We had both known a prisoner of war from WWII who had been forced to build the Thai-Burma Railway. My brother had made a documentary about this guy, Stan, a few years before. We decided to follow the route of his working party. Stan was part of the F Force who were forced to march a 300km+ route from Ban Pong to the Burma border where they then commenced work on the railway. We followed, as closely as possible, this route from Ban Pong to Sangkhla Buri.
We had planned on camping along the way. On our first night a local family took us in and allowed us to sleep in their house. They then suggested that for the remainder of the trip we sleep in the local wats (Buddhist Temples).This became our daily task, to find the local wat as we walked and ask to stay. It was incredible. We slept in an array of different temples and got a unique insight into the life of monks. The locals were exceptionally helpful and friendly. We constantly had people offering us lifts (we declined as the whole point was to walk!), give us food, invite us to stay. Experiencing the hospitality and kindness of the Thai people was a definite highlight.
I had always wanted to do something that was unique, out there, crazy, different, difficult, testing, challenging. I wanted to know that I had done something with my life that had pushed me past all my boundaries, comfort zones and limits. I love to travel, I love to walk and I love other cultures. When my brother and I came up with the idea of the Death Railway Expedition it made so much sense. We were going to walk in memory of others. So not only was it going to be physically testing but there was meaning behind it all. It gave us the inspiration to keep walking in the difficult times.
The adventure impacted my life in a few ways.
- I discovered I had it in me. That is, I could plan, take on and complete a difficult challenge.
- I discovered the importance of family. I spent the expedition with my brother (testing at times) and I spent the time away from my new husband of only five weeks at the time (testing every day).
- I wrote a book. I’d always wanted to do that and the expedition gave me the fuel and motivation to do that.
To make a trip like this happen sounds cliche but it’s true: I decided to do it. Once I’d decided that I was going to do something I chose what that ‘something’ would be. Then I chose a date. Then I booked flights. Once I’d booked flights it was definitely ‘on’ and all the planning got really exciting!
Completing an expedition you plan yourself is doable. Having an adventure isn’t hard. You just have to do it. I wish I’d known that years ago…
My new book, Grand Adventures, is out now.
It’s designed to help you dream big, plan quick, then go explore.
The book contains interviews and expertise from around 100 adventurers, plus masses of great photos to get you excited.
I would be extremely grateful if you bought a copy here today!
Thank you so much!