An adventure in walking throughout 2020
Hello. I’m Richard, CEO and founder of always possible; a dad; an OK vegetarian cook; a rubbish gardener; and a man who has neglected the transformative pleasure of walking. These Possibility Walks blog posts will document a year of changing that – ambling, rambling, strolling and endurance hiking.
Walks will be varied and of all shapes and sizes. On the way, I’ll be chatting to guests and friends about the things we find and what we think about business, education, culture and place-making in the 21st century. I’m looking to improve my health and to learn new things, laugh a lot and meet new people.
I’d love for you to join me.
Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.
Secret industry and beach huts in the dark.
// West Thurrock, Essex.
Monday, January 6th 2020.
I have meetings this morning at Essex Record Office and then at a new circus school, built on an industrial estate in Chelmsford. My imagination is always fired up by industrial estates, partly because I live near some big ones and walk through them so often, but also because these vast, bland, uninviting spaces contain so many treasures. The psychogeographer in me gets smitten by the lure of the stories that might lurk behind each corrugated door. And the higgledy nature of incidental bedfellows – a mechanics next to a bakery next to a virtual reality lab next to a double-glazer next to a circus. You have to really look before you can see.
On my way back from Essex to Sussex, I ditch the M25 just before the Dartford Bridge and park up at Lakeside Shopping Centre. I have never been here before, but as a child it was comparable with Disneyland as an out-of-reach myth; a temple to the gods of commerce and capitalism (therefore to be wary of, says my firebrand socialist mother). But parking my Astra here as an adult, the whole place looks a bit tired, but still fighting for an identity. It could be anywhere, but it knows people worship here.
So, I avoid the shops and head into the heart of the concrete wonderland of West Thurrock industrial estate. It is vast, and wet on this drizzly January day, the sun is setting fast. I have no plan of what I want to see, but just keep walking through timber yards and logistics depots, past heavily-branded fleets of lorries. And then a Pentagon-style green building, all barbed wire, security patrols, digital sensors and CCTV – no clues at all as to what’s inside. It goes on and on.
I couldn’t imagine working in this environment – so close to the Thames, yet so little colour or natural flora. Out of a bit of scrub, however, a bright pink flower asserts itself.
// Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex.
Tuesday, January 7th 2020.
Another rainy short walk after dark. The rough sea has a very different quality when you can’t quite see it. I vary the landscape from beachfront – and the joggers with headlamps – to the suburban wilds of Goring, a network of residential streets at the western edge of Worthing.
The houses are big here, and quite old, but it is clear that the demographics is changing. Even the odd Vote Labour poster, hungover from the pre-Christmas election, a sign that this once true blue area is diversifying.
I listen to some podcasts – on politics and business – not really thinking about anything other than the street in front of me and the diverting burble in my ear.
The aim is to walk, talk and explore in different parts of the UK throughout 2020. There will be short jaunts and long treks.
If you’d like to join a Possibility Walk in 2020, get in touch at email@example.com