I have a huge passion for travel. It's something I think everyone should do to escape from the clutches of materialism and Western mentalities. To go and experience other cultures and meet some of the kindest people in the most unlikely of locations.
But despite my love for travel, even I was surprised when I returned home from work one day and my partner, Charlotte, told me that she would like to walk around the world. We were living in Bulgaria at the time and she wanted something to stimulate her mind, body and soul. A challenge that would resonate with her very core.
She went on to show me articles of people who had completed such a feat, either by walking or cycling (with the occasional boat trip when necessary). After a very short thought process I simply responded with 'Why don't we start with Europe?' and so that's exactly what we did.
Charlotte spent a month organising a route and writing down loads of useful information that we never referenced again or used, such as what to do if we were attacked by different species of bears. I count us rather lucky that we never had to reference that part of her notes.
Then sometime towards the end of April 2015 we set off. 20kg each on our backs. We walked out of where we were living in Bulgaria and after trying to get used to using hiking poles, we descended into the distance.
That first day was the hardest day of my life. Of ours lives. We cooked under the sun as our bodies struggled with the task of carrying us 20km (the shortest day of our trip, with our longest being 50km in a day). Our bodies ceased up, we were dehydrated, sick from the suns heat and lack of escape from it, and I was seriously questioning whether we should just take a ten-minute drive back home.
Charlotte on the other hand, was the rock that kept me going. Despite her suffering, she woke up the next morning and insisted we push on. Her determination gave me strength and six months later we were in Florence.
Along the way we interviewed people that we met as part of a 'Peace Building Project'. We wanted to gain an insight into how everyday people were striving through struggles or overcoming obstacles in their lives.
We met a woman who cured herself of cancer, something she was told would steal her life away from her within months. She told us her story some years after that diagnosis. We met someone who worked three jobs and still had no money and struggled with a never-ending pursuit of happiness, yet still managed to make us sandwiches and insist on buying us a coffee.
One common theme for our trip was the kindness of people. We never asked anybody for anything but that didn't stop them from offering. People would see our sign and stop next to us, offering us lifts, wanting to know our story and giving us food.
The kindness and generosity of those who have virtually nothing to their name never failed to leave me in awe.
We walked for 3000km, failing to complete our goal of walking from Bulgaria to England, due to bad weather conditions and funds depleting rapidly in Italy. Despite that, we had walked from Bulgaria to Italy. We'd proved that even when people think you're crazy for attempting such a feat, if you put your mind to it and you're determined (and have a Charlotte with you to motivate you) then there is nothing that can stand in your way.
I've never really told the story of our walk through writing, and this article doesn't do it any justice or go into any great detail. But hopefully, by the time you reach this point you are feeling inspired to achieve your greatness too.
Whatever your goal or ambition, whether it's travel-related or not, if you push through the hard times when you don't think you can take another step, then you will arrive at your destination.