The reason behind it all...
Updated: Oct 6, 2020
It's been a while since I posted on the blog and after some requests, I figured I'd finally put pen to paper and tell you all about this next adventure I am due to embark on, in only two short weeks.
The what, the why, the how...
If we've not already met, I'm Nads, founder of Manira Palm and to get you up to speed on what's happening, I am walking to London... from Manchester to raise money for two wonderful charities which I'll tell you all about soon.
WTF even happened to 2020?
It's been a pretty unusual year to say the least. For me, 2020 was thought to be the year where 'The Home of Sustainable Tourism' opened. And technically it did.... for one whole magical day!
Whilst of course, 2020 was not quite the year it could have been for Manira Palm, the time during lockdown really got me thinking. Thinking of how fortunate I am. Whilst the world stood still, I was hidden away in a beautiful space, a fridge full of food intended for guests and filled with hope that everything will be ok once the world gets going again.
Hope is a beautiful thing...
...but it is often easier to have hope if you already have the basics in your life. As humans, we all have basic needs, things just to make life a little bit easier and more pleasant. Simply put, a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food in your belly.
Gee whizz, I'm grateful to have gone through life up to now, without having to worry about knowing if I will have what I need to simply survive. But sadly this is not the case for everyone and since this crackers year began, there has been a rise in people without access to basic human needs.
"To protect the planet and the people we share it with"
This is and always will be Manira Palm's mission. Manira Palm was created in the hope together we can contribute to a sustainable future. It is my belief that by taking priority in working with local charities and communities, not only are those in need supported, but also, people are able to experience a real, true, authentic world.
Even with Manira Palm closed, our mission is still our mission. What's more, it is a way of life.
Manira Palm promises to contribute to in some way to the 17 sustainable goals developed by the United Nations (for more info read here). More over, we made a promise to donate part of our profits each year to a charity that aligns with one of the 17 sustainable goals. This year would have been our first year, meaning our profits were due to go to a charity for goal number one:
As there has been an unusual twist to 2020, no business does not mean our promise to support no poverty should wait another year. This goal means more now than ever before. Sadly, due to the change in global circumstances, poverty is on the increase not the decrease...
So what exactly is it that I am planning to do...
I will be venturing on my merry way from Manchester to London... alone and by foot in order to raise money for two amazing charities. One in each of my hometowns.
Mustard Tree is a Manchester based charity dedicated to helping the homeless and those in poverty. I believe the work they do is magical because they not only prevent homelessness but also create opportunities for people in poverty to help break free from the vicious cycle.
Before the pandemic, Mustard Tree had a huge range of training available for vulnerable people, to help create work opportunities, new skills and generally improve mental health and well being.
Since the beginning of lockdown, Mustard Tree has seen a shift in their model to accomodate the increasing number of people in poverty now using their services. As the only charity left open in Manchester since March, Mustard Tree was dedicated to providing people with food and crisis provisions.
They went from helping 500 people each month to 1000 every single week...
& spent £15,000 on sleeping bags alone!
As featured on BBC, here is a short clip on how Mustard Tree have adapted during COVID-19.
Heading over the water, to my other hometown in Morocco...
Marrakech Artisan Fund is a charity that was purposefully set up in response to the global pandemic. Artisans are the life and soul of Marrakech, but with borders firmly closed and no tourists roaming the city, the Marrakechi streets, that were once full of life and colour, felt somewhat eery and lifeless (see short video here).
Morocco went into strict lockdown in mid-March, which wiped out the artisan market.
87% of work stopped in Morocco leaving an increasing number of families without money to put food on the table, pay rent or makes ends meet.
Things will remain uncertain for quite a while as the state of emergency has been extended through to October 10, 2020. So the local people, the amazing talent, the life and essence of Morocco need your help.
If the above was simply not enough reason as to why, here is a little bit more.
Before Manira Palm started, I had volunteered at some organisations that helped the homeless. When I travelled the world, I visited places in extreme poverty. During these times, I had the honour to meet and learn from many innocent people, in very difficult situations. Helping those in poverty is a cause already close to my heart.
Aside from raising money for two great charities, I have chosen to walk from Manchester to London with a sleeping bag and change of clothes for two main reason....
The first is, walking in such a nomadic way, will provide me with some understanding of what it is like to be without basic needs, even if it is just for a short time. Whilst I have worked with vulnerable people over the years, I still do not know what it is like to live in poverty.
I cannot quite comprehend the challenges people face without simple things, like warm clothes or a place to stay at night. Things I often take for granted. Even though 10 days isn't quite comparable to a life in poverty, it will at least put me in the shoes for a short time so I can begin to understand what it is like, even if only a little.
The second reason is, the walk in itself is a challenge. The distance is ambitious, the time it will take is too. If it wasn't I wouldn't raise any money and that is kind of the purpose right?
I'll let you into a little secret...
I was always going to start off in my hometown of Manchester but the original idea came with an end destination of Marrakech (haha I'm chuckling as I write this bit...)
Something you should know about me, I have a million and one ideas but don't always think of the logistics on how to make the idea a reality. So, my Dad wisely advised, for the first attempt walk a shorter distance. It is not often I would admit this, but yeah he was right and I think 370KM will still be a challenge.
If all goes smoothly... watch this space eh?
Generally, the response I get is: "You're doing what?!"
Yes, you heard right, I am walking to London. How hard can it be right?
The response which follows is often: "Well how are you preparing?"
If I am being completely honest, I can't say I have a strict training schedule. I'm eating LOADS, which I am enjoying and I'm just generally feeling alright about the whole thing. I do enjoy walking but I suppose I have never tried walking 40km a day for ten consecutive days before. Nor have I reached a 40km walk as part of my so called training... YET.
But it's one of them, I just feel it is all going to be okay.
Thankfully, one of my dear friends, Jade, is an avid hiker and she kindly advised on things I can do to prepare because I'm pretty clueless. At The Jadeite Project, Jade is dedicated to help people, like me and you celebrate what our mind and bodies can achieve. So, she rightly advised some steps I can take to achieve my goal. At first I started running as I thought it would help get my fitness up. But Jade advised why run before you can walk?
I am walking after all, so why waste my energy on running when I don't even enjoy it. Silly me. So, I have been walking a lot more. So far, in September, I have clocked up about 150km. Some short, some long, some uphill. A good mix really, as advised. And regardless of the length of my walk, which so far are ranging from 5km to 30km in any given day, I am keeping a fairly consistent pace. So, other than a few extra steps on top of my normal yoga routine and a whole lot of belief that I CAN DO THIS, my training doesn't consist of much else.
So there you have it, the reason behind it all. The what, the why and the how. The countdown has begun and on 17th October, I will take to the streets on my two little feet from here in Manchester all the way to London....
Follow my journey on the Manira Palm instagram
To donate, please visit www.manirapalm.com
All the love,