Category Archives: preparation

Tomorrow I’m walking to England.

Perhaps my greatest tomorrow.

I’m finished with the preparation. It’s been longer, more difficult, more laborious but also more surprising that I’d expected. I could already talk about it for hours, and to an extent I have. I met a bunch of beautiful people. I learned a bunch of useful things. I have already learned something new about myself, or at least I’ve confirmed some things I already knew. Just so as to demonstrate (to myself) how true it is that a journey begins as soon as you dream it. I’m opening a parenthesis with the intention to close it a season from now, to live an entire winter suspended between borders and be evermore careful of catching a cold. If everything goes well, I’ll open my eyes again in spring, in England.
Other possible scenarios are:

– tendinitis in Narni Scalo and back home in an ambulance amongst general laughter
– broken gps in Sarzana, lost in the appenines, the news appears on the rai 3 midnight broadcast
– around Lausanne, the solitude and excess of lactic acid leads to mental breakdown, desperate crying for mummy, no one can understand what he’s saying, he is adopted by a saint-bernard’s.
– frozen on the Jura, used as a scarecrow by a Seveux farmer.
– possessed by titanism and a religious epiphany, he thinks he can walk on water and drowns in the Channel.
– he arrives in Canterbury but he’s forgotten why he did it in the first place.

Betting in the comments section is permitted (a friend wanted to create a website www.totodeguidi.com – I’m fine with it, as long as he gives me 50% of the wins). In any case, the best way to get updates on my progress is to go here. Which is actually the same thing you can find on this page here on the right. I’ll try to send a message every day. As regards posting on the blog, as well as photos and videos, I’m at the mercy of any internet connections my hosts will have, hopefully I’ll manage to post something every week.

As Christmas is round the corner and I won’t be able to carry many gifts with me, here are two little early presents for my readers (I can already hear the booing).

Like all snail-men that respect themselves, I, too, carry my house around with me; on this occasion I’ve opened it up and placed it on the floor to take a picture of it:

1. clothesline 2. medical and sanitary kit 3. walking sticks 4. popote and stove 5. camera 6. emergency blanket 7. sandals 8. torch 9. poncho 10. leg warmers 11. hat 12. a change of clothes 13. umbrella 14. gloves 15. bottle 16. batteries 17. various chargers 18. sleeping bag 19. inflatable pillow 20. gps 21. iPod 22. pen drive 23. swiss knife 24. mug 25. mini tripod 26. airtight bags 27. small towel

This is more or less what’s in my backpack (thanks to Ferrino and most of all to Francesco). Adding a book, water, and some food it should arrive at around 9,5 kilos. I hoped it would be a bit lighter, but it’s not bad for a rookie.

As promised, here’s the list of my stops, along with the predicted arrival date, VERY susceptible to changes:

Tappa Km parziali Km totali Data
Terni 0 0 9-12-2009
Orte 32 32 10-dic-2009
Viterbo 29 61 11-dic-2009
Montefiascone 18 79 12-dic-2009
Bolsena 19 98 13-dic-2009
Acquapendente 23 121 14-dic-2009
Radicofani 32 153 15-dic-2009
San Quirico d’Orcia 33 186 16-dic-2009
Ponte d’Arbia 28 214 18-dic-2009
Siena 29 243 19-dic-2009
Monteriggioni 21 264 20-dic-2009
San Gimignano 30 294 21-dic-2009
Gambassi Terme 14 294 22-dic-2009
San Miniato 24 332 23-dic-2009
Altopascio 26 358 24-dic-2009
Lucca 18 376 25-dic-2009
Pietrasanta 33 409 27-dic-2009
Avenza 28 437 28-dic-2009
Aulla 33 470 29-dic-2009
Pontremoli 18 488 30-dic-2009
Passo della Cisa 20 508 31-dic-2009
Cassio 19 527 2-gen-2010
Fornovo 21 548 3-gen-2010
Fidenza 35 583 4-gen-2010
Fiorenzuola d’Arda 23 606 5-gen-2010
Piacenza 33 639 6-gen-2010
Broni 36 675 7-gen-2010
Pavia 19 694 10-gen-2010
Garlasco 26 720 11-gen-2010
Mortara 24 744 12-gen-2010
Robbio 15 759 13-gen-2010
Vercelli 20 779 14-gen-2010
Santhia 28 807 15-gen-2010
Viverone 17 824 16-gen-2010
Ivrea 22 846 17-gen-2010
Pont Saint-Martin 23 869 19-gen-2010
Verres 18 887 20-gen-2010
Chatillon 21 908 21-gen-2010
Aosta 31 939 22-gen-2010
Echevennoz 14 953 23-gen-2010
CH P Gran S. Bernard 15 968 24-gen-2010
Bourg Saint-Pierre 28 996 25-gen-2010
Orsieres 13 1009 26-gen-2010
Martigny 19 1028 28-gen-2010
Saint-Maurice 17 1045 29-gen-2010
Aigle 18 1063 30-gen-2010
Vevey 27 1090 31-gen-2010
Losanna 21 1111 1-feb-2010
Goumens-la-ville 26 1137 2-feb-2010
Orbe 12 1149 3-feb-2010
Yverdon 17 1166 4-feb-2010
Sainte-Croix 18 1184 5-feb-2010
FRA Pontarlier 21 1205 7-feb-2010
Haute-Pierre-le-Chatelet 30 1235 8-feb-2010
L’Hopital du Gros Bois 22 1257 9-feb-2010
Besançon 19 1276 10-feb-2010
Gy 35 1311 11-feb-2010
Seveux 19 1330 12-feb-2010
Champlitte 26 1356 13-feb-2010
Les Archots 25 1381 15-feb-2010
Mormant 33 1414 16-feb-2010
Clairvaux 36 1450 17-feb-2010
Jessains 31 1481 18-feb-2010
Balignicourt 31 1512 19-feb-2010
Coole 30 1542 20-feb-2010
Chalons-en-Champagne 30 1572 21-feb-2010
Trépail 29 1601 22-feb-2010
Reims 25 1626 23-feb-2010
Berry-au-Bac 28 1654 24-feb-2010
Chéret 28 1682 25-feb-2010
Laon 11 1693 26-feb-2010
Suzy 16 1709 27-feb-2010
Tergnier 23 1732 1-mar-2010
Seracourt le Grand 20 1752 2-mar-2010
Tertry 17 1769 3-mar-2010
Péronne 17 1786 4-mar-2010
Bapaume 28 1814 5-mar-2010
Arras 27 1841 6-mar-2010
Camblain l’Abbé 19 1860 7-mar-2010
Calonne Ricouart 20 1880 8-mar-2010
Liettres 23 1903 9-mar-2010
Quelmes 24 1927 10-mar-2010
Licques 25 1952 12-mar-2010
Guines 17 1969 13-mar-2010
Wissant 16 1985 14-mar-2010
Calais 19 2004 15-mar-2010
UK Dover nave 2004 16-mar-2010
Canterbury 32 2036 16-mar-2010
Faversham 17 2053 17-mar-2010
Sittingbourne 12 2065 18-mar-2010
Chatham 15 2080 19-mar-2010
Gravesend 15 2095 21-mar-2010
Stanford-le-hope 28 2123 22-mar-2010
Brentwood 18 2141 23-mar-2010
Chipping ongar 12 2153 24-mar-2010
Harlow 15 2168 25-mar-2010
Buntingford 27 2195 26-mar-2010
Royston 12 2207 27-mar-2010
Cambridge 22 2229 28-mar-2010

That’s all. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go pick up my personal dj at the station, who, by the way, has just written the definition of my journey better than I could ever even imagine (it’s not a coincidence that, apart from being a dj, he’s also a writer, and a promising one at that). As promised, he is coming to bring me “a truckload of mp3s”. You know, it takes a lot of music to get to England on foot.
See you again on the road.

breathless

Here I am again. I apologise to those I promised more frequent updates to, but the past couple of weeks have been incredibly busy and I have arrived breathless (and with a bad case of tonsillitis) at these last few days. Last weekend I went completely internetless to dedicate myself to the festivities of two of my best friends’ wedding. I had the opportunity to hug again all those people that are literally scattered all over Italy and the World and that I hadn’t seen for ages, and it was the best way for me to charge that emotional battery I am going to need so much during the next few months.

As for the preparation, I have been incredibly busy procuring myself with a few last things and testing them, mapping out my gps route and (re)contacting hy hosts throughout that route, and all of that in what little free time I have, regardless of the fact I have been unemployed, as planned, since the day of my birthday. Given the early start of my preparation for this journey (or, rather, what I considered to be one), I never thought I would arrive breathless at these last few days before my departure: at which point I started to suspect that it is not really possible to be completely ready for such a journey. I would say it’s time to put together all the material I have gathered, organise it the best way I can, zip up my jacket and start walking. I have talked too much of this journey, arriving at that paradoxical state of recounting it without having done it yet, and it’s time to put an end to this schizophrenic rapport with a nice little walk to the north of Europe.

In a couple of days I’ll post a detailed schedule and other information on the journey for those who would like to keep track of my progress.

Pilgrimage in the age of mechanical reproduction

Come, ladies and gentlemen, come, look at the beauty I bring you, don’t push, there’s enough for everyone, come, come!

Today I brought you, as promised, a wonder of DIY, its quintessence I’d say: folks, a gadget that is basically free if you make it yourself, it’s better than anything you could find on sale and – and here I talk to my fellow hikers – it weighs as the hair of a maid: the penny stove! Following and mixing detailed instructions from dozens of videos found on the Tube (like this) we were able to build this jewel that, I swear ladies, it boils half a litre of water quicker then your home stove. Voilà, our product:

Unlike the yankees we didn’t put any glass fiber inside ’cause we don’t like it, and we squeeze regular denaturated alcohol in it, the one you all have in your lovely house ladies, a b-o-m-b! Where would we be without the internet?

Second item today, less sophisticated but not less satisfying, the  clothesline I already told you about gentlemen. Easy and cheap to buy, you’ll say. Yes, if you are some lucky yankees. Otherwise the shipping taxes will burn your wallet and, you know, with this bloody crisis, you better save every single cent folks. 3 euros of rubber, a couple of good knots and the trick is done. Voilà, our product:

To end on a happy note, a lil bit of music my friends. When I opened the blog, I proposed a couple of side projects, and one of ’em I called Soundtrack. Well folks, my friend Francesco (13 years old) took it literaly and composed an actual song for my journey. It is on those notes then that I greet you all my friends, see ya next round. Click here for the music. Olè!

p.s.: I almost forgot folks, I also added photos on the sidebar.

A bend every 40km

The seminar by Movimento Lento was an amazing experience. Getting there with my little methane Panda along the boring and foggy north-west highways was the best approach. Two days of chats, gps and nduja, with Piedimont woods competing with the canadian ones.  Alberto, Federico and Susanna were thoughtful guests. I met exceptional people among whom  RiccardoImmacolata (it’s not an alias!) and Fausto. And I got back with  this little toy. Everyone had some advice and support to offer me. Everyone truly interested in my project and willing to help with nothing in change but the sharing of the experience. Unbelievable.

I know I promised other contents in the last post but  engagements and a bad cold are slowing me down. I try to be forgiven with some photos from Roppolo:

A very comfortable moon (or The purple elephant)

I’m leaving in a moon. Just a round of the sky and I start walking. I like recurrences, I like thinking about them, make them coincide with illusionary events. I promised myself that a month before the departure I would have started simulating the travel life style: wash my clothes in the evening, sleep on the ground, eat less and more often during the day. The day has come, I laughed at myself, threw my dirty clothes on the floor and sprowled on the couch with a glass of good red wine. There will be plenty of time to suffer, now I still have a job and, starting from tomorrow, a graphic design class too,  no time to camp at my folks’ place, tzk!

Today the popote I’ve ordered from the States has arrived: it is unbelivably lightweight, I’ll tell you as soon as I try it out. Luckily I’m careful with money (and I don’t have much of it), otherwise I could buy tons of these ultratech camping gadget-toys and I won’t fit them in two backpacks (by the way, look at the amazing backpack that Ann composed for her fantastic walk from Kyiv to Patras: only sevenpointtwo ridicoulos kilos!). Now I’d like to make one of Jason’s stoves, the first attempt didn’t really work out. I was more succesful on copying the travel clothesline, which cost just a few bucks but seems to be available only in the US and with the shipping costs it would became an idiotic choise: the first protoype is already satisfying, even if improvable, and it only cost me one euro fifty of rubber. As americans say, DIY or die!

I also made up my  youtube channel and my flickr album, don’t go there now ’cause you’ll find them sadly empty. And since you’re here, don’t even think of a purple elephant. Ok, I go back tracing Google Earth paths and send ospitality requests. Drinking red wine on the couch, of course.

Mountain-top Fire

There is nothing I can do:
I walk on and on

Taneda Santoka, Zen saké haiku

According to chinese plantar reflexology, the spot where my wart grew corresponds to chocolate. By eating a relevant amount of it you can increase the healing of damages brought by the annoying HDC virus (Hasty Doctor’s Crap). That which doesn’t choke you, makes you fat, as the italian saying goes. Like chocolate. While I was devoting myself (and succeeding) in spending four days in my pyjama and honouring motherly cooking, I received confirmation from two (two!) technical sponsors. The stores, one in Stroncone, the other in Passo Corese, will give me a lot of ultratechnical gear; in other words, they make me fat. Vertigini Sport (altitude 255,35 m) will provide me with backpack and sleeping bag. Noi Sport will dress me from top to bottom: jacket, pants and base layers with the support of no less than Columbia. What to say? Grazie, grazie, thank you. I will wear more patches than a formula 1 car but I’ll stay warm and dry.

It should be clear from the tone, I make it plain anyway: I cooled my anger and my concern, thanks most of all to the lovely cures of my destination (who just went back to being that, the destination), but also to the encouraging comments received from the most unexpected people, full of advice and support. The foot is almost healed, the equipment is slowly putting itself  together, the chocolate is good. There is nothing I can do: I walk on and on.

Departure risks delay (by the way: fuck!)

Beware, rough post.

The wound caused by the wart was healing very slowly. At the beginning it was just due to an incompetent and arrogant doctor. From today a new one added up: the podiatrist who this morning was just supposed to clean some corns suddenly thought of messing with my wound too, reopening it. At noon my sock was drenched with blood. This afternoon it reopened again and it took two hours to stop the bleeding. Now my foot is completely bound and I’m furious: they say it could take up to a month. I cannot train, nor wear the new shoes for adapting them to my feet and most of all I risk to have to postpone the departure. My fault, I should have left the harmless wart where it had been for years without causing any problem. Of course, if a doctor says that it’s a metter of just one day, you tend to believe him. From now on, let’s follow a rule of crystalline common sense: don’t go to the doctor if you feel fine. I’ve never needed healthy feet so much, it’s paradoxal.

Some good news, at least: some positive progress on the technical sponsor side, I’ll write about it soon. And most of all, tomorrow the goal of my travel is coming to visit my for a few days. When she’s around, usually everything goes fine.