Expedition56 Comes to the Outer Banks
By Kip Tabb –
When Nancy Zyburt turned 56, she sold her business—a classical ballet studio—put the money in the bank, loaded her chocolate lab, Tula, into her van and started driving. Her goal, straightforward but hardly simple—travel to all 50 states, five US territories and Washington, DC (that’s 56 locations), spend a week in each place and give $56 every day to a food bank or food pantry or military charity.
She made it to the Outer Banks today, and donated her $56 to the Outer Banks Beach Food Pantry in Kitty Hawk.
The journey started in Chelsea, Michigan, a small town about 30 miles west of Ann Arbor. When her youngest daughter graduated from college, Nancy knew it was time to do something different with her life.
There were two things that she felt she wanted to do. She had always enjoyed road trips, and she had spent a lifetime wanting to give more to those in need. “When the scouts had a food drive or something like that, I would always give them something,” she said. “But I always wished I could go in the store and fill up my cart with groceries and donate that.”
She has made it to 20 states so far and the Pacific territories of Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Marianas Islands. She has taken a couple of breaks along the way—she spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with family. But for the most part, every day is a new town and eight miles to walk with Tula. “That’s 56 miles a week,” Nancy points out.
She arrives unannounced, often to the surprise of the folks running the organization. “A lot of places wonder how I found them,” she says.
Her $56, she knows, is probably not that much in the big scheme of things, but something happens when she writes the check. “They seem so very happy (with the donation),” Nancy says. “It makes me think I’m giving more than I am.”
The giving has worked in both ways, for as she has traveled, Nancy has gained knowledge she had never guessed existed. “I am learning a great deal,” is how she puts it. “I have been amazed that there is a need greater than I realized.”
A special thanks goes out to Ellen Berg and the folks of the Unitarian Congregation of the Outer Banks who were manning the Pantry today; thank you for calling me and giving me a chance to meet Nancy.