It was late April 2015 when Leon and I first discussed the potential of this journey, and all of a sudden we're just a few days away from taking that first step of a 1000 mile walk.
Gear is strewn across the bedroom floor. I'm remembering just why I swapped a career in web design for a life of adventure over a decade ago. It's barely the afternoon but I'm onto my fifth coffee. Everything is in place, almost. Just a little rest, and then...
This journey feels different. I'm about to venture into a region I'm wholly unfamiliar with and this is a great deal of the reason that I'm excited. The power of sharing a new perspective - one that douses stigma and raises awareness - is unrivalled. The only Middle East that I know is the one I've seen on the news, and of short adventure films. The focus of these differing mediums is enormous and finally I have a chance to separate the war and fear-focused headlines from the truth on the ground.
My approach to new adventures has been to diligently avoid too much googling, image searches or even reading of books about the locations I'm heading to. I thrive on experiencing the world first hand, my way, and then sharing what my eyes and mind make of the people and places.
The Middle East is possibly the most misunderstood region on our planet - at least this is the strongest expectation I carry right now - and I hope both that this hunch is true, and that Leon and I can go just a small way towards shedding some new light for anyone who cares to follow this journey on foot.
First though, before offering a new version of reality for others, I need to taste it myself. I can't wait.