Why I Walked
Perhaps most importantly, for the sheer fun and adventure of it. Experience with other long distance walking suggested there's usually plenty to see and stimulate along the way, as well as people to meet, if you walk with an open mind.
Then there was a feeling that I need to reconnect with what makes us, the English, tick. A driver behind Walking on Water was a concern that the country I was bringing my children up in was becoming homogenised. The same High Streets, same foods, same opinions – what really made us tick as a nation? Were there such things as regional differences any more? Where were we headed as a nation?
The trip helped answer some of these questions. Now, with the prospect of possible grandchildren entering the equation, there’s a sense that everything's changed. The Brexit referendum exposed deep divisions amongst us, divisions I don't really understand. It was time for a fresh adventure, to re-take the temperature of the country.
Diagonal Walking wasn’t merely a quest to understand the Brexit vote, although I suspected it might be a symptom of something deeper, something it would be good to get some kind of handle on. At the same time, the last twenty years had also seen some profound technological and social shifts. I wanted to see if I could understand the impact those shifts were having on how we think and feel.
If that sounds rather heavy, I refer you to the opening paragraph – the primary purpose was to have fun, and an adventure!
Finally, there was the challenge. I’ve walked various long distance trails such as Hadrian’s Wall, The Ridgeway, the Thames Path, but I wanted to devise my own. Although I kept a record of the route I wasn't trying to create a new path. I wanted a route I could call my own. Was it possible? Could I organise it so all the various elements clicked together? Would others want to get involved - to Walk With Me? Could I get to grips with social media? It was all part of the adventure.