road.
"This is a dream come true, being in Portland, catching this ferry, this is the end," Caleb said.
Through unwavering determination and the unwavering companionship of Marilyn, Caleb has defied the odds and paved his own path to freedom. As they momentarily pause their travels, Caleb and Marilyn serve as a reminder that even though the road may come to an end, momentarily, it is often just the beginning of a new chapter.
Their remarkable journey is far from over, promising more adventures, discoveries, and experiences that lie ahead.
If you want to follow along with Caleb, his website is here.