It’s been a couple of weeks since i returned from Serbia but it seems like just yesterday that i was sat on a curb tucking into a tasty Pljeskavica and sipping an ice cold Jelen on my last day of the walk.
People are often quick to congratulate on the task of walking across the country (twice) but it’s important to remember i simply did one of the most basic tasks known to man (or women). Walking.
OK, so it wasn’t exactly easy to do the walk. Sore legs, homesickness, heat, dehydration, hunger and exhaustion all played their little parts to make the journey difficult. However, as the saying goes “the longest journey begins with a single step”; it’s all very simple after making that first leap into the unknown. My ‘leap’ took place a long time before i landed in Serbia. And that ‘leap’ was assisted by the plethora of people who helped to make this humble bipedal’s dream a reality.
In September last year i found myself in the fortunate position to have work ties and a large period of time in which to undertake a journey of some description. #walkserbia had long been a pipedream; that project you’d take start if you had a chance.
Well, i had no money but i did have my dream. On a whim i emailed the National Tourism Organisation of Serbia, and the next morning i received a call. From that point my passion project pipedream became a reality and i was ready to roll..somewhat.
NTOS jumped on board almost straight away as the official partner of the expedition and got the ball rolling. While i contacted companies to help supply equipment for winter camping, the guys and girls from NTOS put me in touch with a telecommunications company who wanted to become the communications partner of the expedition.
All of a sudden i was going to Serbia, i would be communicating the journey in real time to my followers and i was starting to get top of the range equipment from suppliers from around the world to help with the journey.
So, i guess what i’m trying to say is that my dream would simply still be a dream without the support of the companies (and people within the companies) that supported me. So i’d like to throw a few thank you’s to the people and companies who i feel indebted to, for making this happen. So without further ado:
– Russell Stenhouse and Andrew Ward from MPR Network
– Sandra and Gordana from the National Tourism Organisation of Serbia
– Sanja, Ana and everyone from VIP Mobile
– Homolya from the Tourism Organisation of Subotica
– Nebosje from the Tourism Organisation of Vojvodina
– Sandra from the Tourism Organisation of Novi Sad
– Jules Kovacevic from Ruma for all the help and support
– Vivobarefoot for supplying outstanding boots for the walks.
– Columbia for supplying clothing, my trusty backpack and sleeping bag
– Moleskine for there continued support
– Soto Stoves for helping to keep me warm and allow me to cook my food
– Breo for the the Sunglasses and watch
– SealSkinz for supplying awesome waterproof gloves and hat
– Trailmakr for allowing me to try out their new software
– OtterBox for helping to keep my equipment waterproof and shockproof.
I also need thank the following for their undying support.
– My parents for once again supporting my hair brain ideas with out much questioning
– My amazing girlfriend who put up with all the stress and excitement before the journey and the calls when i was miserable or tired during the walk and with the mountains of smelly kit when i returned
– My good friends Jelena and Gile who once again supported me, allowed me to camp out at their place for days and days in my downtime, eating all their food and ferrying me and from the airport. Muchos Gracias!
– But most of all i have to thank the people of Serbia. From the old men in small villages who simply nodded their heads in acknowledgement as i walked past, to the family who bought me an ice cold coke when they saw me at the side of the wrote trying to escape the midday heat and the numerous people who stopped me, gave me food, allowed me into their homes and gave me a place to sleep for the night. You all gave me an insight into the real serbia and treated a random scruffy englishman like a friend and in some cases, like a family member; and for that i will be eternally grateful
So what now? Well i’m in the process of working on a book of the journey which i hope will be out in the first quarter of next year. I’m juggling writing with helping to co-run my latest adventure; a small creative design studio called Chips and Gravy Studios, and i’m currently enjoying domestic life with a few small excursions planned.
And for my next big adventure? Well that would be telling…