John’s Walk for Freedom

This journey started last year (2018), when we were in Scotland with our daughter Zoe, who had just started working for IJM UK. We were in an outdoor shop on a wet day, John picked up a book on walking from Land’s End to John O Groats and said ‘maybe I’ll do that next year when I’m 60’… Zoe then pipes up ‘you could raise money for IJM while you walk’… so started the plan!

We have been challenged weekly by the stories of success and pain that Zoe shares with us, so looked carefully into all IJM do and find they are so successful in helping people escape the bondage of modern day slavery. We also have a child-free house for the first time in 25 years so are ready for an adventure.

So here goes, 2+ months in a friend’s camper van, 1,000 miles and supporters all up the British Isles to meet up with, tell the story to, walk with, eat with, borrow a bed for the night and rekindle friendships (and make new ones) we have neglected while working probably too hard for a long time.

Please join us, either physically or virtually and help us to help lots of others walk in freedom – Thank you!

Return to the Isle of Man

Saturday 16th November – with Fiona!

Driving down the M6 from Lancaster, after a lovely evening with friends in the Lake District. Bablu rarely gets into the fast lane, but even in the inside lane, she was travelling at 60mph! Quite a contrast to my journey, walking cross country, moving at an average of 3mph! I had reflected on this a little while walking north, along the Lancaster Canal to Kendal, a few weeks ago now. I was travelling about the same speed as the canal boats and the train would occasionally speed past, while the M6 traffic was constantly flashing past at 25x my speed.

Although the folk in the fast lane were getting to their destination very quickly, whether that be to earn money, see friends and family for the weekend, or simply getting a buzz from travelling fast, I wondered if their experience  would be as memorable, as significant, or ultimately as helpful and fulfilling as mine.

Even if we do enjoy the cut and thrust of our busy lives, my experience over the past two months is that it doesn’t do you any harm, and hopefully will do a lot of good to take life more slowly for a while, maybe get out of your normal routine, your comfort zone and walk at 3mph (or slower … or just stop and sit down!)

In the Bible, Jesus set a pretty good example for us to follow (and if he needed time out then we probably all need to!) Why not read Mark’s Gospel to find out more? As Jesus walked through the crowd … although he was busy, the speed with which he walked must have been slow enough for people to reach out to him, and for him to converse with them. PS…. Although I walked through several streams, ditches and rivers and even swam in the sea, the nearest I got to walking on water was walking over many bridges!

This has been a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with friends, who have also consciously chosen to take a day or two out of their schedule, to walk or meet up … and generally, I think (and hope) that, like me, they have benefitted from their experience. Several people have shown an interest in doing something similar, to visit new places, to commit to a new challenge, meet new people and take a different perspective of life and its priorities.

Of course, even the walk hasn’t all been easy and definitely not a ‘walk in the park’, but that also is true of life. Friends and family are currently going through some of the most difficult stages of their lives.

It was amazing to constantly see the geese flying overhead on my walk through England … Scotland …to see how they chose to fly as a team to get to their destination, and while they would take their turn at the front, doing the hardest work, and bearing the biggest burden on the journey, others would step in to give them a break and share the difficulties, working together.

Watching them, reminded me that I need to do likewise. Just as people have encouraged me along the walk, particularly when I have doubted myself, or if the elements were against me, I need to do that with the people in my ‘normal’ life (whatever ‘normal’ is in the future).

Looking further ahead, one day it would be good to do another expedition; but maybe that’s for five years hence … there are already a few ideas buzzing round in my mind … spending two months walking has definitely not put me off, quite the contrary. I think Fiona finds that quite alarming!

Great homecoming from lots of friends ❤️
Beard money – so worth it