SAN DIEGO – A Minnesota man spent the last month walking more than 600 miles down the California coast in his Stormtrooper costume to honor his late wife, who shared his love of all things “Star Wars.”
His final destination: Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Kevin Doyle began the trek June 6 at a “Star Wars” museum in Petaluma, and the walk is scheduled to end Thursday at the San Diego Convention Center.
Doyle, 57, said he lost his creative spark after his wife died from pancreatic cancer in 2012. He hopes his mind-clearing walkabout will inspire him to return to work as an illustrator and photographer and raise money for a children’s cancer charity he launched in her name.
“In the time since she died, I’ve struggled with how to deal with the loss. I’ve been self-destructive and my art suffered,” Doyle told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Being out here, my mindset is an open book. I hope I find enough healing to be creative and work in that way again.”
Doyle has braved heat waves, torrential rainstorms, traffic and narrow ocean cliff trails on his walk. But his overall experience has been one of joy and wonder, he said.
As word of his walk spread, people have stopped to give him food and water, make donations, take photos, walk beside him and share their own cancer experiences.
“Sometimes they just want to stop and give me a hug,” he said. “I haven’t wrapped my head around it at this point. I’m walking to honor my wife, but I had no idea that people would make it their own personal journey.”
On Tuesday, Doyle was making his way through Encinitas with the three-wheeled pet stroller he uses to carry his camping and other supplies. For most of the way, he’s been following coastal highways, but he took a detour Tuesday afternoon when he saw a sign for Vulcan Avenue.