Last month Eton’s Shackleton Society was honoured to welcome explorer Charlie Walker. An incredible adventurer, Charlie spoke about his four year trip around Eurasia and Africa by bike, foot, and horseback, spanning 43,000 miles.
Back in 2010, as a 22-year-old “naïve, and with a lot to learn”, Charlie set out on the challenge of travelling to the extreme points of Europe, Asia, and Africa by bicycle. He planned to reach the most northern, eastern, southern, and western points he could same mass of land. It was “easy to be swept away by the romanticism of the journey” but the realisation of what he was aiming for came suddenly. Camping most nights, everywhere from an English pub garden at the start of the trip to the roasting climates of Mongolian yurts and artic temperatures in the Tibetan winter at the end, Charlie says the experience was “never easy, being alone without friends or family.”
The talk had it all, from sneaking through Chinese military checkpoints after illegally entering Tibet, to “looking admittedly quite biblical” as he cycled through Africa with long hair and beard, when he was often met by cries of “Jesus, Jesus!”.
Since his trip, in which he cycled the equivalent of two laps of the world, Charlie has kayaked and hiked around Papua New Guinea, summitted an unclimbed mountain in Kyrgyzstan, and completed an 8,000 km triathlon.
We were very grateful to Charlie for coming to share his incredible journey, which hopefully inspired members of the Eton community to plan their own adventures. You can read lots more about this particular trip in his two books, available on his website: https://www.cwexplore.com/shop.html