Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 12:55 PM on 6th February 2011
Walking more than 2,200 miles across the U.S. sounds like enough of a challenge.
But not for Erik Bendl, who has spent much of the last four years trekking through 23 states with the extra burden of a six-foot-high, 80lb inflatable canvas globe.
Mr Bendl, 48, who calls himself 'World Guy'', is now on his fifth epic trek in four years. The walks have taken him as far east as Acadia National Park in Maine and as far west as Pike's Peak in Colorado - all to raise awareness of diabetes.
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Weight of the world: Erik Bendl and his six-foot globe on their epic trek across the United States
One man and his dog: Erik covers around 10 miles each day, relying on passers-by to take him back to his van each evening
His mother, Greta Bendl, a Kentucky state representative, died from the disease in 1987, at the age of 54.
Determined to do something to honour her, in the late 1990s he began walking with the globe, which he and his son used to play with when he was little.
He began with a 160-mile walk around Kentucky for the American Diabetes Association, and spent seven years walking in parades through the state.
In 2007, after he and his wife divorced and his son grew up, he began the first of his long walks, a 430-mile trek from Louisville to Pittsburgh.
Now he is nearly halfway through his fifth walk, up Route 1. He left Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on January 10, and hopes to reach Savannah, Georgia, by March 10.
But he said: 'On my other walks, I've had a set place I was going to make it to and I just was sitting at home a few weeks ago and I realised I could pay my bills and open up my schedule for a couple months.
this is one of those "it's not the destination, but the journey,"
He says he walks 'to spread the word that diabetes is a worldwide problem and we all need to get involved and step out for our health'.
Throughout the journey, he talks to people about the disease, posting their stories on his blog from the Blackberry he carries around his neck.
All walked out: Mr Bendl's four-year-old dog, Nice, who has accompanied him thousands of miles across the U.S.
One step at a time: Erik Bendl has trundled his globe across 22 states since 2007 to raise awareness of diabetes
He walks with his dog, Nice, for company, notching up about ten miles a day.
Mr Bendl walks without any formal support team. Instead he says he relies on his GPS - the 'Good People System' - to take him back to his van each evening. He then drives back to where he finished his walk, sleeps, and begins again.
He said: 'They don't ask me if I'm crazy - they tell me I'm crazy.'
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