75 km walking from Moss Side
5th of June 2014
Honestly, this is an Expedition different to anything I have ever done before. Two things stands apart really. First of all, I have my daughter with me. She has been extremely easy to deal with. Yesterday, due to rain, hills and a need of wifi, we ended up walking almost 8 hours before the night break, with a small lunchbreak in Chapel-En-Le-Frith, and she only was unhappy twice. Once, due to the need of a diaper change, and secondly, when it was raining hard and she wanted to get out and get wet. For me, of course, it is a dream to do an Expedition with my daughter. However, having said that, right now I am sitting in bed writing, Dana next to me, trying to get her to sleep…well….it is quite hard to do everything one should do on an Expedition and whilst filming. You never really get to do it the way you want. But, such is parenthood. Therefore, I am more tired than ever.
But, and this is a big but, without my new partner Georgia, I wonder if I could do it. She is hardworking, sensitive, attentive and ambitious. I couldn´t have been luckier. And Dana likes her. And my friends Tom and Kirsty and their girls where we are staying now overnight. It isn´t easy to integrate quickly with dad and daughter, but she has done it!
Secondly, it is odd doing a journey in a part of the world which, no matter how we look upon it, is very similair to Sweden. It is a journey in the west. And the problem is, there´s not really much drama, like for example in Yemen, where every bend on the road on one´s journey is exhilirating and dramatic. So far, since leaving the vibrant Moss Side, it has been more of a holiday, even if we needed this kind of an easy start, to adjust to sleeping in the tent, getting the routines right and feeling comfortable together, we have to force through this wall of predictability and silent monotony. And we have been much faster than I expected. Basically due to Dana´s easyness and being forced up on fast roads. I am saying forced, because we have walked along canals and footpaths, but the latter offer the dumbest of styles, making it impossible for us to pass.
One of the main worries I came across whilst planning, was the issue of whether people would invite us or not. The idea is to get to know the English and make a documentary about contemporary England, so to be able to do this, you have to live with the English, not just pass them, wish them a nice day and continue. Initially I had planned to set off without tent, cooking gear and pots and pans, but everybody told me that would be foolish. Georgia had the same worry. Naturally we ran into the nicest of humans the first night, John, who invited us to pitch our tents in his garden, so we got a good start all three of us. The other two nights we have used some run down campsites, because we were to tired to engage. Or at least I was. We needed a few days to adjust. But once we leave Edale we will approach people every night, since that is why we are here. To try to understand the English better!
Most people we meet wave at us, say hello, talk a bit about the weather or wants to know about our plans, but doesn´t engage anymore, that is except that lady in the car yesterday who thought we were crazy bringing a child in a stroller (she said it in a much nicer way, of course….) so it is definitely up to ourselves to get things going. It won´t happen too much otherwise. Us getting invited. Than of course there´s always the exceptions, like my good friends Tom and Kirsty who are among the most generous and welcoming on earth. More about them next report. It is a paradise for all of us and together with Tom I have been able to learn quite a few important things about the English today when we walked through the tiny centre of this tourist resort named Edale. It is at the foot of the oldest British National Park, the Peak district. For example, we talked to a gentleman today as regards to the EU, which most people we have talked to on the journey so far, seem to be against, well, he said:
”We use to be an Empire and ruled a big part of the world, why would we like to be part of tiny Europe and be told what to do?”
That makes sense. And another recurrant issue I have come across since arriving to the UK came up again, many elderly are worried about islamisation in schools. Most have possibly read the lesser trustworthy tabloids in the country. But this is a fear many have. Unfounded of course, but a fear that is existing.
Anyway, we have set off and it feels great being outdoors and on a journey again!
Sounds like things are going well and you are getting into the swing of things 🙂
Hey Mikael! Thanks for the update. I was born in this area and know it well. It’s beautiful if/when the sun shines!
As a travel writer myself it’s really interesting to see your interaction with locals, from a foreigner’s point of view. Also it shows that travel experiences do not have to be in exotic locations;they can be in your own backyard.
I wish you well!
Thank you for your blog!