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~ Why Do It
~ The Route
~ Get Involved
~ Supporters
~ Contact
Hi, I'm Dom, and on May 14th I'm walking to work
In late 2017 I had an idea: I decided that I'd walk to work. From about a hundred miles away. I’d just get a train one Sunday night, go somewhere, and then walk back. Admittedly this wasn't EXACTLY the first plan I had; it's had a little bit of fine-tuning following long discussions in my house (and of course at the pub - the cradle of 'good ideas'). But what a plan! Just... go somewhere, and walk back. Simple.

Of course now it’s 2018 and now I actually need to do it and now it's no longer just another of my 'Stupid Boy Projects', so I put this website together to outline what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and how you can get involved. I’m supporting some charities that are close to me as well, so please read on to find some details around those. I’ve had a huge amount of interest and enthusiasm from everyone who has heard about the plan, and strangely I’m really looking forward to it. So read on, and find out more about my Big Fat Walk To Work.

Updates and Blog
Since this site originally came online, it's been quite the journey already, and I haven't even begun yet. It's been a bit of an adventure, getting my head, and my body ready for this. Whilst of course you can read all about it on my Facebook page, I wanted to put a bit more information as to how things are progressing.

Therefore, Please click here to scroll aaaaaaaaaall the way down the bottom to read where are now. Last Update, Saturday 12th May (the day before I set off for Cambridge)





I don’t move as much as I should, to be honest I don’t think any of us do. We all lead busy – but often sedentary - lives. For the most part I work as a designer, which means I’m tied to a desk typing away, just like I am now. Apart from busy fingers, the rest of me isn’t moving. Therefore the idea came to me as a way just to get out and do something. Admittedly when I came up with the idea I was sitting outside a log cabin in California, so was obviously feeling ‘quite outdoorsy’ at the time, and if I’m being honest I’d had more than enough beers which meant I was doing my normal thing of having stupid ideas.

A braver man would come up with something like ‘run a marathon’. However given that I’m 6’3”, 300lb and have a very large frame I’m as far away from being a runner as you could imagine. But going for a walk? That’s possible surely? The idea has had a few tweaks along the way, though. My first idea was to walk from London to Horsham across a week, and I put this to my drummer whilst in California when we were eating steaks the size of housebricks in a restaurant that he couldn't find and I couldn't afford. He politely pointed out (by calling me an idiot) that walking 35 miles across seven days was more of a little stroll. "It'll take you about an hour and a half every day", he said. "What are you going to do for the rest of the time? Sit in a hotel and watch tv?"

His words connected with me, and I decided I needed to make it a little bit more challenging. So after a bit of thought, it came to me. A hundred miles. That'll work.
DISCLAIMER.

A hundred miles or not, I do know in my heart of hearts that this walk isn’t THAT impressive. I’ve got friends who go on walking holidays and they do this sort of thing for fun without even breaking a sweat. However for me, it’s definitely quite the challenge. As above I do tend to move less than two thousand steps a day, and therefore walking that kind of distance will definitely be something out of the ordinary. I’m also aware that it could be quite boring. In these days of social media we’re constantly surrounded by people, constantly talking. The reality is, I’ll be on my own. All day. So there’s going to be a certain amount of mental adjustment to get my head around that too.

Luckily I’m in a place where I’ve got some physical support already in the bag. As well as being a designer, I also work at a health care clinic, Total Therapy Studios in Horsham (which will be my final destination). In this clinic I’ve got a number of bio-mechanical specialists, foot health practitioners, personal trainers et al who will be able to support and get me ready. I’ve also a client base there who have given me lots of encouragement.

One hundred miles. It’s going to be hard, but it’s not going to be impossible. And it’s going to be great.


The Route
I started off by thinking a good route would be to walk from London to Horsham, as I mentioned above. However after this received the challenge it did ("Dom, it's one road. You'll just be walking down the road for a week") I needed something else, a better plan. So after settling on one hundred miles, I had to find somewhere that was 100 miles away from work.

Thanks to the wonder of Google Maps, this was essentially easy. It was just a case of sticking a pin in the map a hundred miles away and working backwards. Given that I live on the South Coast, I couldn't come up from the South, as that would mean starting somewhere in North France and throwing a very long swim into the process; I don't think my 25 metre bronze swimming ribbon qualifies me for that task, so I had to find somewhere else. Therefore, I settled on Cambridge.






Just as aside, did you know that one hundred miles is only 0.004% of the distance to the moon, but I still think it’s still fairly far, all things considered. As I generally work from home, my daily commute is about 30 feet, so it’s around seventeen thousand times further than I normally travel. Having spent an enthusiastic and thrilling ten minutes on Google I can also tell you that it’s over half a million feet. And half a million of anything is fairly impressive in my mind.

A few people have asked 'Why Cambridge?', and it's a good enough question as any. I've no real affinity with the place, apart from a very drunken weekend where I wore a cape and almost, but not quite, fell into a canal.

However the reality is that Cambridge seems like it's suitably far enough to be impressive. It also means that if I'm walking 100 miles to Horsham, then I'll be going through the centre of London. There was the option of simply walking one hundred miles from West to East along the beautiful South Downs where I live, however by going through London it means there'll be a huge variation in scenery. If I was to walk all the way along the South Coast, then the scenery would be wonderful, but for the most part unchanging. By taking the route I am, I'll be going through countryside, then suburbs, then city, then suburbs, then countryside. There'll be towns and villages on route, but this gives me a large and interesting variation. As long as, that is, I don't fall in The Thames.







STARTING
Cambridge
VIA
Harlow
VIA
London
VIA
Dorking
ENDING
Horsham





I'm planning to do the walk across five days. This means that I'll be doing around 18 - 26 miles a day, and that's a number that appeals. Whilst it's hardly running a marathon, it's a marathon distance a couple of days, and this resonates with me. By building in the half day at the end, it'll mean that there's some scope in case something goes wrong (which I'm sure will happen, knowing me). I'm still working out the complete details of the route, as I need to make sure that I'm going to be walking along possible roads (and not just down the M11). However, by my rough calculations it's going to look something like this:

Day 1 - Cambridge to Newport.
Day 2 - Newport to Epping
Day 3 - Epping to Clapham.
Day 4 - Clapham to Dorking
Day 5 - Dorking to Horsham


A braver soul would walk with a tent on his back and the air of a real traveller, however I decided pretty sharpish that this wouldn’t be a good idea. Not only would it mean that I’d have to carry a tent (bad) and everything I’d need to camp (even worse) but the normally unpredictable British weather could turn it into a very unpleasant experience indeed. Whilst I want to challenge myself a bit, I don't want to punish myself completely. The idea of trying to put up a tent in a rainstorm after walking 26 miles carrying the tent and all the gubbins unimpressed me so much that I'd have probably called the whole thing off before I’d even started. Therefore, I'll be staying in a series of cheap hotels along my route, and eating 40lb of 'Continental Breakfast' every morning.


Get Involved
As soon as people found about this whole madcap scheme, they've asked a LOT of questions. Which is only to be expected. I mean, I'd bloody have some questions too. Lots of people have followed me on Facebook, and all of the clients at my clinic seem to be very interested in it too. I'd love it if you could follow me on Facebook too (I'll try and keep it interesting!)

Quite a few people have asked me 'if I'm doing it for charity' and whilst this wasn't the primary reason it has become a solid foundation of what I'm doing. Working in the healthcare industry as I do, well-being is actually important to me, and therefore I'm thrilled to say I'm supporting three charities through awareness and maybe a wee bit of fundraising too. You can read about these charities below, which across the three truly support mind, body and soul.



The Mary How Trust -
In 1987, Mary How died of bowel cancer. She was 46. Earlier detection of the disease could have saved her life. On the night Mary died, her husband vowed to start a health screening charity to make a bowel screening test available to as many people as possible - giving them the chance that Mary never had. As well as screening for bowel cancer, the Mary How Trust looks for the early signs of many other life-threatening illnesses such as prostate and kidney cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

The Mary How Trust is run by fifteen paid employees and over a hundred volunteers. They truly do provide an invaluable service when it comes to pre-screening and checks, which the NHS is simply unable to provide. They do incredible work, and the service they provide is free of charge. You can read more about them here.

If you'd like to make a donation to this charity, then please do so by following this link here.

The Samaritans -
In many ways The Samaritans need no introduction. So established are they in UK culture that it's hard to imagine a world without them. My clinic is based directly opposite them in Horsham so we're reminded of them every day, as we should be. The common misconception is that they're there to offer support in the darkest of times to those sadly considering taking their own life, however they do so much more.

Truly believing that if you're given the time and space to talk things through, you can find a way through your problems. They help you explore your options so you can make decisions that are right for you. Not just there to help prevent suicide, they're available to help people who - quite simply - just need to talk to someone. Available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. It's impossible to calculate the amount of people who they have helped. Find out more about them here.

If you'd like to make a donation to this charity, then please do so by following this link here.

Horsham Alzheimer's Society -
Dementia is truly one of the most challenging things that someone can face. Not only does it cause a huge amount of distress for those affected, but also the people who surround and support someone who suffers. The Alzheimer's Society believe passionately that life doesn't end when dementia begins. They are there for anyone affected by dementia, and do everything they can to keep people with dementia connected to their lives and the people who matter most.

The organisation is supported through fundraising on a local level, and in many ways they take a fresh approach to not only supporting but also educating people around the set of symptoms we call dementia. Through this education and engagement, they genuinely improve so many lives, and through research and study they work tirelessly to achieve their goal - a world without dementia. You can read about their activities here.

If you'd like to make a donation to this charity, then please do so by following this link here.







People Supporting Me
Many people have offered to support, in any way that they can. The strange thing is that I'm not actually going to need much help with this. People have offered to walk along side me some of the route, which is very lovely but it's as much a test of me being on my own for a bit. Some others have offered to put me up overnight, which is equally lovely (and I may well take up some offers here).

There are a couple of bits and bobs I'm going to need (does anyone have an insanely large rucksack that I can borrow?!?) and I'm definitely going to need some new walking boots. Outside of that, there's not that much that I'm going to need. Some of the best support that you can give me is by way of keeping me encouraged to do this via the miracle of social media, and by supporting the charities that I'm affiliated with. However it is only right to give a shout out to the people who have offered their support at the place of work I'm actually walking to, Total Therapy Studios in Horsham.



Total Therapy Studios
First of all, this isn't a huge enterprise just to advertise the clinic! However due to the nature of what it is (i.e., healthcare and fitness) and due to the nature of who I am (i.e., not massively healthy and not massively fit) people are keen to help if they can. And as I'm very grateful of the support they've offered, I wanted to give a bit of a shoutout to people who deserve it.

First of all, the clients have all been incredibly engaged in what I'm doing. I'm generally seen as someone who takes a light-hearted approach to life, so my plans have been met with a large amount of 'oh my goodness you're doing WHAT?!?!' Thanks to everyone who has taken an interest, and followed me via social media. Your encouragement means the absolute world to me.

With two sports therapists (Jack and Sarah) and a Physiotherapist (Nicola) there's a huge amount of interest in making sure my body is working right to be able to do what I'm doing. Jack needs to get me on the treadmill so he can work out what's happening with my left foot, and I'm going to be given the full workout I know. Julie, who is a world class foot health practitioner will be making sure my feet are in working order, certainly before and will be fixing my poor feet afterwards I know. I'll be hitting up Charlotte, the Clinical Nutritionist to make sure I'm eating the right things on route (otherwise I'll just live on petrol station sandwiches). I'm supported by everyone, thank you so much for your encouragement.



Get in Contact
I'd love to hear from you. Everyone's engagement in the whole process is what has transformed a silly idea into a bit of an adventure, and therefore when people talk to me about the walk it just encourages me further. If you'd like to be involved and support, then you can drop me an email below. Alternatively, feel free to follow me on Facebook with the link below.

I'll try and keep the Facebook posts as interesting as I can (there's nothing worse than just looking at pictures of maps, is there?) When I embark on the walk on May 1th then I'll be posting live updates and videos so you can keep an eye on me. You'll also be able to track my progress live via satellite, mainly so you can make sure that I haven't jumped into an Uber.

Follow me here

Email me here
So there you go. Thanks for reading. Now, let's walk to work, shall we? It's a long old way, and I've only got so long to prepare.


Update as of 12th May 2018
Since this whole ridiculous idea came into my head, people have often asked ‘... but WHY?’ Of course it all started when I was sitting outside a log cabin in California, holding my beer in one hand, and a bear horn in another (I wasn’t taking ANY chances; no bear was getting my beer).

It all came about around a conversation about a marketing tactic for the clinic. “Wouldn’t it be great”, I mused, “If there was something that would involve all the therapists having to do something, deliver something. And we could talk about how great they all are?” This of course morphed into the idea that they would all work together to get me fit/well/non-lardy enough to do some kind of physical challenge. And like some Steve Austin of Sussex, I’d be rebuilt by them to the extent where I could undertake this physical challenge, and we’d all go home for tea and medals.

The idea went through different incarnations - generally variations on how far I’d walk (from London, The South Down’s Way, home from the pub?) And in all fairness the original idea of promoting the different therapists as a broader marketing tactic didn’t really play out. The reasons for this you can read about in more detail in the book, available from Amazon later on this year (or when I get round to writing it, you know what I’m like). And this is fine, because the walk DID morph into something else, all of it’s own accord. Something incredible for me.

Of course, there is also charity aspect to it too; the question that gets asked is ‘‘Who are you doing it for?’ or generously ‘Can I sponsor you?” It’s a very modern phenomenon that charities raise funds though activities – at any one time at least thirty people I know seem to be cycling across India to raise awareness for pandas who are afraid of thunder (or some other worthy cause). I think a lot of people think this MUST be charity event, because it’s the sort of thing that would be! That said, I was keen to have some good come of this ridiculous endeavour, and I’m supporting three great charities and people are already being very generous, with hundreds of pounds raised so far in a very short space of time (remember you can donate from the www.thebigwalktowork.co.uk website).

What has also been incredible is the way it’s connected everyone I meet. I’m asked about it constantly, and thrilled at how engaged everyone is with it. It’s become, for want of a better phrase, ‘a thing’. Something that everyone seems to be interested in, engaged with, and I genuinely love this fact. I couldn’t have done it without this level of support, and the constant drip feed of encouragement means that it’s become larger than just an idiot walking to work whilst eating sandwiches and the occasional pork pie.

However the deep question of WHY I’m doing it was one that I’ve struggled to answer, even a week before I set off. But I’ve finally worked it out. And curiously there are TWO reasons why I’m doing it. Both relevant, but honestly both subconscious. And they’ve only now become known to me through reflection over the last few days. I’ll tell you how I found out, if ye wanna know.

It started with a song.

It normally does.

The particular song is one by Frank Turner, from his new album, and it’s a song called ‘Brave Face’. It’s a song about courage, and strength of character. It’s bouncy as hell, and contains the sort of jingly-jangly guitar that I aspire to play, as opposed to sounding like a monkey hitting a banjo with a shovel. I listened to this song on repeat about thirty times, and I realised that it would make a great soundtrack to The Video Of The Walk (the capital letters are just slamming into place there).

I’ve always loved putting together videos of what I get up to, especially travel. Various holidays, or days out have been filmed and edited into something rather special (although not the bits where I get roaringly drunk and fall off bar stools). To capture something in video – with pictures and music – is a great pleasure for me and I often find myself looking at these, and reliving the moments. Watching the story of that particular time retelling itself. Whenever I film anything – or know I’m going to – then I start with a soundtrack and imagine it in my mind. From there it’s just a case of capturing the shots I need for the video I can already see in my head.

And this is the point (I do have one – honest)

It’s about the story. It’s ALWAYS about the story. And this song provided the idea for the video, which allowed me to see the walk for the incredible experience it’s going to be.

I love doing things. Experiencing things. Whenever I meet someone I’m always interested in who they are, and what they do, what they’ve seen. And – perhaps somewhat unfairly - feel slightly uncomfortable if they say ‘I dunno really, I... erm... I just... er, I dunno’. I love people with passions, with stories, with experiences, and this is what I aspire to be. There’s a fine line between this and an arrogant boastfulness; no-one likes the person that walks into the pub and shouts “HEY GUESS WHAT I’M DOING – AREN’T I SIMPLY FANTASTIC?!” so I’m mindful of this. If I meet someone like this, I normally nod calmly, remove a shoe, and repeatedly hit them over the head with it.

But, even taking this into account, there’s no real reason not to DO THINGS. It doesn’t matter what they are. But DO THINGS. Of course life is busy, and there’s never enough time. But honestly there’s also no excuse not to DO THINGS. People often tell me that they don’t have enough time to do the things they want to do, and then ask me if I’ve seen a million different programmes on the telly. Turn the TV off, dude. And DO THINGS.

That said, I’m VERY prone to Not Doing Things. When mountaineers knowing me look at me and explain “... because it’s there!” I always remind them that so is the pub, or a lazy afternoon on the couch. Even today, a friend of mine in Australia asked me why I was doing it, and enticingly suggested alternatives – ‘Dom’s Big Fat Nap’, perhaps. This was followed with an even more attractive suggestion: ‘Dom’s Big Fat Cheeseboard’. Both fantastic ideas.

Maybe this is the start of the change. The walk, for me, is me DOING THINGS. It’s a thing. So it should be done, because what a story, eh? And I could genuinely could only see the fact it was A THING TO DO when I could see the video of the walk in my head. This may seem like a topsy-turvy way round of doing things – embracing the experience only when I could visualise it in media, but hey that’s how my mind works. Remember I’m also the guy who can only really enjoy my spaghetti once there’s a picture of it on Instagram.

So the song helped me visualise the video which in turn helped me visualise The Experience, and realise just how great it’s going to be. Scary as hell, yes. And pretty hard for a big unit like me. That said, nothing good happens in the comfort zone. And I aspire to have experiences like this, so it all just came together in my head. Doing something like this, well, it’s something I aspire to do. So I’m going to do it. Because, what a story!

But then I looked a little deeper, and listened to the song a bit more.

Make me a promise that when the world ends
You'll kiss me and you'll hold my hand
And then we'll get through this, whatever happens
One look at your brave face makes me a braver man

The words of the song are all about courage. And I didn’t realise how important that this was to me, but on reflection it’s probably one of the human behaviours I find most attractive, and aspirational.

I see such courage every day. From people trying to start their own businesses, or make it on their own, or to people who are facing challenges through ill health, or other such situation outside of their control. In my own experience, the work that my wife does every day in building an incredibly successful business shows the sort of courage that I aspire to. My best friend is facing health challenges and every day pushes themselves through unimaginable discomfort in treatment. Again, a level of courage that I find incredible, and both aspirational and inspirational.

I’m often one who has grand ideas. “I’m gonna do THIS”, I exclaim wildly. Normally something bold, or exciting. But then, after the initial idea has cooled, I find myself just saying “Nahhhhhh”, and sloping off for a long pub lunch, often followed by a world-class nap. But the words of this song are about courage – and talk about a level of courage that I aspire to. I don’t want to NOT do; I want to do. And show the sort of courage and follow though that I see daily.

And interestingly I also see lack of courage daily. People who say that they can’t. Because it’s too hard, or it’s not who they are, or some other such reason. This is one of the things that I’ve realised frustrates me more than anything in life (apart from savages who put the milk in before the tea bag). The words of this song talks about the fact you can; all you need to do is be brave. Now I’m realistic enough to know that I’ve been like this, but again, it’s all about aspiration. And this crazy endeavour is all about me being the sort of person one aspires to be.

So what’s the point of everything I’ve just written? Maybe I can sum it up like this:

To all those who say they can’t? Yes you can. You can do anything, you really can. Live. Do crazy stuff. Do scary stuff. Surprise people. Do things that make people go “Really?!? Tell me about that!” Surprise yourself. Do something to tell the grandkids. Do something that inspires OTHERS to do things.

But do it. And have a story to tell.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for all of your support.

Ddm
12.5.2018

Make me a promise that when the world ends
You'll kiss me and you'll hold my hand
And then we'll get through this, whatever happens
One look at your brave face makes me a braver man




Update as of 19th April 2018
So here we are. I didn't think to build in a blog into this site (which probably would have been sensible, however I also wanted to update you all on how things are going. The date today is the 19th April, and it's less than a month until My Big Fat Walk To Work.

Since I've been planning this, the level of interest that I've had has been pretty overwhelming to be honest. Pretty much everyone at all the different places that I work are always asking, and I've even been in a couple of the local papers. The amount of interest in Total Therapy Studios has been stunning; I'd like to thank each and every person who has shown an interest. Lots of questions about the how, the why, and also charity donations as well. I've now set up links to the charity pages on above, and it would be incredible if people who'd like to support could donate to these charities. They're incredibly important, and it would be brilliant if some good can come of this ridiculous endeavour! Thanks to everyone for your support so far; it's what has really kept me going.

It's been an incredbily interesting journey for me personally, and of course sometimes it doesn't seem real. However, there's less than a month to go and it's going to happen and in truth, I'M REALLY EXCITED ABOUT IT.

One of the first things that hit me is simply how bloody far it is. I've done some pretty advanced route planning, certainly for the first couple of days and the miles have increased quite a bit. The main reason for this is that I don't want to be walking down busy A-roads with lorries thundering by, and therefore I'm having to go down cycle routes, and footpaths, certainly for the first couple of days whilst I'm up in the countyside. I'll be printing out lots and lots of maps I'm assuming (as obviously I'll need every bit of mobile phone battery I have for Twitter).

So the first couple of days of route have been planned, Cambridge to Newport, and then Newport to Epping (ish). I've got accommodation booked for the Sunday night, and have also found accommodation for the Monday night in Newport. On Tuesday night I'll be staying with the wonderful Mark and Katie, who have agreed to take me in. I was Mark's best man a few years ago, so I've decided that he can pay me back with a long and expansive foot rub. I'll have done about 40 miles by this point, so he's got his work cut out.

The next two days of the route should be a lot easier, as I'm coming across the centre of London, and out to my old stomping ground in South London and then onto home territory.

As it stands now, I've got my walking boots, someone has lent me a brilliant rucksack for the journey, and on order are battery packs for the various devices that will be in my pocket. I can normally go through a cell phone battery in less than two hours, so I'll need something just to keep me charged and out of trouble. There's only one thing to worry about, and that's 'am I up for the task physically? Am I well trained enough?'

The answer to this VITAL question is a big fat no. Hahahahaha no even slightly.

Where we are now, I'd love to be able to pop out and do a quick ten miles without even thinking about it. As part of my thought process, I think it's vital that I do a 20 mile walk, and then get up the next day and do another - essentially practicing not just walking but walking through the discomfort of the walk before. But honestly? I'm not close to this. Not. Even. Close. The reason is quite simple, and that's that life gets in the way. I simply haven't had the time, or have made the time. So I wouldn't say that I'm ready physically. My sports therapist Jack described me as a biomechanical timebomb, and famously diagnosed the paid in my ankle by pointing out that it's my ligaments ("You don't appear to have any", he said. So that's nice).

The other stange bit of the story is how I've approached this in my mind. What I had originally intended was to see all of the therapists I work with, and getting my ready both physically and mentally. However I haven't done this in the slightest. It's been a strange journey in terms of this; the main reason is the way it's become my own personal challenge, something I've set myself, and feel that 'I walk alone' to deliver. There are voices in my head (which won't surprise you) that this is my challenge, and my challenge alone, across five days in May. What doesn't excite me is the challenge being extended for a few months BEFORE I set off - living my life doing this. It's strange but it's true, but it's all part of the journey.

So, it's less than a month to go. And I need to get out walking; I do, I really do. I also need to book accommodation for the second bit of the journey, and plan the route. It's very exciting, and strangely I can't actually wait to start. Thanks to EVERYONE for your support.












Dom's Big Fat Walk To Work



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