I Went For a Walk
By Gabriel Stewart
Gabriel Stewart decided to walk 1,000 miles around the UK on his gap year. This is the story of how it all went spectacularly wrong.
Publication date: March 2019Buy
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Just over a year ago I decided I wanted to go for a walk, a rather long one. I had a plan. I'd use my home in London as a base and strike out into the countryside, starting small - short jaunts to Brighton or Norwich, leading up to walking London to Penzance and finishing my year with a walk to Edinburgh. That was the plan. And it couldn't have gone more wrong.
I Went for a Walk describes the idiocy of attempting to walk 1000 miles around the UK on my year off before Uni. The book is full of sarcasm and self deprecation but hey, it wouldn't be British without those. I wanted to see the country I grew up in, meet its people, end my long, tiring days in random local pubs, dancing along to acoustic nights. I met kind people, strange people, I saw the entry to the Channel Tunnel, I almost fell in a river and I joined a covert mission to close a coal mine. I set out to discover the UK but in the process, discovered truths about myself, my mind, my body and their limitations that surprised and changed me.
What began as simply the idea of thoughtlessly spewing out my experience on to a page slowly turned into an exploration of my deteriorating mental state throughout the year. Whether this be the occasional political rant, the in-depth analysis of Coldplay and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's voice or the slighter darker tone of attempting to understand the negative thoughts that filled my head. Trudging through the British countryside with only a tent, a camera and a backpack for company was an interesting experience to say the least... In essence, this book explores the everyday peculiarities of life navigating the no-man's land between school and university, and my attempts at understanding my new place in the world, whilst mixing in the occasional moment of me cooking Ainsley Harriot's cous cous by the side of a road on a dodgy gas stove.
Gabriel Stewart was born in 1997 in Hackney, London as the 3rd child of two reasonably organised parents. He attended the local primary school, Grasmere, where he began a short-lived musical career with hits such as ‘We’re going to see the dinosaurs’ and ‘The Life of Shoudi’. His passion was soon to move into acting and photography. He organised an Art and Photography Exhibition in aid of Comic Relief displaying his own and many other of Stoke Newington School’s finest work. Acting, though, remained in central position, slowly building up his confidence to the point of performing in the school musical ‘Fame’. He is currently studying Writing, Directing and Performance at the University of York. Before this though, he sought a very different sort of adventure in his year off between A-Levels and university. He decided to write a book about his journeys walking across the UK, with the occasional song and dance along the way to rekindle his now long lost musical career.
Most People go to Asia on their Gap Year…
It’s February 10th 2016. I am walking down the winding country roads of Sussex letting my head torch lead me along the unlit path ahead. Little white drops begin to fall around me. Confused, I look up to see if a tree has blossomed early then realised it had fucked up only to spray its glimmer of hope for summer onto the soul wandering below. No. It had started to snow. I stand for a second, bewildered. It wasn’t cold enough to snow. I mean, yes there were the mini mist clouds emerging from my mouth every time I breathed but I thought I’d at least have to feel a bit cold for it to snow. I stumble onwards as the searing pain of my ankle re-emerges to remind me what a twat I was for committing to walk 1,000 miles in my gap year. This is day 2 with approximately 955 miles to go. At this moment the idea of lying in the cushioned sand of a sun-streaked beach feels very attractive to me. I could claim that I sensed and embraced the culture of the beautiful country I resided in as I lay next to my fellow white, middle-class European friends feeling the same spirit within them.
I am not bashing it. I mean by all means go ahead and join the tens of thousands of late teens as they enjoy their drink- and drug-fuelled months exploring South-East Asia. But don’t for one second claim you are ‘experiencing’ and ‘embracing’ the culture of such areas. You are not. You are following a tour created for the sole purpose of entertaining such thoughts in your head whilst making sure that you do not touch their culture with your destructive Western hands. How many of the backpackers who have trampled through Bali have learnt or even heard about the brutal genocide of over a million communists within Indonesia? How many even know that Bali is within Indonesia? Or the fact that the same people who committed such atrocities still remain in positions of power today? I’m not claiming any moral high ground, by the way, as the US, and likely the UK, were fully engaged in such atrocities and still pride themselves in being allies and trade partners of such a wonderful government. My point is that it is not possible to explore a country’s culture by passing through it for less than a month. You are simply on holiday, a reasonably long holiday.
- 7th March 2019 The Book is Published!
As you will all know the books has now been officially published!! I am over the moon and on another level of excitement for this. I hope that you have all enjoyed your copies so far, if you ordered a digital copy, make sure to search 'Unbound' in your email to be certain you have not missed it.
It has been a long process but it is all worth it to see everyone enjoying the book now, thank…20th November 2018 Bit of a delay...
So, I've been a bit busy with a crazy few weeks getting my third year production together (Hekabe at TFTV, get your tickets...), but essentially some teething problems with Unbound's new distributor means that the release date will now be in February not December, as first thought.
Sadly, that means that you guys won't be getting your books as a nice little treat in time for christmas. You can…19th October 2018 Final chance to get your name in the back
Hey, so it's been a while! Don't worry, the book is still happening and as you can see on the right, it looks like it's going to be coming out not too long away...
I'm a bit overwhelmed by work and work and work at the minute but it is the last chance for people to get there names in the back so if you know anyone who would be up for ingraining their name in I Went for a Walk send them this way…4th July 2018 In the midst of editing...
Just thought I'd give another update in case you were wondering what on earth was happening in the development of the book. I'm currently working through and implementing all the edits and suggestions I received back from one of Unbound's editors. It's a fun time, I can assure you. Just pootling along and hopefully, unless sinusitis wields it's sinusy hand, I'll be done relatively soon…20th May 2018 Checking In
It's been a while since I've updated people on what is going on but just in case you are wondering when you are going to receive your book, I thought I'd give a little update. Basically, it is now in the production process which includes editing, creating all the jazzy stuff etc. Contrary to what the page says, the writing is done as the book is written but of course will probably be edited…20th April 2018 We're getting published!!!
I am very excited to say that I Went for a Walk is going to be published!!! We have reached 100% and I can't say how thankful I am for every one of you who has helped me reach this goal whether you have pledged, shared or just been great.
I'm so happy. Very very happy. But anyway, the book is still open to pledges for people to pre-order the book before release and of course get their names in…4th April 2018 What I took on my Walks...
I've uploaded a few photos of what I crammed into my backpack on my walks from maps to cooking equipment. It might give you an idea of how unprepared I was for the impending doom that I was about to experience... I'm exaggerating, it was enjoyable. At points... Anyway, check em out, they were taken in a rush so may not be tip top quality.
Also another huge thanks, I know there's been…27th February 2018 75% Done. 25% to go.
Hey, I have got to the all important 3/4 mark and am very pleased to be so close to finishing. I would like to thank everyone again for supporting me, you've all been amazing!
If anyone's a York or Hackney local like me, look out for a little article about the book in both the York Press and Hackney Gazette. On top of that, hopefully it'll be on The Great Outdoors website very soon. I'm hoping…2nd February 2018 Asking for a little help for a final push
Thank you so much to all of you who have pledged so far. I'm writing to ask for one more favour, in order for everyone to get their copies even sooner, could people help me attempt to give it one more push to get across the 100% finish line. Can everyone please share the page on social media and to any friends you think might be interested so we can try and reach as many people as…31st December 2017 New Extract After Passing 50%
Hey, to say a big thanks to everyone for getting me past 50% and well on my way to being published, I'm adding a little extra extract from the book for you to read:
"Dreary eyed, I woke up confused because the sun seemed to have broken through the white walls of cloud which had encompassed my world for the past two days. The spit of the fluffy balls above me would no longer have to be contested…15th December 2017 A Short Film from My Walks
To celebrate reaching 45%, and to thank every amazing pledger, I'm going to give you a little insight into my walks through a short film made by my amazingly talented mate Sam Mathias-Stanley. Warning: there's a bit of feet and they're not so nice. But the bubbly pussy ones are not mine, just wanted to make that clear... My feet may have been slowly disintegrating but they weren't that fucked…24th November 2017 Thank you! And New Pledge Levels...
So we're over a third of the way there, which is amazing, and I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who's funded so far. I'm incredibly grateful! There's also now a few new pledge levels that have been added in which you can get some of my photography from my walks on top of a copy of the book. Gives you a little idea of what it was like. Here are the photo's that you will receive…
These people are helping to fund I Went For a Walk.
An anonymous donor