Thoughts after 8 months on the road – a new purpose…

Firstly, you might have forgotten that this blog exists, so tardy have I got with updating it.  I apologise for this, summer turned out to be busy, and I didn’t get around to giving the blog the TLC I should have.   But keep an eye out, because I have no intention of letting it die a death of neglect, and indeed am planning for it soon to rise like a phoenix from the ashes…

But, before I write anything else about this wander around central and eastern Europe, I will get serious, and add an additional purpose other than adventure, exploration, and pushing on the boundaries of my comfort zone.

As the walk has progressed I have become painfully aware of how lucky I am to be able to do it.  It has, at times, been physically tough, boring, uncomfortable, and occasionally downright scary; but I chose to do it, and I am choosing to continue it.  There are many people round the world, being forced from their homes every single day to embark on terrifying journeys, often in horrific circumstances.  These people are given no choice in the matter whatever, and must often leave at short notice with whatever they are able to personally carry.

The ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya from Burma is the most recent, but far from the only occurrence of forced migration in the last few years.  There are many ongoing instances of armed conflict, ethnic cleansing and human rights abuses forcing people from their homes: the civil war in Syria; the catastrophic but underreported civil wars in Yemen and the Democratic Republic of Congo; human rights abuses in Eritrea; the ongoing conflict in Palestine, to name but a few.

I wish to do something to help those forced from their homes against their will, or forced to live in fear, for whatever reason, and wherever they may be.  So I have decided to raise money for Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF), which is a medical humanitarian charity delivering emergency assistance to people worldwide on the basis of need, and irrespective of race, religion, gender, or political affiliation.  They are helping to save lives, and improve conditions, at the frontline of all of the countries that I mentioned above, and many, many more.

I am setting myself the high fundraising goal of £5,000, which reflects the duration and difficulty of my walking challenge.  By the time I have finished my walk, I estimate that I will have walked around 8,000 km along, with around 150,000 m of ascent and descent, over the course of 18 months.  I will have walked and camped in all weather conditions, from monsoon-like rain, to baking summer heat, to brutal winter storms.  I do not have unlimited sums of money, but wished to donate a significant amount of the money I have saved for the trip.  I have a set monthly and annual budget for my trip from which my donation will be coming over the next few months, forcing me to be more frugal,  and impacting my food and accommodation choices. This will make my walk a little harder and remind me (in a very small way), of the sacrifices those forced from their homes make against their will.

Donations of any size are welcome, I will be very appreciative of any and all.  You can donate by following this link:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wanderingpaddy

I intend to keep running the appeal for the duration of my walk, but the quicker the money is raised, the more will be available to assist Rohingya in their hour of greatest need.

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