Monday, August 3, 2009

Day T-2: In the beginning…

May be it is the mid-life crisis.

Early in 2008 I realized, that in 2009 I will be 40 years old and I want to do something worthwhile, something tough, something inspirational and something I can tell my kids with pride when they grow up. Looking at myself then (and weighing around 77 Kilos) I decided if what ever I do has to be a tough task, there should be an element of fun in it, otherwise I cannot motivate myself to do it anyway. After a little bit of research I come to a conclusion, I cannot climb Everest, I cannot do a Triathlon, I cannot swim the English Channel and I cannot even run a marathon. The only thing I could do worthwhile is a long distance walk (and that too listening to music).

I chose the “Coast to Coast” walk in the UK devised by a gentleman named Alfred Wainwright. “Cost to Coast” walk is a 308 kilometre walk across England starting at St Bees in Cumbria, the west coast of England, and ending at North Sea coast at Robin Hood's Bay, the east coast of England and can be done in about two weeks. It had all the elements I was looking for – a reasonably long and tough walk, English country side, Moors, Lakes, Nature parks, Inns and of course pubs.

I started practising lightly towards mid of 2008, and started taking it seriously by November 2008 when I started this blog describing my walks and my plan to do a Coast to Coast walk. Once you go public on a blog (with 4,582 unique visitors from 100 countries/territories to date) you cannot go back on your word. So I have taken my walks more serious and have covered 829.5 kilometres in the last 8+ months and in the meanwhile as an added bonus, I have lost around 5 kilos. The details of my every single walk to date is here.

The Perils of Travel:

Terrorism, Bird Flu, SARS and now H1N1 (Swine Flu) - the world is becoming a more dangerous place. The effect of all of this on travel is significant. It makes all of us worried, especially when UK has now become a hot bed of H1N1.

What if you get quarantined in the UK (I have heard horror stories about NHS, the National Health Service)? Isn’t the weather this year “bad”? Isn’t the British Pound strengthening? Isn’t this a bad time to travel? Questions? Questions? My take is - after all when is it a good time to travel? How would one know if tomorrow is a better day to travel?

I had decided the dates for this trip well in advance, as early mid last year. Even though the travel scene has gone from bad to worse (Singapore Airlines is likely to post a full year loss for the first time, even worse than the SARS period) I have decided I will not change the dates of my trip, even after a health scare 10 days back (not H1N1, just a throat infection, but the doctor who treated me had H1N1!). I felt it is a risk worth taking. Thankfully my family is also very supportive of this walk – they have seen me practicing for this walk for a long time. I would miss them a lot, especially the two young kids. I have never been away from them this long, ever.

Singapore to London:

Tonight (03/August, around 10:15 PM Singapore time) I am posting this blog entry from the Silver Kris lounge at the Singapore airport (benefits of being a frequent flyer) waiting for the A380 flight to London. 3.5G is great (and I hope UK will continue to offer me either 3.5G or at least WiFi). And after a very long trip to the east saving me 7 hours (which I loose promptly when I fly back) I will be in London tomorrow morning.

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