A Texas man stopped by Gettysburg during a 1,500-mile trek to raise funds for film school.
Timothy Judd started his journey three months ago with a goal of fundraising for a full-length movie. Along the way, he learned Columbia University accepted his application to join its film school. Faced with a $300,000 tuition bill, Judd has since been hiking to raise awareness about the rising cost of education and to raise enough money to cover graduate school expenses.
Judd arrived in Gettysburg on Monday, about 200 miles away from his destination of New York City.
"It's been pretty rough the last couple of days," Judd said.
He tent camps most of the time, but tries to stay in a hotel once a week to get cleaned up. Judd opted to walk along the road rather than through the woods on an actual trail because he needs to be around people in order to raise the most money. He didn't have much hiking experience beforehand. Judd previously studied business administration at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina.
"I just threw some stuff in a duffel bag and headed out," Judd said.
He was inspired by his childhood experience of volunteering for a walk-a-thon.
Judd hasn't paid for a single meal or hotel room since he started hiking. He said when people learn what he's walking for, they want to help.
"I think we can all agree education has become ridiculously overpriced," Judd said. "Intelligence should not be limited by financial constraints."
Judd's dream is to produce films that make a difference in society. He's interested in themes such as corruption of power, autoimmune diseases, and of course, the rising cost of education.
He started the hike in Houston with $22 in his pocket, and through the "goodness of strangers," Judd hasn't had to use charge cards.
Thus far, Judd has his education about 38 percent funded. Columbia University got wind of his hiking fundraiser and awarded him a $10,000 scholarship and $5,000 work study position, according to Judd. He's personally raised about $1,060 thus far.
With New York only a few weeks away, Judd said it's bittersweet to know his journey is almost over.
"I think the biggest thing I've learned is respect," Judd said.
Although he's had good and bad experiences on the trail, Judd said one of the highlights was when he stopped to help strangers with a flat tire.
Two men standing by a low-riding car flagged down Judd outside Columbus, Ohio late in the day. Since the car was so low to the ground, the men didn't know how they'd get a jack underneath to swap out the tire. Judd said he tried digging out gravel underneath the tire, but when he hit concrete, he knew they'd have to call a tow. He started to walk away when one of the guys called him back, handed him some cash and offered him a few bottles of ice cold water as a way of thanking him for trying.
This and other instances of what Judd refers to as "trail magic" make the hike just a little bit easier.
To learn more about Judd's journey or to donate, visit https://timothyjuddfilms.wordpress.com/.