It’s been almost 6 months since I completed my LEJOG and after spending 18 months thinking, planning and living it I still find it hard to believe its over.
I’m like one of those Japanese soldiers they found hiding in the jungle in the late 1940’s who refused to believe that the war had ended. Also, my LEJOG has become my point of reference in time, and I find myself thinking “I haven’t seen him since LEJOG” or “it wasn’t like this before LEJOG”. Worst of all are the reminders, like my backpack which sits in the same closet I open every day before I go to work. It mocks me like a ventriloquist’s dummy who refuses to go back in his case. “You’re getting fat!” it screams as I shut the door. “We should really go for a long walk.” “You never take me anywhere!”.
Sure I need help but therapy is expensive. The only sane option is to start planning another trip, even it is at least two years away.
As much as I’d like to plan another walk for 2012 it’s very unlikely I’ll be able to get away until 2013. That gives me plenty of time to mull over my options and to convince family, friends and employers how much better their lives would be if I were several thousand miles away (this is not always as difficult as you might think).
At this point there are a handful of route options messing with my head:
1. A JOGLE or another LEJOG (but using a different route)
A JOGLE is a logical follow-up to a LEJOG but having already done an End to End walk I’m keen to explore other options first.
2. A walk around Ireland
I really haven’t thought this one through but it’s intriguing. I haven’t visited Ireland since 1983 and it would give me an opportunity to research some of my Irish roots.
3. A walk that includes the entire coast of Wales
I’ve read that the Welsh government has set 2012 as a target date for the completion of a coastal path running around the entire country. I’ve also read that the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is stunning. I’d love to hear from anyone who has walked this or any other coastal path in Wales.
4. A walk that includes the southern half of the South West Coast path
I enjoyed walking the northern half of the SWCP so much that I’m very keen to walk the southern half. I could link this walk up with the Welsh coastal walk.
5. A walk that includes the entire Thames Path
Instead of travelling to Penzance I could start from the Thames Barrier in London and then walk to the river’s source in the Cotswolds. From here it would be a two day walk to Wales and the start of the coastal path.
6. Link a Wales coastal walk to a Coast-to-Coast walk.
At this point I haven’t done any research into walking from Liverpool to St. Bees. Although I’ve been to the Lakes a couple of times I’ve never visited the coast. Should the Blackpool Illuminations and Morecambe Bay be added to my bucket list?
I feel better already! I’m open to other suggestions so please let me know what you think.
If Andy & Alfie are reading this … have you got “Fantasy Footpaths” up and running yet?