MINNEAPOLIS - As he slowly walks the streets of Minneapolis, leaning slightly on a walking stick, Stephan Bossert has become used to watching the city pass him by. The city has no idea what its been missing.
Bossert is on a quest to walk down every street in Minnesota's largest city.
Since embarking in 2009, Bossert has already walked the streets of roughly 50 Minneapolis neighborhoods, with 40 more to go.
"I don't walk particularly efficient routes so I expect I will have walked about 1600 miles by the time I've finished," says Bossert. If he never turned a corner, Bossert would be in Miami - but he'd rather do his walking at home.
"Walking pace is the perfect pace for observation," says Bossert as he stops to photograph a Star Wars storm trooper taped in a porch window in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood. "Not often you see one of those."
Bossert's photos are now part of gallery on his Facebook page. He prefers images others might pass by: the peeling paint on some old wood factory doors or an over sized lawn ornament in the shape of a giant chicken.
Along the way he's collected more than $20 in pocket change dropped on the street, most likely he says, by people getting in and out of cars. His walking is not a money making proposition. It is, however, life changing.
"It's made me think hard about what's important," he says.
Losing one's ability to walk for six months will do that.
Bossert and his wife Julie were on vacation in Vietnam and Cambodia when things went badly wrong. The couple was riding in a motorcycle-drawn rickshaw forced to stop too quickly. His wife wasn't injured, but Bossert was tossed out of the Rickshaw with his leg still pinned inside.
"My leg pretty much went all the way around," he explains, "maybe 270 degrees." Bossert's femur twisted and shattered below his hip. He was airlifted from Cambodia to a hospital in Thailand and finally returned to Minnesota facing lengthy therapy.
Never one to enjoy time in a gymnasium, Bossert started walking, using a stick to help steady himself. The accident left him with one leg three-quarters of an inch shorter than the other, but it's only seemed to intensify his sense of purpose.
"I've taken about 256 walks so far," he says. Bossert walks several times a week, usually for a couple hours at a time. Start to finish, he estimates he'll spend five years reaching every street in the city.
Already he's come to appreciate Minneapolis in ways he'd never noticed before.
"What a wonderful place to live," he says.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)