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March 4, 2008

Mark Boyle: Trip to walk from Britain to India fails

When I first read about Mark Boyle’s quest to walk 9000 miles from Britain to India — without money — I was impressed at his boldness and confidence in humanity. The plan was to walk 15-45 miles a day offering his skills in return for food and accommodation, all in aim of going back to communal living. Starting off with two friends in Bristol, they began with no problems as several people offered them meals and lodging. When they reached France, mainly because they don’t speak French, they were misunderstood to be a bunch of freeloading backpackers. Out of food, cold, and severely sleep deprived, they decided to go back home. Shows how important it is to be able to communicate effectively — your life may depend on it!

Boyle is a strong believer in the Freeconomy Movement that wants to rid the world of money all together. The idea is beautiful as it works towards promoting unconditional kindness within a community as you mutually receive and give help, either between yourselves or you “pay-it-forward” (yes, like the movie!).

It’s definitely an extreme idea, one that I don’t see happening on a large scale, but the difference it can make on a small-scale is worth every effort put into promoting the movement. According to the BBC, the Freeconomy Movement currently has 3000 members over 54 countries.

Trust when traveling is one thing, but depending on trustworthy people to sustain yourself is another. Three people expecting to get by for 2 1/2 years as they walk across several countries, solely on the hope that people will help them throughout their trip is a deep dip in faith, idealism at its core.

I’m an idealist. I respect Boyle’s plan and salute his courage and belief in this mission. Radical movements are not often successful, but they make enough noise to create a stir — in this case, whatever gets stirred will be well worth it on every count.

I was happy to hear that he has not given up: he is currently walking in the south-east of England. As he tours around the UK, he will learn French and set out again. You can read more about him and his ideas on his blog.

Hopefully he should get enough press by then that should get the word out, open people’s minds to the idea, ultimately helping him on his quest. If he pulls this off, it will be a magnificent step towards promoting peace and relationships between people across the world that surpasses all demographic and geographic barriers.

Good luck, Boyle!

Posted by | Comments (17) 
Category: General

17 Responses to “Mark Boyle: Trip to walk from Britain to India fails”

  1. John Says:

    There is something really odd about this story. If they gave up because they could not communicate in French, what on earth were they thinking. Is the plan to learn the language of each country?

  2. brian Says:

    Sounds like they’re already defeated in their overall aim. If the press generated by the story is what allows them to survive France, that is not the message they set out to spread.

  3. Jeff Says:

    What a nutter. He’s a few miles into France and already can’t make himself understood – what did he expect further down the road? Perhaps he should have crossed into Belgium. And who would attempt anything like this without knowing any other languages – I speak 6 and still feel I need to know more to get the most out of travel – let alone get a message of brotherly sharing across!

    He also noted that he won’t be applying for any visas or paying border fees but will just stroll up to the borders. That means that even if he does learn French, he’ll get stuck and laughed away at the Turkish or Iranian borders.

  4. Tom Says:

    What a loser. Oh, is that too judgmental? Isn’t everything relative? No, it isn’t.

    This is just another type of self-involved nonsense. It’s all about him, just dressed up as something else.

    He’d be better off to get a job and use the money to help some of the planet’s truly desperate poor.

  5. Abha Says:

    Hmmm. I suppose I got a bit carried away with his plan, that in turn seems not planned-out well at all.

    I still think the idea has merit, but yes, not being able to speak French is a bad reason to turn back.

    I guess we’ll have to see if he gets back on track somehow and starts all over again.

  6. Kurt Says:

    Idiot. The irony is depending on the kindness of strangers and having to give up in France.

    The real tragedy is that he is yet another fool who is making idealism synonymous with being naive and ignorant.

  7. Bill Chapman Says:

    This spectacular failure has a linguistic dimension. He really ought to have learned Esperanto. There is a network of Esperanto speakers willing to help travellers. It works. I know because I’ve used it. Further information is available on

  8. Nick Says:

    That or it’s a very bad reflection on the character of the people in northern France!

  9. ed Says:

    I expect around August he’ll be announcing he’s given up 20 km into Italy because they can’t understand him. Maybe in December we’ll get to hear how things fare after he stows away in the ferry to Greece and can’t turn around but can’t be understood, either.

    Perhaps he should have begged a phrasebook instead.

  10. Antonio Martinez Says:


    My name is Antonio and i live in mexico city.Sorry about my english.
    The motive of this letter is to try to get in contact whit Mark Boyle.I´m interesting in his life whit out money,
    ´cos i have a dream of this world,and in my dream we don´t have to use money.
    The money is the seekness of this world.The economy was maded,be cos we think the world will gave us everiting we need.
    But that is a lie,we don´t have enymore watter,we don´t have wood,ore food,and it´s a shame for me see people dyíng for the money.
    It´s a shame how we kill this world just for a few coin´s,or power.
    So…….i like to know how is he goi´ng whitout money,and ask him if he know´s some people who think or fell
    the same way about this
    Thank you.

  11. Eta Says:

    I am proud with Him because he did something different to show what the life value for Him and he tried to change this world start from his self.its Great lesson we shold adopt to help Us make a better life.

  12. Nerv03 Says:

    I don’t see how this is a good idea at all. I get the off the grid thing, eating food that you have grown, being vegan, I like the idea of self reliance and even the idea of not using money or feeding it into a system that is truly turning out to be evil. but relying on others defeats the whole point, he still is using money and materials from the society he doesnt like he is just relying on other people’s work and other people’s money. he really is just a really interesting glorified freeloading bum which is not that revolutionary there are lots of interesting bums in the world.

  13. d noone Says:

    too hippy and what does he really know about Gandhi who supported Hitler. You hippies have a liberal fantasy of Gandhi created by the media and the assumption with you is traditional Western culture is always evil.

    No theory of money is complete without mentioning Jews who subverted the invention. It is not money itself which is evil but the jewing of it, but you being hippies you can never face up to human inequality.

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