Sadly, my world walk hit a Covid-sized pothole in early 2020, and has been on hold – but now it’s getting a well needed kick start!
For 5 weeks this summer (starting early August) I plan to walk 500 miles through Lithuania, Poland and a tiny slither of Ukraine (Ukraine was to be my next world walk country).
This new walk is to raise funds for the superb charity, Siobhan’s Trust, which from the opening days of the brutal conflict in Ukraine has been feeding and sheltering thousands of uprooted Ukrainians, young and old, forced to flee their homes.
The charity’s Ukrainian operation is helmed by the brilliant David Fox Pitt, an old friend, who is a complete human dynamo who recently received an MBE for his outstanding fundraising efforts for a host of inspirational causes.
With typical efficiency and compassion, David and his dedicated team of volunteers (all the money for Siobhan’s Trust currently goes directly to helping war refugees) have been on the ground in Ukraine from the start (now spread all the way from Lviv to Kyiv to Odessa) and intend to stay there until no more help is needed.
This new walk will also be a good way to test my stamina after a heart and a prostate operation carried out in Taiwan, where I have teaching English during much of Covid. Well, the doctors did strongly recommend long walks and who am I to disagree!
On the world walk so far I have clocked up over 6,000 miles walking in a near continuous line through America, UK, Europe and a section of the Middle East.
The one section I needed to take public transport was through a small swathe of southern Syria (there was no fighting in the region at the time and Damascus proved one of the journey’s highlights).
I was due to start the next section of the walk, through the Ukraine and Russia, and had all the visas lined up, but it was not to be. Corona struck. But I felt hugely lucky to clock up the mileage I did and to be shown so much extraordinary kindness across the globe.
Incredibly, thanks to so many generous souls, the £30,000 goal for the three wonderful charities I was originally walking for – the Alzheimer’s Society, the Puzzle (now Circle Centre) and Medical Detection Dogs – has been hit. Hence the new focus on raising desperately needed funds for Siobhan’s Trust.
I truly want to thank all of you who supported my walk in any way before, and hope you will continue to follow my progress. If this next 500 miles goes well and my stamina holds up, I have committed to teaching in Taiwan until the end of the year, but then intend to keep walking in 2023. And then keep following The Proclaimers advice and walk 500 miles more, and more and more, until the world is walked!
Cheers all and hope see you on the road ahead…