Press release interview
This is a press release interview I did for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity to drum up a bit of interest. Thank you to Jonathan who is the PR Executive at the charity who carried out the interview
Northampton man leaves wife for 6 months to trek through 14 American States
When most of us wake up and decide we’re finally going to do what we’ve always dreamed of doing, how many of us follow it through and actually do it?
Alex, 27, who lives near Milton Keynes in Northamptonshire, is doing just that. “I’ve always wanted to have some sort of big adventure,” Alex says. “I just didn’t know what it would be”.
Alex’s dream all started when he was bought a book by his parents called ‘The Last American Man’ which was about a man called Eustace Conway who left his family home, aged 17, to go and live in the Appalachian Mountains surviving by making camp fires and killing and eating all his food.
Although Alex isn’t going to that extreme, he has decided to trek through the Appalachian Mountains, armed only with a tent on an adventure that will see him hike 2,184 miles through 14 American states, most of which will be what is known as the ‘Green Tunnel’ – a huge forest land with no towns or human life in sight.
“I had been thinking about the trek for a couple of years and then one year I woke up and decided I had to do it,” Alex describes. “I went in to work that day to ask if I could have six months unpaid leave and my employer, John Lewis, were very kind and said yes!”
Alex, who has been with his wife, Jeni, for ten and a half years, will be away from the home for six months. “I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer and Jeni has always been very supportive of me,” Alex explains. “Now it’s becoming a reality, she is a bit more nervous. We’ve never really been apart for more than 1-2 weeks so six months is a really long time, but friends have rallied around and been very supportive. They’ve offered to have her round for dinner and go out and do things”.
Alex will spend 4-5 days at a time in the wilderness, about as long as he can carry food for, living on his own and camping in his tent. He will then head into towns to re-stock on food and contact home. In preparation Alex has been hiking most weekends and also took on 90 miles of Hadrian’s Wall: “Hadrian’s Wall was good practice as I was carrying the same weight I will be on my trek. However it is rather flat, so the 400 or so mountains in the Appalachian Trail will be something new.” Alex says.
When asked if he was worried about being on his own for six months, Alex sounds quite confident: “I’m one of those people who doesn’t really think about things until I am actually doing it. People have told me that at one point I will hit a pain barrier, so I am not looking forward to that, but then it will be a challenge to get through it and it’s the challenge that excites me. Although I will set out on my own I expect I will meet up with like-minded hikers taking on the same trek.”
Alex’s challenge is raising money for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity; a national charity offering tailored support to families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness. Alex says: “I felt I was doing the challenge for very selfish reasons, mainly because it was my own personal challenge, so I thought it would be good if other people could benefit as well. I want to support Rainbow Trust as they are a great charity and the fact they support the whole family through what I can only imagine is a terrible time, makes them unique.”