Meet Tom Fremantle, an author, and adventurer from England, who, now in his early 50s, decided he wanted to walk around the world.
“I know it’s quite a challenge,” said Tom. “But I believe it’s doable and wants to give it my best shot.” More than anything, Tom wanted to explore the kindness that exists in the world and, of course, his love of walking and the great outdoors.
“Sadly, humans are becoming increasingly scared of each other, but from my previous experience on the road, I was shown immense kindness. I think we can trust one another much more than we think, and hope to prove this is still true.”
Hiking across the wilds of the Mojave Desert in California to the lush hills of Ireland, on through Germany’s Black Forest and down the swirling River Danube, Tom has now covered over 4,300 miles of his world walk but still has a long way to go. To complete an official world walk in accordance with the rules laid down by the World Runners (and Walkers) Association, Tom needs to cover over 26,230 kilometres (more than 16,300 miles). This would be equal to covering at least four continents coast to coast, every step of the way.
Tom started his journey at the US-Mexico border near San Diego with a Juarez street dog named Einstein. Though the logistics of walking a dog through the desert proved too tricky. “It was unfair on poor Einstein, who was soon struggling, and naive of me to think it was possible to take him through that terrain”, said Tom. On the bright side, Einstein is now living happily with a dog-loving family in California.
The first part of Tom’s journey covered 2,700 miles across America from California to Savannah in Georgia facing some wild conditions along the way.
“Now I’m about midway through Europe, hoping to finish the European stage in Istanbul. Next is likely to be Africa. The whole walk will take over three years. It’s quite a mission but, other than losing a few toenails, dodging rattlesnakes and the odd fierce storm, so far, so good.”
Tom recalls the great kindness he has received on his journey, often being put up by complete strangers. He has spent nights everywhere from “churches to Mexican restaurants, from barbershops to horse and cattle ranches”. The same for Europe too, especially the pubs in Ireland, who often let him camp in their gardens.
Tom wild camps most of the times but loves meeting families who put him up or other travellers in campsites and youth hostels. Tom met me in the dorm of a hostel in the little Irish town of Killarney. What were the odds? Tom tells me he is no great athlete or survival expert but does have walking stamina. ‘I’m like an old mule,’ he laughs. ‘Never stop plodding. Keep on keeping on is my motto!’.
On his world walk Tom is raising money for three charities that mean a lot to him. They are – The Alzheimer’s Society, The Puzzle Centre and Medical Detection Dogs. Please click for more information on the charities and how to donate.