Ouch, sorry about the close up, stubbly face, gaping maw and hi-viz tabard!
This little film was made by a young, talented American YouTuber called Ryan Shirley. Ryan normally does high octane, adventure films and is something of a stuntman, able to leap up from scratch and somersault over a moving car, or perform wonders on a surf board.
Goodness knows what appealed to him about filming an old geezer pushing a baby buggy slowly through the Austrian hills, but he kindly tracked me down on the instructions of his Indian friend, Nawaz, who I had met months before in a hostel dormitory in the Irish market town, Killarney. All very random!
Nawaz saw my hiking cart and fired lots of questions about my world walk. He said he was running a fledgling travel business, Trift, championing responsible tourism and travel to offbeat places. He said he’d love to organise a short film about my walk and the charities I’m raising funds for. He said he’d sort it out in a few weeks.
I thought no more about it and, despite liking Nawaz, put his idea down to youthful enthusiasm (he’s in his early 20s) and unlikely to happen. Then, sure enough, weeks later in Austria, Nawaz sent a message to say that Ryan was in the area and would track me down via my Live website map.
Ryan rocked up late in the afternoon in the Austrian boondocks armed with recording equipment and a huge drone, which swirled above me like a wild, genetically modified hornet. He was very professional, conducted a calm, patient interview and then dashed off to catch a flight, while I staked out a campsite.
Considering the whole thing was shot in less than an hour, Ryan did a terrific job. Any faults are my own, especially my habit of waving my arms around like I’m conducting the 1812 Overture having quaffed a flagon of Red Bull. Goodness, my crazy arm movements, I’m surprised anyone comes near me! The potential Russia map is also a bit off and the film is dated as I’m now in Serbia, but Ryan is a busy fellow, and it took time to edit.
What it does brilliantly is champion the three wonderful charities I’m walking for: the Alzheimer’s Society, the Puzzle Centre and Medical Detection Dogs. I haven’t banged on too much about them on social media, despite them all being sensational causes, as I wanted to earn my spurs first, but now I am just shy of 5000 miles, I feel more justified.
Everyone has already been so generous and over £10,000 has been topped between the three charities, but I’m determined to make £30,000 in total and any future donations, however small, would be hugely appreciated by the small, splendid and dedicated team at each cause and the many they help.
So thank you Nawaz and Ryan, I have no idea how the film will help you, but it was so kind of you to go to all the effort of putting it together. Being a writer, filming is not my forte, so I could never have shot it! Ryan is keen to film again in a wilder place down the road, maybe Russia or Kazakhstan, so let’s see. I should probably take a sedative before the next time to rein in those arm movements!
Thanks for watching and if you think any of the wonderful charities, or the message of trust, or even the sight of an old chap in a hi-viz pushing a baby buggy around the world, might appeal to anyone, feel free to share.
As ever the Serbs have been so kind. On the road even the tiniest act of kindness means the world, and over these last weeks in Serbia and Hungary, there have been so many. Hvala, thank you and keep on keeping on all.