- Chris Jones
Offline copy: Time to reflect. Week 4. Whitby to Seaton Carew.
The end of week four but also in a few days, the end of the first month on this little walk. Let's start with a few stats which I completely forgot at end of week 3, I've had a good telling off by senior management !!! The wife... 😬
The journey so far...
Week 1 - 70.05 miles - 203,736 steps
Week 2 - 71.12 miles - 183,859 steps
Week 3 - 57.20 miles - 147,863 steps
Week 4 - 54.90 miles - 136,797 steps
Total - 253 miles - 672,255 steps
In this first month, my overnight sleeping arrangements have been fairly evenly matched. I've been hosted for 11 nights, in my tent wild camping for 10 nights and in hotel/B'n'B's for 8 nights. I was hoping for more nights in the tent but I'm sure this will come later when the weather warms up a bit and as campsites start opening up for the new season, I will be able to cut down on the hotels/B'n'B's for my rest days. Of course, I don't know if any of this means anything, I have nothing to compare it with and I had no real plan when I set off, it was all about taking that first step every day and seeing where it took me.
I know I set off far too quickly in the first two weeks, not intentionally but I was doing exactly what I shouldn't do, regularly looking at the map of the entire country and then panicking that I was never going to get round or if I did, it would take me five years !!! The cold days also meant that there wasn't a lot of standing around, the need to keep moving to keep warm. I intentionally slowed down a bit on week 3 and it's been less demanding on my feet and legs and therefore I've started enjoying the journey much more. A number of people have reminded me that it's not about the designation but the journey to get there so I need to lift my head, slow down and take it all in.
I visited 15 Masonic Centres, 2 in Lincolnshire, 10 in Yorkshire and 3 already in Durham with more to come as I've only just moved into this Province. Of these visits I've also managed to attend 3 Masonic meetings so probably a bit down on what I would do if I was living at home but of course I'm relying on a certain amount of luck that there just happens to be a meeting on the day I am in that particular place.
Emotionally, this first month has been a rollacoaster. The entire process of living like this has been challenging. Crawling into my tent cold and exhausted on some days has been tough and having to get out of a nice warm bag when it's -4C has been tougher... that said, I have been incredibly fortunate with the weather, January has been very gentle with me.
What has challenged me emotionally more than anything is scale of the support I've received. From complete strangers I've met on route, from Freemasons I've met either intentionally or accidentally and from the continuos calls, texts and emails I recieve every day from you all wishing me well and sending love and support. Quite overwhelming and very humbling.
There is a purpose of course for this challenge. I'm talking to lots of people about lots of very interesting things but specifically, the minefield that is poor mental health. I'm learning and I'm making notes so the content of the book is being gathered. The funds I am trying to raise for the Masonic Charitable Foundation are also increasing daily. I think we will have collected over £5000 in the first month and I'm soo grateful to everyone that has been generous and donated in these challenging times.
A month in, we've started. The path behind me has been a pleasure to walk, the path in front of me is unknown and long. I'm not thinking about how long, I'm just focusing on getting up in the morning and taking the first step.
Please stick with me on this adventure and please feel free to share the blog link, funding link and my face book page.