Explorer Mikael Strandberg

Expedition England With A Stroller: Leicester To Tamworth

“It is almost like they look at us like we are travelers or gypsies” , Georgia said during lunch in a little park in Tamworth yesterday: “It is getting me down a bit. I feel dirty and worn. The last days since Leicester… it is like people have avoided us. And if I compare to cycling, which I have been doing before, you always meet other cyclists. But with the stroller it is only us on the road. There are no other people walking England with a stroller like we do.”

I am sitting in an overpriced hotel room in Tamworth when writing this. Neither Dana or me have slept. It has just been an incredibly hot night inside the room (of course there´s no air conditioning except in the reception…), our window is just above a busy intersection, we are just above the boiler room and Dana is grumpy in a way I haven´t seen her for awhile, she wants to go outdoors and she is going through most of the equipment pretending to pack and getting ready to move. But this will give me a little chance to write this. Well, we have been walking for over three weeks now and it isn´t an easy life to adjust to. If you haven´t been doing this for 30 years like me, and love it. I do fully understand. I am happy Georgia is having a couple of days rest and break with her husband Greg to recharge her batteries a tiny bit. Because she is extremely vital for this Expedition in every way. The work she does is really amazing on every level (far beyond anything I expected!) and she is really good on camera, honest and to point in an English way, which works very well with my Scandinavian opinions. I think this will be a very gooddocumentary, but we do have a long way to go and lots of work to do. And this involves actually getting more dirty in every way!

I agree with Georgia that people have kind of not talked to us since we left Leicester. It is like we don´t exist, they just pass us without seeing us. Being Swedish, I know this all too well. This is how Sweden is. And I think it has been like this for the same reasons since we left Leicester. We have kind of left a talkative area and entered a new one, where people prefer not to get their lives interrupted with unknown things they don´t know how to deal with. Just like in Sweden. I do hope we will get a chatty part soon again, because during the journey from Moss Side to Leicester, we met a lot of very friendly and interested people. And, as it shows, when we actually did stop and talk to people, they do talk back and there´s not much difference from before. Very friendly people. It could also be the fact we are not as outgoing as usual due to profound tiredness ourselves.

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The walk from Leicester have been like a holiday walk dominated by an incredible heat really, through a picturesque landscape of big fields and farms, windy roads covered by high hedges and loads of tractors, cyclists, dog walkers and on and off fast traffic. Not really the Midlands we expected from the rumour that it would be all suburban, bleak and run down. I have to say, so far, it has been to the contrary. Lots of big wealthy houses on route spread out and surrounded with private lands and fields! This private land thing, which is so American and English, it divides people and societies and I see absolutely neither an explainable reason or anything good with this….terrible! We free camped one night just off the road on a little patch of a farmed field and Georgia was scared. Not for us getting robbed, but being told off by an angry farmer! Amazing! Having said that, in the morning, she was very, very happy!

We stopped for Sunday roast in a small village on route and the English food….I can understand why all visiting travel writers just give up on the food thing…it looked great but tasted nothing. Just texture. And, once again, that is my only negative critique so far. So much noice about things from internet salespeople to sunday roast. Big promises, always promises of the best in the world, really overrated once delivered. Just like the English football team who has been the best in the world since 1966. I will take Dana to the pub and see their last game tonight against Costa Rica, who promised nothing and has already won so much.

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I look forward to moving on to Birmingham! I love the multicultural England, which I think is the best in the world!

Finally, I wanna add, tha doing this with my daughter Dana, an eternal joy, so full of laughter and life, is my besttime ever! But having said that, she isn´t allowing me to write anymore, she has, once again caused total havoc in the room and I see two Weetabix mixed with my underwear. Washed with a softener. Yes, I took a softener, not washing powder yesterday, but the clothes smell good!

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*Follow our footsteps here at http://punkt.luxson.com/daddyadventurer/

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6 comments

  1. Keep it up, guys! Enjoying the blog posts. Dana is getting a mind-broadening education that most kids never get.

  2. Mikael,

    Very interesting to read your observations about walking through England. You passed not too far from my house.

    There were some programmes on British TV looking at life in the Scandinavian countries recently, so it is interesting to see what a Swede makes of life in the UK.

    However I think that is true of all Northern European countries to say that the people with jobs (the nice middle class people) are busy most of the time and do most of their travelling by car (home, school, shops, etc). I don’t think that this is a good thing, but it is true.

    When you travel on foot you tend to meet the people on the margins of society, and this will give you a very different view of the society.

    From Birmingham to London the route along the canals would be the most interesting route. I think that the Waterways Authority has tried to replace most of the old ‘styles’ with gates that are accessible to wheelchairs. Sadly some sort of barrier is needed to discourage the crazy kids who want to race their motorbikes along the canals!

    Good Luck with the rest of your trip

    David

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