Scott "T.A.B.A." Ward writes The Thru-hiker's Manual for the Palmetto of South Carolina
I've been everywhere, man.
I've been everywhere, man.
Crossed the deserts bare, man.
I've breathed the mountain air, man.
Of travel I've had my share, man.
I've been everywhere.
The lyrics above are from a classic public domain song entitled "I've Been Everywhere" and a story of a man's worldly travels where he mentions the towns in which he has traveled. Scott Ward, I am quite sure, has been to every one of the places that the song mentions, at least twice.
Growing up I thought the thing to do was get an education, get a job, get married, have kids and pay on a house for 30 years. Well, I tried that route and the whole time felt I had joined the mold of what everyone else says you're supposed to do in life. I felt bland and as if I have never lived. I have been happily divorced for seven years now and don't have a 9 to 5 job and don't even know what the next day holds, most of the time. To me that is truly living instead of working your ass off for a subdivision home on green street or a tomb for the next thirty years of your life. Hey, if that's what you want, I see nothing wrong with it and, by all means, go for it.
Recently, my adventures had me back stage at the monthly Trans-south Wrestling show held in Union, South Carolina operated by my pal, Derik Vanderford. Being a fan of pro wrestling all my life, I show up every month and help, any way I can. This past month held a wonderful surprise for me. I get back stage, and while shaking hands and seeing all the behind the scenes goings- on, I was approached by a guy who just started to talk to me. At first I assumed he was a friend of one of the wrestlers, for every show is different and many travel from many different parts to make the show. He introduced himself to me as Scott Ward, but I was asked to call him by his nickname, T.a.b.a. (which I later learned was an acronym meaning "there and back again") He was a very nice and energetic fella who donned a goatee and came off like a hippie type. I notice that TABA had a huge back pack that would make even Dora the explorer scream "Guau!" (That's Spanish for "Wow!"). It was something between a hiker and a homeless man carryall complete with "this and that's" of things I shall never know. He told me he had been walking for a few days and that Deon Johnson (the Trans-South Champion pro-wrestling champion/ local celebrity) saw him walking and picked him up. One of the cool things about the state of South Carolina is we have every form of land, from the top of the state, which has the unmatched beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. In 1994 a trail was born. The trail was intended for preservation, recreation, and conservation from the mountains to the sea. It is 425 miles of hiking and cycling paths along lakes, mountains, forests and towns, both big and small - and one of the best ways to get a feel for the great state of South Carolina. Scot "Taba" Ward walked the entire trail and, as fate would have it, led him backstage at a Trans- South Wrestling show. He began to show me pictures of his adventures and tell me the story about having Thanksgiving dinner with the mayor of a small town. He was also using his quest to bring awareness of the Palmetto Trail by speaking at churches, Boy Scouts, schools and whoever else would listen. I was blown away by what he was doing and thought to myself- "This guy is really living….Really LIVING!" He told me he was hoping to be at the end of the trail by the end of the year. He met his deadline, literally, at the last minute, writing a manual about his journey, and I, for one, can't wait to read all about it. The Thru-hiker's Manual for the Palmetto of South Carolina is now published, adding to his already numerous manuals on hiking. Scot says his lifestyle is "Ultimate Freedom" with no timetable, no boss, and plenty of self-reliance. The Palmetto trail is 472 miles long but, Ward's adventure consist of 950 miles of hiking, 1,000 miles of bicycling , and 500 miles of skateboarding in distance. So, if you feel like you're not living, take a page out of my pal (the modern day pioneer) Taba's playbook …sell the car, get some comfy shoes, take a walk down the old Palmetto Trail and see all of what South Carolina has to offer.
Pick up a copy of The Thru-hiker's Manual for the Palmetto of South Carolina here: http://www.thru-hiker.us/
Story By Jason "Mater" Robinson