Sadly, my world walk hit a Covid-sized pothole in late February, 2020, and is still on hold.
By the time I reached the deserted beach at Zikim, just north of the Gaza Strip in Israel, I had clocked up over 6,000 miles walking in a near continuous line through America, Europe and 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. That said, 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 and some extra fundraising in the UK during lockdown (a Mohican haircut, a 250 mile walk from Cornwall to St Paul’s Cathedral and doing the London Marathon route dressed as a dog), my journey smashed (even though I was nearly 10,000 miles short!) the £30,000 goal for the three wonderful charities I was walking for – the Alzheimer’s Society, the Puzzle (now Circle Centre) and Medical Detection Dogs.
I truly want to thank all of you who supported my world walk in any way – not just through donations to the charities, but via a bed/sofa/garden/haystack for the night, a cup of tea, a home cooked meal, an apple, a swig of moonshine, a friendly message, a wave or a piss take (lots of the latter!)
A big shout out to those of you who walked with me, whether one mile or a hundred (including the 2020 walk through England) and I hope some of you might join me again when the world walk hopefully resumes, even if it might now take on a different form than than the original, pre-Covid route.
Stay safe everyone and hold on tight, 2021 has already had its share of challenges for so many people, but it now seems we are slowly getting there. Let’s all stand together (against the virus rather than each other!) and I’m sure we’ll make it in the end.
PS I’m now very fortunate to be teaching/writing in Taiwan where I plan to stay based for now (my first priority when Taiwan/New Zealand pull up the drawbridges will be to see my daughter, Eliza).
I’m optimistic the world, though no doubt facing many post-pandemic challenges, will start opening up before long. I’m currently in the fledgling stages of organising a unique event in Taiwan for autumn 2022, championing this tiny island’s wonderful hiking and cycling opportunities – plus the fascinating culture and lovely people – to the outside world. Anyone interested, do feel free to get in touch. I’ll continue posting about my time in Taiwan on Facebook. Instagram and on this website.
Cheers all! Good luck, stay safe and keep on keeping on…