Michael Lee Johnson’s Walk Kanyakumari to London | Overcoming Challengeshttp://exploringindiaonfoot.tumblr.com/post/64139766565/michael-lee-johnsons-walk-kanyakumari-to-london
I had the privilege of being first host in India, During his brief stay of around a week in Mumbai, while he acclimatized himself, we hung out (http://goo.gl/J20IIN
) and talked about his impending journey. We were joined by (http://revivallife.wordpress.com
), an eminent psychotherapist and counsellor, to discuss challenges that Michael would face during his long 3+ years walk (http://goo.gl/TVe6fZ
). The discussion turned out to be pretty interesting and Dimple offered him some pertinent tips to manage the adventure.
Prior to and even during the hangout Michael had been constantly referring to the culture shock. So to overcome issues related to this “culture shock” Dimple had these few tips to offer.
Since he was going to travel through many different countries he was advised to read up on these countries and gather as much information about the people, their life style, food and travelling. Basically the idea was to get to be prepared as much as possible while recognizing the fact that any amount of preparation would never be enough.
She laid special emphasis on his travel plans viz:
- getting his directions right
- finalizing the route that he would need to take. Seeking help of locals in the selection of the route.
- Using the net to connect with people who would like to meet with him on his trip. Basically getting as familiar as he could about his walking directions
- knowing where to take his halts with special emphasis on gathering information about the terrain, the people, food place of stay, climate, legal aspects and the works
Being prepared with all the above would help eliminate the culture shock to a large extent.
Having addressed the culture shock aspect I was more keen that we delve into the psychological aspects of his entire excursion and issues which would be hitting him.
The single most important point that Dimple picked on was the physical pain that he would feel from walking endlessly while constantly carrying the heavy gear on his back and shoulders. She was of the opinion that culture shock and pain would really stress him out and the stress would aggravate the physical pain even further. Hence regularly relaxing the body and mind along with medication were of primary importance as it would help deal with the pain and stress.
She recommended “chanting” or solving mind puzzles while walking to take the mind away from the drudgery of the monotonous walk. These activities work wonders in taking the focus of the mind away from the body
Another very important consideration she had to offer was being very flexible with his route planning and duration of travel. Rather than focussing on the laborious walk, she recommended breaking the journey down into smaller and immediately achievable goals of 2-3 days. She also recommended rewarding himself on completing the small goals as a way of keeping the momentum going.
Another important aspect that she highlighted was to find something that would really comfort him, like food or talking to a friend.
Ever since Michael landed in Mumbai, Michael was immensely disturbed dealing with trolls on the internet. A lot of people following his journey were trying to discourage him. Each morning that he would wake up, there were a huge number of negative messages / posts berating and ridiculing him. Being an introvert, dealing with this issue was a tremendous effort for Michael as the chain of negative thoughts were doing more harm than good. Dimple suggested that he replace each negative thought with two positive ones while repeating them looking in a mirror, thereby building on his confidence.
I also offered my own opinion to keep the trolls away as undoubtedly they would be envious of his trip. Infact Michael agreed that for every 50-100 negative persons there were more than thousands who were very encouraging.
The hangout ended on a very good note and I dare say that Dimple Shah’s contributon was extremely useful. And I would thoroughly recommend her (being an extremely competent psychotherapy and relationship building professional) services to anyone. They dont get any better than her.
We wish Michael all the very best in his adventure walk. We would love to hear from you as a listener what other measures that Michael should take to minimize the challenges in this marathon journey of his. Leave your suggestions in the comments below.#exploringindiaonfoot #london #kanyakumari #walking #michaelleejohnson #psychotherapy #overcomingchallenges #dimpleshah #academictoppers #kashmir #china