Liam Burnell walked through Milford and Stratford this week on his cross-country trek to try to change the way Americans think. Burnell, 40, lives in Maine, and that\u2019s where he started his walk July 22. He\u2019s heading toward Los Angeles, Calif., planning a southern route to follow the sun and heat, without much more than a backpack, a tent, sleeping bag and a copy of his book, Take Courage America, that he plans to market along the way. The book is self-published, so spreading the word about it is on his shoulders: Walking and talking to people on the road to California seemed a good way to get the word out. His book challenges Americans to confront their fears and make better decisions. The author says that many of the worst dangers people face as a society come about as a result of their own fear-based decisions. Burnell has held different jobs over the years, most recently farming in Maine. \u201cIt\u2019s meaningful work,\u201d Burnell explained during a stop in downtown Milford Tuesday. \u201cIt doesn\u2019t really make me poor; they give you heaps of free food, and it\u2019s healthy, fresh food, so I hardly ever have to go to the doctor.\u201d He seems to be a minimalist, but not so when it comes to dining, he said, adding that he had just stopped at The Plate, an eatery on New Haven Avenue in MIlford, and it was well worth it. \u201cBut I\u2019m not very materialistic,\u201d he said. That comes across loud and clear as he walks down the street with his home for the next year or so on his back. This is his second attempt to walk across the country, and while he said the first try about 15 years ago lacked a sound plan \u2014 he walked from Maine to South Carolina \u2014 it held the same motivation: Burnell wants to \u201csave the world,\u201d he said with a grin. \u201cI am concerned that people are making a lot of bad choices based on fear. And those choices are making the world a more dangerous place,\u201d he said. Burnell pretty much stopped watching television years ago, only tuning in once in awhile \u2014 though he\u2019s always read the newspaper. \u201cLast fall I moved in with a senior citizen who watches about 12 hours of CNN every day, and it\u2019s pure hysteria,\u201d Burnell said. \u201cIf that\u2019s their window on the world, like this poor person who can\u2019t leave their house, you\u2019re going to think the world is a really scary, dangerous place and never leave your home. \u201cThat\u2019s not the world I live in,\u201d he said. He continued, \u201cI grew up watching television, but I decided at age 18 that it was warping my sense of reality, and I cut it out of my life. I spent some years living in the ghetto and other years living in the country. I met thousands of people, and no one ever stole anything from me or did any harm to my body. \u201cI met some dishonest people, and I got cheated out of a lot of pay one time, but I never experienced anything really awful like you see on TV every few minutes.\u201d He attended the University of Wyoming but did not graduate college, and credits his father with teaching him the value of being articulate and mastering English grammar, skills he said that have helped him write his book and share what he describes as \u201ca more level-headed perspective.\u201d The book\u2019s chapters include Trauma Vs. Television, Conservatives Vs. Liberals, and the second to last chapter, Death. \u201cThe first chapters take on big subjects of fear, then the origins of war, a look back in history to see how we got to this situation,\u201d he said. \u201cThe end of the book offers suggestions about how we can work our way out of this sort of cul de sac that we\u2019ve gotten into.\u201d This week as Burnell walked along New Haven Avenue, from West Haven, into Milford, heading toward Stratford, two men he talked to told him to avoid Bridgeport because of the crime. \u201cOf course I\u2019m going to Bridgeport, because I\u2019m telling people not to be afraid,\u201d he said. From there he would pass through Fairfield, Westport, Norwalk, Darien, Stamford and Greenwich to the New York line. He\u2019s aiming for big cities \u2014 he can\u2019t wait to get to New York City, where he will probably linger a bit, sharing the flyers and cards he\u2019s printed to advertise his book. Once he gets to Washington, D.C., he said he will stop and plan his route from there. He\u2019s not terribly tech savvy, just now learning Facebook and Twitter to take advantage of social media marketing: He just bought an iPhone two days ago. He\u2019s relying mostly on printed maps, which he said he\u2019s always been drawn to. \u201cOne thing that makes this less intimidating is that I\u2019m good at reading maps,\u201d Burnell said. \u201cIf I get lost, it\u2019s not a big deal. I eventually find myself.\u201d This wasn\u2019t his first time passing through Milford. Working as an activist with the Toxics Action Center a number of years ago, he was in Milford fighting area power plants. He said he met some great people in Milford and Stratford during that campaign. \u201cI was happy to know I\u2019d be coming back through here,\u201d Burnell said. The backpacker said he unrolled his sleeping bag at the base of Savin Rock in West Haven the previous night and slept under the stars. The next night he planned to sleep on someone\u2019s couch \u2014 a deal he found online. He doesn\u2019t know how many miles this jaunt measures, but he\u2019s hoping to reach LA by next summer. He left Maine with only $900, and so far, he hasn\u2019t spent much of that. He says he still has about $900, one month into his journey, because people he\u2019s met along the way have been generous. The book can be purchased at takecourageamerica.wordpress.com or Amazon.com.