From Greenwich to Santiago


On Tuesday 25th June, 2013, Sila Sobrado will leave her London home to embark on an 11 week, (76 days in total), 1977km walking expedition, and needs all you Doers to pledge your DoAction support!

From her doorstep in Greenwich to the foothills of Northern Spain, Sila’s only ‘public transport’ will be a ferry, crossing the Channel from Dover to Calais. With less than a week to go, The DoNation crew invited Sila for a sit-down, (and smoothie), at DoNation HQ, to chat all things long distance walking, and ask how she’s gearing up for her incredible journey.

So Sila, tell us what you’re doing and why?

“I’m doing a long distance walk from my current flat in Greenwich to Santiago de Compostela in Northwest Spain. I’m doing it because I’m moving back home (to Santiago), and I thought why not take my time getting there, and literally ‘live’ the distance behind me.”

What made you want to do it for The DoNation?

“Through volunteering with the Samaritans, I met someone who told me about The DoNation and I thought it was a brilliant idea. A lot of my friends are students or graduates and they don’t really have that much money, but with something like The DoNation they can support me by making pledges.”

What have people been pledging so far?

“My friend who’s a tailor has taken on the Passion fashion DoAction, and has pledged to make a curtain out of recycled fabric which I’m sure is going to be beautiful! I’ve also got a friend who works as an usher at the National Opera House, and instead of using the lift to take her up to the top of the theatre, she’s pledged to use the stairs and walk!”

Do you have a target for the amount of pledges?

“My target is to get 76 pledges from 76 different people, because that’s the number of days I’m going to be walking.”

Will you have anyone joining you on your journey?

“My boyfriend will be with me for four days, and I have a few friends who will be walking with me on one or two days. But I want to use the time as a chance to reflect, and to mentally ready myself for being back in Spain.”

What do you think the biggest challenge of the walk will be?

“The lack of comfort, not being sure where I’m going to be sleeping each night, and not having any stuff with me. There’ll be a lot of days where I will just be by myself and that might be hard too.”

What training have you been doing?

“I was aiming to walk to work a few times each week (from Greenwich to central London), but I just haven’t had time! Organising the challenge has almost become a part-time job. I have been getting off the train one-stop early though, and using the stairs instead of the lift whenever I can. I’m hoping all these little things will help and I’m determined I will make it to the end.”

Are you worried about the physical element?

“I’m actually hoping it won’t be too bad! I’m going to be doing an average of 27km a day which will take me roughly six hours. Walking is all I’m going to be doing, so six hours doesn’t feel like that much, and I’m going to keep it steady. The most important thing is I listen to my body, feed myself, and hopefully don’t get injured.”

What will be your motivation to keep going on the really hard days?

“One thing that I think will help me is the people who’ve pledged their support, and hopefully having more people pledging throughout my journey. Knowing people are supporting you just feels like constant cheering and it’s a great feeling. I remember the first person pledging a DoAction for me, and I thought, ‘wow, now I really have to do this!’

Will you be pledging your own DoActions during the 11 weeks on the road?

“I’m definitely going be eating local foods which will hopefully be seasonal and sustainable! And I’ll be going to the market whenever I can. One thing I can’t live without is my showers, but I will try and keep them shorter.”

If you were pledging a DoAction to support someone else in a challenge, what pledge would you make?

“It would have to be Shower power. I tend to drift away in the shower and can stay under there for ages if I don’t make myself turn off the tap! But in Spain I’m going to try and go to the beach and take a bath in the sea!”

Sila Sobrado Follow Sila’s journey on Twitter ‘walkwithsila’, and Facebook ‘Walk with Sila’, to see how she’s progressing.

She still needs you Doers to get supporting, so if you were gripped by her story, and want to be one of those ‘cheering her on’, please make your pledge by clicking here.

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