Huh? What's all this about?
In just a couple of months from now, I will be taking you on an interactive journey of over 15,000km, from Beijing, China, to London, England. All completely on foot over the duration of 3 years, whilst life-streaming my entire journey over Twitter, Facebook & Google+
My name is Michael Lee Johnson. I’m 28 years of age and I am from Widnes, Cheshire, in the north-west of England.
On Friday July 26th 2013 at 2:15pm, I will be boarding a flight from London to Beijing with the intention of never returning back to the United Kingdom by anything else other than by foot.
Upon arrival in Beijing and after a good nights sleep, I will then begin my journey home (on my own), whilst writing a book and self-producing a documented drama about my life on the road.
There are multiple deserts and mountains for me to cross over and walk around. Plenty of people that speak languages I don’t understand (bearing in mind I only speak English). Some of the areas get insanely-hot in the summer (I am fair-skinned and will probably boil and get 2nd degree burns), and so stupidly-cold (we’re talking like -40o bollocks-freezing cold here). However, after doing more research on this than is possible to write or comprehend, I think/know it will all be possible.
My entire journey will be tracked via GPS and plotted on to Google maps in real-time. You will be able to see where I am at any given moment in time. Through the use of 3G networks, multiple wireless HD camera’s and a lightweight laptop, I hope to be able to live stream some of my journey, as well as recording HD-quality videos and taking photographs every step of the way.
For those of you that use Google+, I will also be doing Live Google+ hangouts in every village and city across my journey.Why am I doing this?
Ever since I was younger, I wanted to do something special. Real special. Some people go backpacking across Europe or travel the American West by train. Other people head to Australia or Bangkok, and sometimes even Spain. I ended up doing what most people do – going to school, getting a job, and getting stuck in life. A life that I didn’t like, but became accustomed to. It’s a good job, it pays the bills, but I felt like I would have to give up my dream of an incredible journey – my childhood dream. I was actually getting to where I was OK with it. Where I was ready to give up on my dream and not follow through.
Lots of people have to give up their dreams and settle for the life they fall into. A job they don’t like, but do anyway. – No longer can I do that. I need to follow my dream. My heart. I need to go. Unfortunately I will have to quit my job and say my goodbyes, and this journey could literally kill me… So I may possibly never seen any of my friends or family again, but I have to. I have waited far too long as it is. I am going to bring my dream to life and let the whole world dream with me using an array of social media channels and technological wonders.
All of this is my get-a-way plan, my escape-plan. My ticket out of here. If you’re a small-town person just like me, you’ll understand exactly why I am doing this.
The route that I presumed would be the best and most safest, will take me from Beijing into Northern & Western China, right through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and possibly Turkmenistan, across Iran, Armenia and then back home through Europe to London, England. 15,000 km, Thirteen hours by plane and between 3 to 5 years on foot. Hopefully I make it back alive!
All I know is that… My mind is prepared, my body is prepared and all I have to do is put one foot in front of another with the direction of home. Easy, right?
As long as there is internet available through WIFI or 3G coverage, my blog and galleries will be continuously updated. I may not be able to access the internet for a few days at specific points of my journey, but don’t let that worry you! You should still be able to track me/call me to see what I’m up to, or to check if I haven’t been savaged by a wild-dog, leopard or possibly even a bear.
Who knows what may happen along my journey? And you know what… I really don’t care! Why? Because life’s too short. We only have our memories at the end of the day, so I’m making some good ones. It’s all or nothing in my eyes, life or death. I think life is what you make it, so I’m making it what I want… I’m bringing my dreams to life, and letting the whole world dream with me.
>PFAQ - Possible Frequently Asked Questions
- How did you come up with this idea?
- Is walking all this way ACTUALLY possible?
To cut a long story short, Yes. – But only if the authorities allow me to walk through the service tunnel of the Channel Tunnel between Folkestone, Kent, in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais, in France. If you’re reading this and know who’s in charge there, or can make this happen, drop me a message.
- Why did you decide to walk and not ride a bike, or possibly even drive?
I like walking. I think you’ve never really been somewhere unless you’ve walked through it. Like in the past, whenever I’ve turned up by taxi, bus, airplane, or even my go-go-gadget rollerblades, I’ve always felt like a tourist. I’ve never really felt like I should be there. Know what I mean?
- What does walking mean to me?
Walking doesn’t mean anything specific to me, it just allows me to be at one with myself and compile my thoughts. I like taking on the scenery and getting to know new people. Walking’s cool. Everyone should walk more, the earth would be less polluted.
- Where will you sleep?
OK, so I’ve thought about this a lot…Far too much, probably! I’ve determined that 25% of the time I will be out there with nature in my 4 season tent, 50% of the time I will pay for cheap-ass accommodation (as long as they have internet), and the remaining 25% of the time, temples, peoples homes and wherever I can get my head down! – The rougher, the better in my opinion. It’s important that I get a good understanding of how other people live and survive throughout each of the areas I visit.
- What if you get lost?
Hopefully I will get lost. I’m not looking to stick to a set or specific pathway. I have a compass, a gps-enabled mobile phone, a handheld garmin and a 3g laptop… I don’t think I will get lost for long!
- What do your friends and family think?
Reactions of friends and family variate significantly. – Most of them say ‘are you clinically insane’, telling me I need to get tested. Whilst others are intrigued on the endless possibilities ahead. Some are scared, worried and try to put me off going, whilst the remaining few have congratulated me, and wished me luck for my journey ahead.
- Why are you doing this on your own?
I have a lot to learn, see and do. I don’t think it would be fair to drag someone along with me. Not only that, but I’m building a brand, a business, myself. – This walk is all about me, my advertisers, my sponsors, and most importantly, my future.
- What if something happens to you?
OK, so lets face it. Something probably is going to happen to me that I haven’t, or can’t plan for. It’s highly likely that I’m going to get robbed at knife/gun point. Hopefully it doesn’t happen, but it most likely will. Not only that but, it is possible to die from a number of unfortunate events/outcomes across my journey, but I’m not really thinking about those, so I will just let time take its course. Shit happens in my opinion. I’m here for a good time, not a long time, but if I’m here for a long-time and have plenty of good times… Cool.
- How will you stay safe?
I genuinely believe that the more people that know about my trip, about me and what I’m doing, the safer I will become. Either that, or I’ll be a prime candidate for anyone holding a grudge against western brands, or western people in general. Allowing people to track me in real-time may be me Achilles-heal… We will just have to see what happens.
I can’t quite remember really, I was just sat there one night, and it sort of came to me. I’ve been studying marketing and advertising for the past 10 years, and I like walking, so it all kind of just clicked together at the right time.
Chief Tea-Drinker & Full-time Freedom Walker
Click here if you would like to buy me a bottle of water and some food for the day. - $4.99
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