I’ve now walked 1,250 miles/2,000 km and in a few days’ time I will have walked 500 miles/800 km right across Germany. And very soon after that, I will have to leave the Schengen Zone. As the UK is no longer in the EU, my 90-day allowance is up. Reducing freedom of movement works in both directions, limiting immigration, albeit only the legal kind, but also ourselves.
I have a choice. My original plan was to bus it to the first non-Schengen land on my route and restart from there, later filling in the missing section when I was allowed to return to Schengen. But I’m not doing that. I don’t like the disjointed nature of that approach, but there are lots of other reasons why, in a just over a week, I’m going to call it a day for this year.
The most important one is money. My current £12/€14 a day allows for very little fun – y’know, eating interesting things, having a drink, visiting museums, in other words doing things other than walk – especially on non-wild camping days. Most campsite prices have exceeded my entire daily budget.
I need to increase my budget and the only way I can do that is to try to increase my book sales, by writing more and by better promotion. If I could get the revenue back to what I was earning six years ago, then my budget could increase threefold or more. So that’s what I intend to do.
The current budget limit is an even bigger problem in the next countries coming up. With fewer campsites, bears and landmines, a stay in a hotel for a shower and phone recharging will be even more necessary. And Bosnian hotels are cheap, but they are still costlier than most Western campsites.
Another reason to pause now is because there’s no reason not to. My only option to negotiate the Caspian Sea is through Russia, and doing that at the moment, even if it is possible, seems like a daft idea. Hopefully, the war will end and things will settle down, but it could be a while. And so there’s little point in scurrying across the Balkans during a chilly winter if I’m going to be stuck once I’m the other side of Turkey.
A final reason is that my dad is not well. He’s 83 in a few days and bits of him are failing. I don’t want to be thousands of miles away when it’s time to say goodbye.
Of course, all your Patreon monthly payments will also be paused until I restart.
But I’m also halting because I’m a bit down on the whole thing. This adventure hasn’t gained the traction I hoped it would. While I’m hugely grateful for any and all support, most of this adventure’s Facebook followers are existing FB friends, and its YouTube channel has a pitiful number of subscribers. I know that’s my fault – I should make more compelling content – but I don’t know how to when all I do all day is walk.
So, this is the end for 2022. Hopefully, with some extra cash and a renewed boost that can go someway to make more watchable videos, I can restart in spring next year. See you then!