Holly "Cargo" Harrison, 58, decided he wanted to go for a walk -- not to the corner or around the block or even across town.

Instead he set off on a grueling 14,500-mile odyssey from the southernmost tip of Argentina to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

Seventeen pairs of shoes, 530 days later, and after a heart attack, and walking part of the way on crutches because of an injured hamstring and then ankle, the pilgrimage is compete and Harrison is back in Goldsboro visiting his mother, Jackie Holmes.

Harrison had to secure special permission to walk the final miles to Prudhoe Bay, the largest oil field in North America, and had to have a security escort.

It took him about three hours to walk the final 8 miles.

"It was really peaceful for me," he said of the final push. "I knew physically my body was ... I look back at pictures of me back then, and I look so gaunt physically, just depleted.

"But in every other way I was kind of sad. This had become part of my life. I would get up, and I would just start walking for 14 or 15 hours a day. You don't have the responsibilities and the obligations and the stress that regular life creates for you."

He walked through some tough, miserable days, but the trek filled a void in his life, and as he walked those final miles Harrison was trying to figure out how completing it was going to affect him.

"So it was a little bit sad and a little bit, thank God, I can finally stop walking," he said.

He reached his destination about two minutes before midnight on May 30.

"The water was frozen," he said. "I sat there and was talking to (TV reporter) Harry Smith, I said, 'I don't have to stop. I could keep walking. I could walk across the water and get to the North Pole.'"

Harrison said when he reached the water's edge, he was done.

He stayed in Prudhoe Bay another day to try and find a ride south.

"I was done walking," he said. "They gave me a ride all of the way back down to Fairbanks."

On his way south, he stopped to visit some of the people who'd helped him along the way and whose kindness had inspired him to continue.

"The one thing is that I didn't want it to be a sudden stop -- that when I got there it was over," he said. "That is kind of what scared me. So the adventure for me really doesn't have to be over.

"It doesn't mean that I have to keep walking right now. My way of really continuing this thing right now is that I am writing about it."

Harrison said he had so many amazing experiences along the way that he wanted to record it in a book of adventure and inspiration.

It also will be a book about self-reflection because of all the time he had to think about things in his past, how some things didn't go over so well and how he could correct them.

For example after the hike, he was determined to find his daughter.

"I had to give her up when she was 9 months old," he said. "I ended up finding her in Reno right after and went and reconnected with her after 20 years.

"So there is a lot of stuff in there that I feel like might be useful to a lot of different people. Now that I am focused on that, that is going to take a lot of my time."

Harrison sold his home to finance the trip and is not sure where he will call home.

"Maybe I am not ready to settle yet," he said. "I like traveling. I like moving around. I don't like being in one place permanently. Until I find that place I am going to say that my home is where I lay my backpack."

Harrison moved to Goldsboro when he was 16. A 1978 graduate of Eastern Wayne High School, he joined the Army in the 1980s and served for six years in a Ranger battalion.

In 2011, he decided to hike the approximately 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Baxter State Park, Maine.

It was on that hike that he picked up his moniker.

He started around the end of April -- five months later he completed the hike, mostly by himself.

"The thing about the hikes that stick out the most is the people that you meet," Harrison said. "A lot of them you call trail angels because people are out there just to help you out. They just do amazing things, and you kind of see the good side of human nature.

"That was one of the nice things because you are never really alone when you are out there because of that."

He met the same kind of people along his trek along the Western Hemisphere.

People always asked him if it wasn't dangerous.

His response is that he only met nice people, that he tried to be very cautious, but that he refused to be afraid of things.

"Only nice people stop and help me out," he said. "Of course always offering you a ride, which I had to turn down all of the time. But I mean offering you a place to stay, offering you a meal and a room."

Harrison said at the time he was on the Appalachian Trail that he had never conceived of walking the entire length of the Western Hemisphere.

"I always had this ambition do something that nobody else has ever done," he said. "I read a lot when I was young about Lewis and Clark, Daniel Bone, Magellan and Columbus.

"I just spent hour after hour reading as much as I could abut explorers and adventurers."

Harrison said he went through times wishing there were still things out there he would be the first person to do.

While still on the Appalachian Trail, Harrison said he began wondering if anyone had ever walked the entire Western Hemisphere.

"I got real excited about it, and when I approached the next town, I immediately went to the library and found out that only one guy in the '70s and '80s had done it and that it had taken him six and a half years," Harrison said.

"I thought I can do that faster than that. It was just what I wanted to do."

Seven months later, in December 2015, he was in Ushuaia, Argentina -- known as the End of the World because of its location at the southern tip of Argentina.

He was 55 at the time.

"That was my first attempt," Harrison said. "I got about 1,700 miles that time, then I rolled and hurt my foot, and as it turned out, it was a torn tendon."

Harrison had to stop his walk and return home to heal.

A year later in December 2016, he decided to try again.

Instead of picking up where he stopped during the first try, Harrison started again at Ushuaia.

He also began the second trip with more knowledge, being a little smarter abut what to expect and with the intention of not just doing better than six and a half years, but becoming the first person to do it in one continuous, non-stop hike.

"I felt like in order to legitimize my trip, I had to start from the beginning again and do it all in one continuous hike," he said.

Unlike his first attempt, Harrison did not pack a tent -- it was too windy in Patagonia, Argentina, to set one up.

Instead, he used a bivy sack -- a collapsible bag made of weatherproof fabric to provide shelter.

"Most of the places that I slept that were safe for me, were actually under the road," Harrison said.

Those culverts or drainage pipes were his favorite places to sleep.

He nicknamed them his "hotels under the highway," and even developed his own rating system for them -- one star for a really bad one and five stars for one next to a stream or fire pit.

He carried a cellphone, but frequently did not have service. He also carried what is known as a spot device, which is a satellite locator.

The device plotted his course and served as proof of his walk. He would turn it on about every five to 10 miles and even more frequently when he crossed over into the U.S.

It also had an emergency button just in case of trouble. He never had to use it.

When Harrison crossed into Central America he walked through the Darien Gap a remote, roadless 90-mile swath of undeveloped swampland and forest on the border of Panama and Colombia.

It had taken seven months from time he started to reach the border of Colombia and Panama. It took another three to three and a half months to reach the U.S.-Mexico border.

He crossed over into Arizona in November 2017 and arrived at the Canadian border this past February.

Usually, people who make these kind of walks push or pull a cart, he said.

However, for Harrison it was all about speed because to him it was a race, and he did not want to be slowed down by a cart.

He used a small backpack and invented his own hiking poles -- hollowed-out tubes made out of recycled plastic bottles and fiberglass fashioned into poles.

"I could carry almost all of my equipment in my hiking poles," he said. "My backpack was reserved for just food and water, so a very small backpack. Sometimes I would have long distances before I would get to another resupply, and I would have to get four or five days of food."

Harrison said he could never carry that much water because of the weight and had to get water along the way.

The poles, combined with the small backpack allowed him to hike upward to 35 miles and sometimes 40 miles a day.

He averaged 27.3 miles per day over the course of the walk, and was averaging about 32 miles at the time of his heart attack while walking through Nevada in mid-December 2017.

Harrison, who had been experiencing symptoms since about halfway through Mexico, was lucky -- he was in a small town and was taken to a medical facility.

He was airlifted to Reno where he was hospitalized and had a stent was put in.

The doctors knew about Harrison's mission and told him he was not going to be able to continue.

Five days later, he was back on the road.

He waked 5 miles the first day and 11 the next, as he worked his way back to average about 30 miles per day.

Harrison knew that with the weather getting colder, he could not do it on his own anymore.

His brother-in-law came up from Florida and purchased a small camper/RV and provided road support the rest of the way.

He would ride in front of Harrison, who experienced hamstring problems and re-injured the same ankle that had forced him to end his first attempt.

He walked the final 2,000 miles on crutches.

Harrison has applied to the Guinness Book of World Records to acknowledge his accomplishment as a world record.

"I probably could apply for a number of records, but the only one that counts for me is the fastest overland walk of the Pan American Highway," he said. "So like I said, 17 and a half months, and the other guy who has done this walk took over six and a half years.

"So I get a chance to beat him by five years basically. I don't know what took him so long."