BRILLIANT — Some like walking for fun. Some like to walk on a track or to take a hike through the forest. Some like to walk to every state.
That is what one couple is doing. Calling themselves Walking America Couple, and using this phrase for different social media accounts, their mission is to walk to every state in the continental United States. Their trek brought them to Marion County and Brilliant on Nov. 10, where they were welcomed at the fire department during the veterans and Thanksgiving meal.
Torin Rouse, 30, and Paige Rouse, 23, began their journey in Chillicothe, Missouri, on May 16, 2022, and have been to 15 of the 48 states. They are still in Alabama but are close to the Florida and Georgia state line.
“This is a search for happiness, more than anything,” Torin said. “Obviously, there are people who have every material possession you can ask for, and they are not happy. Then you have people who have almost nothing, even who can’t necessarily get to feed themselves, but they are happy.”
Torin mentioned he worked a corporate job but was not happy doing so. He met Paige while she was a waitress and convinced her to go backpacking with him.
“Originally, when we started this, I just wanted to see if we could,” Torin continued. “We wanted to see if we could walk from our home state (Missouri) over to Denver...what happened instead, we fell in love with the people, and that pulled us in. It became about the people.”
He mentioned there are cultural differences, not only between states, but between county lines.
“You can watch the wave percentages drop off or escalate,” he added. “So after seeing Kansas, we wanted to see the rest of the country. We expected Kansas to be fairly boring. But it wasnt.”
In regards to Alabama, Torin said Alabama was in close contention with the friendliest state: Wisconsin.
“I think by the time we make our way out of Alabama, it might end up taking the top spot, honestly.”
“(The people) are so friendly,” Paige echoed.
Before coming to Brilliant, they were in Haleyville, as well as at Bear Creek, Phil Campbell, Russellville, Littleville and Cherokee. After leaving Brilliant, their route took them through Eldridge, Jasper and then between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, since the couple usually stay away from the bigger cities.
Using social media, they find people willing to host them for a day or two before moving on. While in Brilliant, they stayed with Champ and Michelle Thomas.
“We produce a lot of content about the goodness of people and about ways we can be happy,” Torin said. “Walkingamericacouple.com has links to all of our social media. From there, you can find your way to YouTube. Facebook has our day to day content.”
What’s next for the couple? Find out at walkingamericacouple.com.
Last week, Torin and Paige officially decided that Alabama has taken first place for the friendliest state.
See complete story in the Journal Record.