Why walk across a country?

Why indeed?

Because it sounds like fun. Because it’s on my bucket list. Because I like a journey with a definite destination. Because I need to change my life. Because I want to get fit. Because I want to experience this country in a completely different way. Because I want to do the hardest thing I can think of. Because I want to give the world the finger. Because I want to impress someone. Because I want to find out the truth about this country. Because I got fired and don’t have anything else to do. Because I want to raise money for charity. Because it leaves a low carbon footprint. Because I got dumped and just want to get away. Because I don’t have the money for the train…

I suspect that for many people the reason is love. To strive for it, to forget it, to remember it, or to escape it. To scatter the love they had, should have or could have had over the landscapes and peoples of a far off place.

Whatever the reason, people do it. Some walk for years across continents. Some spend a day or so walking across one of the smaller countries in the world. Some go the long way across a country, some the short way. Some walk on roads, some stay in the wilderness. Some people carry absolutely everything on their back. Some have organised support crews carrying their gear and doing everything for them. Some camp, some stay in 5 star hotels. Some call themselves purists and insist on walking every step, some will take short vehicle rides at times. Some do it all in one go, some do it in sections over a period of time.

There are no set rationales for why or rules for how to walk across a country… decide what’s best for you and just do it! Walk your own walk!

The reason for this website is to begin to collate links to the walks that people have done and the fantastic job they have done of articulating those walks. There is already a lot out there on the internet but it does take a bit of effort to find it, and hopefully we can gather some of it here in one portal. Given the history of humanity it seems a hopeless task to come even close to documenting what people have done, therefore I’ll stick to the more recent stuff. This is just a drop in the bucket, but it’s a start…

I’m sharing a few of my own modest walks, and people can share links to either their own walks or others’ walks that they have found. If you have walked across a country, or know of someone who has, let me know so it can be shared!

People have done amazing things out there. Changed their lives, changed others lives, changed perspectives, realised what they’ve been missing in their lives, decided to go back home and never leave… I don’t really want to say that maybe you’ll be inspired to do a cross country walk – but you never know.

“Many people nowadays live in a series of interiors, disconnected from each other. On foot everything stays connected, for while walking one occupies the spaces between those interiors. One lives in the whole world rather than in interiors built up against it.”

-Rebecca Solnit

“As the lifetime-long days passed I began to notice a profound cleansing taking place in myself. The streams and cotton-clean clouds washed my soul and I felt myself opening up to the world.”

– Peter Jenkins (who walked across America)

“All of us wanderers are made like this. A good part of our wandering and homelessness is love. We wanderers are very cunning – we develop these feelings that are impossible to fulfill, and we scatter them lightly among small towns and mountains, lakes and valleys, children by the side of the road, beggars on the bridge, birds and butterflies. We separate love from its object, love alone is enough for us.”