THE WORLD WALK IS OFF AGAIN…
India and Indonesia are now complete and Australia is underway.
Between September, 2018 – February, 2020, I clocked up 6,500 miles, walking the length of America, Europe and a swathe of the Middle East, including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria (the only country I needed four wheels instead of two feet) and finishing my long tramp just north of the Gaza Strip in Israel.
Now, following a three year Covid hiatus, during which I did a number of smaller walks including a 500 mile hike from Lithuania to Lviv in Ukraine; a 200 mile yomp through the UK from St Austell in Cornwall to St Paul’s Cathedral and finally a 26 mile marathon through London (dressed as a dog, along with several family members, don’t ask!).
Thanks to everyone’s generosity over £35,000 has been raised for a variety of wonderful causes including Siobhan’s Trust (serving love and pizzas throughout war-torn Ukraine), the Alzheimer’s Society, the Circle Centre (educating and supporting children with autism and their families) and Medical Detection Dogs. For information about any of these great causes please click the links below.
My plan had been to walk the next stage through Russia (not going to happen now!) and Mongolia. I did end up walking a tiny section of Ukraine (Slava Ukraini!) but for obvious reasons a route traversing Russia is now a no go, both practically and on principle.
With all this in mind, I have completed a shorter more direct path across Asia (India, Indonesia) and now hope to walk Australia in full, from Perth to Sydney, around 4,000 km, then New Zealand, before heading towards home.
This will still get me across the world, and mean, all going well, I will clock up well over 10,000 miles in total since marching off in Sept, 2018. The mileage is not as much as originally hoped but on a journey like this you have to take whatever the road throws at you – and a big, Covid-shaped pothole and Putin’s despicable invasion of Ukraine were both unexpected.
For much of the last three years I have been teaching and writing in Taiwan, an island I have come to love, so I have given myself a year’s time limit, so I can return to my Taipei life – teaching, writing, friends plus fresh supplies of heart and prostate medication!
That said, though I always feel a little frisson of fear before marching on, it’s been great to hit the road again this year. I’ve been shown incredible kindness on my world walk so far and am hopeful this will continue as I push Koko, my doughty hiking buggy, into the great blue yonder, hoping to clock up the usual 15 – 20 miles a day. If anyone fancies joining for a mile or two, just shout!
During the looooong Australian section of the walk I’m keen to raise money for Siobhan’s Trust, who continue to do wonderful humanitarian work in Ukraine, and Backpack Beds for Homeless, a great, award-winning charity helping some of Australia’s most vulnerable.