First of all the final stats
Miles walked – approx 512
Days taken – 38
A marathon or more in a day – 3/38
20 miles or more in a day – 10/38
Half marathon or more in a day – 24/38
Rest days – 6/38
Free nights accommodation – 21/38
Achieved food goal – Montenegro yes. Albania yes. Greece no (spent maybe 5-8 euros per day)
Backpack weight – 17.8kg
A video of an average(ish) day. Including such earth moving events as: a nicely ploughed field, choosing which way to walk, and a squashed tortoise.
Why I walked
– To challenge myself. I want to learn and challenge myself during my travels.
– To raise money for Syria
– To show that people around the world are good. The news and films portray the world as a scary place full of bad people but I wanted to prove to myself as much as anything that the world is actually full of really good people that want to help, not kill and eat you.
What I have learned
– Not having a bed and security at night is incredibly stressful and destructive. Just a tent and roll mat is enough when I say ‘bed’. Sleeping rough can be really soul destroying. Not knowing where my next warm bed will be has been the most difficult bit. If I had a tent and roll mat this would have been quite a fun experience. But that’s wasn’t the point.
– People are in fact good, however a country can really alter how people are. For example in Albania I was never far from help, or someone trying to offer help or friendship in some form, but in Greece I really had to work for it.
– The closer you get to a city, the more likely you are to encounter an asshole.
– Always carry three 1-inch stones, a thin strong stick (1m length) and a thick strong stick (think baseball bat) for fending off aggressive sheepdogs. Throw stones first, when they notice you and start barking, even from a distance. If they’re scared of that grab some more, throw and shout till you are past. If they’re not scared, hit small stick on ground, and whip at dogs if they come too close. Last resort batter the dog to unconsciousness if it’s really going to try to bite you. I love animals and try hard not to eat them but when a ferocious protective dog is baring down on you threatening to bite, it’s you or her and its up to you who you wanna get hurt. JUST DONT RUN! I have never run but I can imagine they would chase you and bite at your legs.
– Alcohol in the morning isn’t a bad thing. All round the Bulkans they drink a small rakkia in the morning and it really gets you going. Not only that but it cleanses your body, probably. And maybe a beer in the morning isn’t bad as long as youre not getting drunk. I’m having a morning beer when I want from now on.
– 11-15 degrees is COLD at night if you don’t have a tent or sleeping bag. Warm clothes won’t quite cut it
– Don’t rely on a hammock. Bare the extra weight and take a tent and blanket . Hammocks are for very specific circumstances, tents are much more versatile
– It’s better not to plan too much apart from when relating to the things that can kill you, such as lack of water and hypothermia for example. Everything else you can figure out. People have survived harsher situations so deal with it.
– First aid kit essentials: plasters, iodine, Imodium. Everything else is comfort
– Baby wipes are a must. That feeling of slight cleanliness can really lift your spirit when you stink
– Dont be afraid of things that go bump in the night. It’s probably an animal and it’s probably scared of you. Either spend the night jumping at every rustle and snap or get over it and sleep.
– the thought is worse than the reality. When you are sitting in your tent and the wind is threatening to rip it to pieces, the thought you may get blown away is worse than the reality. The tent is being thrown every which way but really it’s quite cool. It’s like being in a film. Your stories are so much cooler when you have been sat, scared, but got through it.
– If you set goals you couldnt achieve that just means you went to your absolute limits and that’s better than getting top marks sat happily in your comfort zone