This year…BOOM!! coming to a coastal path near you…KERBLEWY!!!! Walk a Mile is back…THE SOUND ONE OF THOSE REALLY CHEAP FIREWORKS MAKES IN YOUR BACK GARDEN!!
After a significant period of pillocking about, after a cacophony of distractions, Walk a Mile is coming back, and….
IT’LL BE EXACTLY THE SAME AS BEFORE!!!
For the uninitiated, Walk a Mile was a campaign I started back in 2011 with the simple aim of highlighting the experiences of people with mental health problems.
After being disabled out of Social Work…the job I loved/ hated/ loved to hate because of a diagnosis of Borderline (Bastard) Personality Disorder, and 2 years of wonderful group psychotherapy, I decided going back to social work would drive me nuts.
I needed some altogether new shenanigans to get up to.
I decided it would be a grand(iose) idea to walk around the edge of our lovely country, because that’s where many folk with mental health problems feel they are…on the edge of society.
Ok, it’s a bit of a showy metaphor…
Before I left, my good friends, Maggie and Jim, took me aside and told me to read, ‘No Destination’ by Satish Kumar – a Jain Monk who, in the ‘60’s went on a peace march.
Paraphrasing massively, his guru told him to take no money with him – if he did, he wouldn’t have the motivation to speak to people at the end of the day and the only people he’d meet would be hoteliers.
I thought if this fine man could walk from India into Pakistan expecting, and receiving, wonderful hospitality from the people he met when the 2 countries were at war, then surely I could expect something similar from the fine people of the U.K..
And look at me…I’m starving to death…
(Imagine an image of Buddha…in a skirt…looking a bit like Phil Mitchell/ a bouncer…perfect)
As with many things I do, this journey has not been without detours, cul-de-sacs and general shenanigans…and more than a little craziness.
So, to cut that story short…it’s involved…
The wonderful generosity of people…their stories…dissociation…tales of a Wandering Loon…a whole host of mental health campaigns…Save Safe Haven in Corby, #LetsWalkAMile around Scotland and other stuff…Lyme disease (bit of free advice – don’t ever get Lyme disease…it’s a bastard) and a hole host of other stuff…including the publication of Walk a Mile the book…
I’ve spoken to friends about new and improved ways to start back – ‘Walk a Mile Rebooted’ – was one of my favourites.
Great fun though these have been, they’ve been a bit of a distraction from what I think is the main event.
No, not the walk…walk a Mile is all about the talk.
I’ve met and been supported by roughly a bazillion folk on my way…people I’ve bumped into on the street, on the beach, in the woods…ok, on Twitter and Facebook too…who’ve been happy to talk about mental ill health…theirs, mine, their friends/ families…
The people I’ve spoken with have been 100% fabulous – kind, generous, inquisitive, hilarious, sharing everything with me from a kind word and a peanut butter sandwich to a few days in their homes to allow me to get to know them better.
It’s been a wonderfully life affirming experience.
But look at me…I’ve already waffled on too long…
I’ll be taking to the road/ cycle path (insert your own jokes there), highways and byways in November.
Starting back in Porthmadog…
In North Wales…you know that pointy bit at the top of Wales? I think it looks a bit like Fred Flintstone’s eyebrow…yes, it’s just underneath that.
Unlike Satish Kumar, I’ll be pulling a trailer (Hubert) carrying my Rucksack (Darth II) with a cuddly green tortoise (Wilson) on the back.
I’ll keep you posted
Walk a Mile