I’ve had the privilege of speaking with a few coast walkers in the past year of hosting the Distance Hiker Podcast. One question I always ask my guests, and especially those embarking on months, or years of walking is ‘how’?
How do you afford it?
How do you find the time?
How do you unwrap the complexities of life enough to afford the freedom to do this?
The answers have all been different.
Two fingers to the man, supported by a business, having a nice employer who supports a career break. Ultimately, they all need to be back home for dinner 6 months, or a year or two after departing.
The choice is never easy, but these individuals are bold enough to step into an unknown and take a leap to put one foot in front of the other. Taking each day as it comes.
I take my hat off to them.
My latest podcast guests Daniel and Charlotte are a little different.
Now, to set some context, Daniel and Charlotte are commitment-free. No kids, house, or careers on the line.
They have all the time in the world and they know it.
I asked them how long they were planning on walking for. In return I was told, three, perhaps 4 years, but they are not rushing.
Quite the opposite.
Charlotte and Daniel are living as self sufficiently as possible. They travel at a pace that suits them, living off the land where, and working for their keep or food when needed.
They have a limited, yet still untapped pot of savings. Impressive.
I spoke to them online, one evening as they were sat, huddled inside their tent on the Shetland Islands. Daniel was proud of his newfound, yet refined fishing skills, and the couple, seem undeterred by the possibility of carrying 20-30 kg on their back for the next years.
Prior to their walk, Daniel had finished in the armed forces, and again his story seemed familiar. He was angry, with difficult emotions. Losing his job was the spark that launched his new career as a full-time coast walker.
Charlotte’s entry into the story came from a different place. As an already seasoned solo traveler, this experience is nothing new. Yet Charlotte still sold all her belongings and handed in her notice for her waitressing job to join Daniel on the trip.
In November 2021, the couple were walking together and fully committed to this big adventure.
As two young people, who undoubtedly have been subjected to the normal ‘status quo enforcing beliefs throughout their lives, I’m impressed by their fortitude to remain firm in their beliefs.
Rather than following traditional career paths, buying into the 9-5, and purchasing a house together (which I must add is an entirely valid choice), they have opted to live the next 4 years on their terms.
They have no grand plan, no huge ambition, beyond perhaps raising some money for charities close to their hearts, and sharing their message with a growing base of supporters.
I only wish that more people would pursue this path in life – opting for experience, and a slow unconventional living over damaging behaviors such as hustle culture, and the ‘grind’.
Daniel and Charlotte filled me with hope.
Two charming, yet ordinary individuals, doing something extraordinary, yet managing to make it look totally normal.
These are ones to watch.
You can find the full episode with Daniel and Charlotte here.
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