I decided a few months back that I wanted to do something different and, after a lot of thought, decided I wanted to walk from Chester in the UK to Rome in Italy with my dog, Roman the Rottweiler, and raise money for charity along the way. I have been researching various things over the past couple of months with a view to finding out exactly what would need to be done for me to be successful in my quest.
First on my list was getting a passport for Roman. This entailed a few trips to the vets - 2 so that he could have some anti Rabies injections and a subsequent trip for the results of the blood test and to pick up his passport. Ordinarily, I would have had to have got him chipped but, as I did this when I got him, there was no need. Still, it cost me about £180 to get him his passport!!
Next on my list was my own passport - I did have a passport but lost it towards the end of last year so had to reapply. Normally this wouldn't be a problem - after all, who really likes their old passport photos??? - only on this occasion I had only had my passport for a few months before I lost it!! So, about £80 and a few weeks later I also now have a passport.
One of the biggest challenges ahead of me is undoubtedly learning a new language. I have a desire to remain in Rome once I get there so it is pretty important that I am as fluent as possible in Italian by the time I set off. I started using Rosetta Stone a couple of weeks ago and have been making steady progress but there is so much to do and so little time!
As if that wasn't bad enough I could also do with learning a bit of French too - after all, I will be spending a fair amount of time walking through France so will need to be able to communicate with people properly for the duration of my stay there. Luckily, I was pretty good at French in school so, although I did leave 11 years ago, I can't see me struggling too much here - I will wait until I have completed all of the Italian courses before I try and learn a little more French.
Other things that I have had to consider over the past few weeks include issues surrounding dog laws in France and Italy, how to register myself in Rome once I get there, how to set up a bank account, how to go about arranging accomodation, making sure both myself and the dog are both fit enough and many other things too....
Over the past few weeks I have been walking as much as possible with the dog and recently, as I have had to spend some time learning Italian, I have changed these walks into runs. The walks tend to range between 4 and 13 miles at the moment depending on time available and the runs tend to be 4 or 5 miles, although I have done one 8 mile run to date.
I placed my house up for sale about 3 weeks ago and am hoping that I have priced it competitively enough to attract interest relatively quickly as the quicker the house sells the sooner I am able to go on my little adventure. I have been speaking with the estate agents on a weekly basis to try and gauge the level of interest and am pleased that the interest now seems to have begun, although I am still waiting for the first viewing.
Yesterday I officially handed in my resignation at work and I should finish on Tuesday 30th June - this makes everything a little more real and will hopefully give me plenty of time once I leave to spend arranging everything that I need to in order to make this trip possible. With a bit of luck I will get an offer on the house at the end of June and I should then be ready to set off at the end of August - I am itching to go but have no control over this...
With regards to charities I have been thinking about this long and hard and, as yet, am still undecided on who I want to raise money for! Considering my Rottweiler will be making the arduous trip with me I think that it is only fair that I should raise money for a Rottweiler charity and I do have one in mind although I will not name any charities until I have decided once and for all. Additionally, I want to raise money for 3 national charities - 1 for the UK, 1 for France and 1 for Italy - I think it is important to raise money for the 3 countries if I want to keep interest high along the way and am sure this is a good way of raising the profile of what I am doing.
Anyway, thanks for reading my first post - now you know my plans, I've just got to find a way of making it all happen!!