Walking from home

group of students in China out walking and holding a poster

A year ago to the day that their charity walk from Cambridge to Paris was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our intrepid pair, adventurer James Ketchell and fundraiser and campaigner for epilepsy and Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) charities Mark Woods-Nunn, took their first steps on their new challenge. And then immediately sat down on the wall outside King’s College Chapel in Cambridge.

James Ketchell and Mark Woods Nunn sat on a wall in front of kings college chapel in Cambridge in the United Kingdom

Mark and James had planned in 2020 to walk 260 miles from Cambridge to Paris, visiting schools along the route. As they discussed, in a recent series of webinars for schools, it is all about finding techniques and strategies to adapt and cope when things don’t go according to plan. As Mark explained “the pandemic meant we had to cancel our whole walk. Things don’t always go according to plan and what we have been sharing this week is about being able to adapt and overcome in those situations and still achieve your goals. Then a year later the third lockdown in the UK meant we had to cancel our back-up plan of walking 60 miles from our homes. Finally, I had to pull out altogether from the series of daily walks we had planned instead, due to an ankle injury. Things don’t always go according to plan and what we have been sharing this week is about being able to adapt and overcome in those situations and still achieve your goals.” True to their words James spent the week doing shorter walks before joining Mark to host global webinars with schools from China to Argentina and Bolivia.

During each webinar Mark shared his experiences and challenges he has had to overcome when he was first diagnosed with a form of epilepsy in his teens and then FND a few years later. As a result Mark is not allowed to drive, has to limit his screen time, moderate his diet and more, to be able to function well with his conditions. He went on to share eight top strategies and techniques he has adopted for himself over recent years.

Mark's eight strategies and techniques:

  1. mindfulness and meditation
  2. take control of your thoughts
  3. develop the habit of casting away your cares
  4. connect with people, help people
  5. do things you enjoy
  6. be goal-oriented
  7. be thankful
  8. live loved.

You can watch the webinar to find out more about how Mark applies these in daily life.

The schools taking part have really valued Mark and James sharing their experiences, especially during a time when everyone around the world has had to face adversity. Learners have been studying from home and facing exams being cancelled in June 2020 in some parts of the world, and this has created stress and anxiety for many, and everyone has had to develop their own techniques.

Finally James, the first person in the world to complete the ultimate triathlon, of climbing Mount Everest, cycling around the world and rowing across the Atlantic, as well as setting a world record for circumnavigating the global in a gyroplane, shared tales and photographs of his adventures and most importantly, the insights into the key lessons he learnt along the way.

By the end of the week, James walked approximately 60 miles in and around Cambridge. In addition, over 250 people from 15 schools in 12 different countries took part in the webinars and went on their own walks. Mark and James also hit their target of raising £7,000 for the Epilepsy Society and the FND charities. This money will contribute to the future work of both charities, from supporting sufferers to raising awareness.

Watch the series of video blogs that James recorded each day he was Walking from home and watch videos shared by schools on Mark and James's Facebook page.