Each week during their journey Leon will record a video blog from the field, answering a question posed to them by one of the school's following #walkthemasar.
We'll also be challenging schools around the world as we move around the Middle East.
We invite you to submit regular questions but if yours isn't selected don't worry! There will be a growing FAQs section on this page as time goes on...
There's no need to register with us (we won't have much computer time to get back to emails), just send us a question and we'll get answering as soon as we can.
Questions from Parkside Middle School in Wautoma, Wisconsin
- What gear and food did you pack for this journey?
- What time do you start walking and how long do you walk for each day?
- How many miles do you walk for each day?
- Did you learn the language before you started, and if not how do you communicate?
Question from Laura Donovan Elementary School, New Jersey, USA
- Have you seen anything beautiful recently?
Questions from Alanwar School, Ottawa, Esher Church School & ICS - International Community School
- Where do you get your water from?
- Where do you sleep?
- How many different currencies do you need on this journey?
- Are you worried about getting lost? How do you navigate?
- Have you felt afraid...or seen any evidence of war?
- Why do you do these sorts of trips?
- What do you wish will happen during your journey?
- Were you ''yay! we are going on a long journey!'' or ''Uh... I am a bit nervous about this...'' before you began''?
Questions from the Duke of Kent School, Surrey, UK
- What is your motivation for doing this trip?
- Do you train before you started walking in the Middle East?
Questions from St Michael's Catholic School in Wellington, Canada
- Are you trying new foods on your journey?
- Are you worries you might catch a disease on your trip?
FAQs (these are update regularly, so keep your questions coming!)
Parkside Middle School, Wisconsin
What gear did you pack for this journey?
There's a good list of our kit (including pictures!) on this blog post. Enjoy!
How heavy are your backpacks?
It varies - at their heaviest they have been about 25kg (55lbs.) That's not crazily heavy, but it's still quite a lot - nearly a third of our body weight. A lot of the weight is camera and communications gear. Without that, the packs would be significantly lighter.
Grade 5/6 class, St. Michael Catholic School, Wellington, Canada
How will carry all your food during your journey along the Masar?
For the most part, we won't carry much food at all. In most parts of the world (except the most remote of deserts) there will be usually be some sort of village or homestead every couple of days. The majority of our journey will see us passing through at least one town a day, so we'll just carry snacks and eat bigger meals at the start and end of each day. For the few longer stretches, we'll buy lightweight, calorific food - dried meat, biscuits, noodles etc.
What made you think of doing this and why do you care that students are involved?
Both of us love going to new places, and we love storytelling. The best type of story is often the one that everyone can relate to in some way. In this part of the world we wanted to show that even though it's deeply misunderstood at times, the region is full of 'normal', wonderful, caring and generous people. We feel that showing that is important to help foster a global understanding that the majority of people in the world are good. Now more than ever, it's really crucial to understand that. And that's where students come in - the students following our trip (you!) are the future of this planet - you are the next generation of lawmakers and leaders; hopers and dreamers and doers! The more we can see and understand of the world and how it works at a young age, the better.
Peculiar Elementary School, Missouri, USA
Can you share with us what local clothing looks like?
We could, but unfortunately I doubt it would be very interesting for you as most local clothing is the same! When we reach the deserts the clothing will change somewhat, but for the most part in the towns, villages and countryside people dress in a 'Western' style. Culturally, however, there are a few differences. We are passing through Islamic regions and women will often cover their hair (with a hijab or similar.) It's not usually appropriate for anyone (including men) to have bare legs. In the Palestinian territories and Jordan, men often cover their head with a keffiyeh.
What do classrooms look like?
This varies a lot depending on the type of school. From what we've seen so far an elementary school classroom has a large blackboard at the front and then rows of desks filling up the rest of the space. The walls will often be filled with work from the students. There are sometimes windows on one side of the classroom too - we know this because quite often we'll be walking in a road through a small town and when we pass a school the children see us out the window and shout, "Hello! Welcome! What is your name!"
What games do children play for fun?
The boys love to play football (soccer!) We're not sure what the girls like to do especially yet, but we'll find out and tell you!
Duke of Kent School
Will and Guy - What is the native food like? Is temperature a problem and if so how do you overcome that?
The local food is great - very similar to a Mediterranean cuisine. There is a lot of hummus and felafel. Olives grow well in the region so there's a lot of olive-based food too. Evening meals often consist of chicken and rice, sometimes in the form of Maqluba. Finally, bread is served with everything!
So far, temperature hasn't been a problem. At night it drops to just about freezing (so we wrap up warm.) Further on in the trip, in the deserts, it'll get quite hot, so we need to keep well-hydrated, seek shade where possible, not over-exert ourselves and try to be sensible!
Sacha and Archie - Have you encountered any dangerous or unusual animals?
We've seen quite a lot of wildlife. Two of the more unusual: At night we will often hear the howling of wild jackals (which are similar to wolves.) We saw some during the day once as well, which is rare. We've also seen little mammals called hyraxes - they're often mistaken for rodents, but (bizarrely) are actually more closely related to elephants! We haven't seen anything very dangerous - most animals are more scared of humans than the other way round!
Harry, Felix, George and Fergus - Do you have any plans to celebrate Christmas whilst your there?
Our Christmas plans changed at the last minute - see our blog post here!
Connor - How much water do you have to carry a day?
It varies depending on how far we're walking/how regularly we'll see other people. On a normal day we carry 2-4 litres. At most, we'll carry a couple of days worth of water - around 7 litres.
Laura Donovan Elementary School, New Jersey
Justin Andrejewski - How much do you want to quit everyday? If so what keeps you going.
So far - not much, thankfully! Journeys like this can be very hard physically and mentally, and when things get hard it's a very natural human reaction to want to quit. We have to remind ourselves how lucky we are to have this opportunity, and also to think of the reward that lies at the end of this - if we complete the walk, we're able to share all the wonderful stories we find with other people around the world. That's very fulfilling, and very motivating.
Elizabeth Paderon - 1. Why did you pick this specific route to walk on? 2. Have you ever gotten into a dangerous interaction with anything during the walk so far?
1. The route itself isn't that important - we just wanted an excuse to explore this part of the world, and the route we choose connected up various trails in the region.
2. Thankfully no, not really! The biggest danger on most adventures like this is usually traffic and bad driving! So far we haven't had any problems with people or animals or landscapes. There have been a few steep drops off the canyons that we've had to edge around, but so far, so safe!