NOWHERE, Okla. (KFOR) – It’s a long way to Nowhere on foot.

Type the word into Google Maps and the arrow will point to a spot near Fort Cobb Lake and a bait shop near the dam that figured prominently into Lydie Jean Dit Pannel’s artistic journey.

“I can’t stay and do nothing,” she tells us in a heavy French accent. “It is not possible for me.”

She is a working artist and teacher in Burgundy, France, near Paris.

Perhaps more than other artists who were able to sit in their studios, Lydie felt stifled by Covid pandemic shutdowns and depressed by the ominous drumbeats of climate change and war in the headlines.

She says, “I became crazy. I said to myself, ‘When it will be finished, I will walk very far. Walk and walk.'”

So, one day, she typed Nowhere into the navigation app on her phone and ‘voila’.

An idea was born to walk there on foot.

“Like going nowhere,” she smiles.

Starting in New York in 2022, Panell walked 4 months and more than 1,600 miles to Oklahoma.

Summer 2023, she walked another 700 plus miles from Los Angeles to Nowhere, every mile documented somewhere on social media, even in tattoos.

Many of the towns where she stayed are tattooed on her leg.

Lydie has another tattoo on the palm of her hand that reads ‘Nowhere is My Future that some people might read as existentially hopeless, but that solitary, contemplative walk had a cleansing quality to it.

The journey re-connected her to the world in ways she couldn’t have predicted.

“When you are walking,” she says, “you are thinking. You have time to look at every, little thing. It’s crazy. I’m not the same now.”

So what do you do when you go Nowhere?

The old bait shop has new owners in Krista Smith and her family.

“We had heard about her from her trip last year,” says Krista. “Everybody loved her.”

Lydie is staying at her place while she’s visiting the area.

She’s spent her time resting, writing, and making new friends.

The question of what she did to break out and travel after the world opened up again is. tricky one.

“Nowhere is my future, and nowhere is now,” she laughs.

Never, in the history of adventure travel, or artistic endeavors, has going ‘Nowhere’ included so much.

“It’s poetry for me.”


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If you’re interested in following Lydie Jean Dit Pannel’s art or her travels to Nowhere, go to her Facebook, Instagram, or website.

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