It took me 247 days to walk from England to Istanbul — 3,500 miles. Flight time would have been about four hours.
I used to fly often, but gradually, insidiously, my awareness of climate change had been growing. Flights were becoming more tinged with a guilt that the carbon-offset websites seemed to only temporarily alleviate, and the changes I was making in my personal life seemed inadequate to the scale of the problem. Before long I found myself standing on the roof of the Scottish Parliament, hanging a banner protesting proposed runway expansions across Scotland. As the police and the television cameras stared up at us, I realized that flying was going to be difficult to justify to myself from that point on.
Yet travel was important to me, and I wanted to see if it was possible to have comparable adventures without flying. In early 2010, with the trees still bare, I left my home and took the first steps on a journey whose challenges and rewards I could scarcely have imagined.
From London I passed through Canterbury and stood on the worn stones at Thomas Becket’s tomb where countless pilgrims had stood before me. I crossed the Channel and walke... Read more