Many Hollywood movies follow the same basic scenario. The protagonist/hero/main character goes through some kind of event and then at the end of the event somehow almost magically has a moment of clarity. The first Die Hard movie is a good example. Bruce Willis kills all the bad guys and then realises he still loves his wife.
Well back in the real world it’s not quite like that. I often wondered how I’d feel at the end of my walk but I never expected some kind of moment of revelation. Before I did my walk I’d read a lot of books about the adventures people go on and I often wondered whether people became different as a result of what they’d done, or whether they saw the world differently. In some cases such change does come about but in my case it didn’t. Perhaps it was because my journey was quite a small one and it didn’t take part in a very different part of the world to where Iive. So I don’t think I’m any different to who I was before I began.
That said, I have learned a few things along the way. The most important, for me, is that I’ve proved to myself that I can plan a major undertaking and that my planning worked well. I’ve also proved that I’m physically capable of walking 400 miles – and it was hard work. It also proved that I can be determined or simply bloody minded enough when necessary. All these things are positive I think.
I have also learned that people can be extremely kind and generous and that has been the best single thing about my journey. I have been given accommodation, I have been given donations and I have been given encouragement. For that I am very grateful.
My walk has so far raised £2400 for The Alzheimer’s Society and the final total will probably be close to £3000. This pleases me enormously and I’m grateful for all the donations, big and small alike. On my journey people have been very kind and many have said that it has inspired them. I hope that this is the case – you can do an awful lot when you feel inspired to do so – even walk 400 miles – so if my journey inspires just one person to follow a dream then that’s great.
When I read a travel book one of the things that I’m curious about is what happened next. When the protagonist got to their destination did they go back to the day job/normal life or did it unleash something within them?
So is this the end of my journey? In a word NO as I have a cunning plan. After spending a week with my mum, on Monday I shall travel to Cumbria to see friends near St Bees. Will I be travelling by car, train or bus? Need you ask. I shall of course be travelling on foot – after all it’s only about 80 miles, the scenery will be magnificent as I traverse the Lake District and the weather forecast is good. And then? Well in a way my 400 mile was just a warmup, the opening act. On 7 July I travel to Bilbao and from there to Hendaye on the Atlantic coast of France just by the frontier. Here there’s the start of a long distance footpath called the GR10. It takes me along the Pyrenees (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GR_10_(France)), all 530 miles of it. So the adventure begins. And you can follow it here
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