Walking from Florence to Rome While Visiting Scotland and Plotting…

by Julie, still waiting for winter in Somerville

Last year committed to walking from Florence to Rome in six months. Let me explain.

walking from Florence to Rome while visiting Scotland and Plotting

The Conqueror Challenges are virtual walking challenges. You decide what distance you want to walk and in how long. Then you download the app, connect your pedometer if you have one (or you can manually add the distances you walk), and you go. Along the way you can virtually visit where you’re walking. At certain intervals you get a “postcard” and update about the route. Upon completion, they send you a medal.

The St. Francis Way Virtual Challenge is 312.4 miles. Though I consider myself a walker, I work from home now and getting out daily to walk takes planning. That’s where audio books come in. In this new year I’ve been listening to the Hamish Macbeth series, which is set in Scotland. The series is one of my father’s favorites. Though I’ve read Agatha Raisin, I’d never read Hamish Macbeth and I’m enjoying the series very much. The beginning of the series are short novels that move along, which is wonderful for walks. The series is set in Scotland, which is one of my bucket list places to visit.

I will confess, that of late my mind has begun to wander, and I’ve started plotting a new book. There are just the seeds of an idea, but the accented voice of a narrator become the background to them taking root. Nothing is coming together yet, but the characters are showing up.

So that’s how I committed to walking from Florence to Rome while visiting Scotland in 2023. My gift to myself in this new year.

Readers, have any of your new year’s resolutions ended up with expected benefits, or joys?

24 Thoughts

  1. Sounds like a fun challenge! I wear a fitbit religiously, and love to walk. I’m wondering if the fitbit app has something like that, I’ll check it out.

  2. What a great way to “kill two birds with one stone” so to speak. I’ll have to check it out.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. I LOVE the Conqueror Challenges! In real life. My bucket goal is to do the West Highland Way in Scotland, but, u ti then, Conqueror Challenges have taken me climbing up Mt Kilimanaro, marathoning in Athens, trekking from Land’s End to John O’Groats, for a total of 18 completed walks from around the world. These walls have kept me sane and motivated to get up and go through the pandemic, a cancer diagnosis and treatment, and various other highs and lows. This month, I started their Appalacian Trail challenge. I plan to complete the nearly 2000 mile walk this year, learning about the places and spaces along the way. I think I might need new sneakers!

    1. Wow, I never heard of these challenges. I walk at least 10k steps/day. How fun to track it with some virtual outdoor miles! Julie, are you going to switch to books set in Florence or Rome next?

    2. WOW! My first walks were short (Berlin, Giza), but I did the Irish coast last fall and loved it. They do get you moving. Best of luck on the Appalachian Trail! In one year, wow. I was considering making that a 2 year challenge. I agree on the value of getting up and out, and love the medals.

      1. There is also a great free app called World Walking. They have routes all over the world. They don’t offer medals or postcards, but link to Google maps so you can follow your route and give descriptions of key places along the way. They link to fitbit and other apps to automatically apply your steps/mileage or you can add the distances in yourself. Did I mention that this one is Free!

  4. I used to trek “for real” in the Andes and loved to walk everywhere. Unfortunately, too many body parts don’t agree anymore. So I walk virtually through books. Not as much exercise, but I “see” so many wonderful places.

    Good for you, Julie. Best of luck along the way!

    1. Aren’t books a wonderful way to travel? I give Elizabeth Peters a lot of credit for my determination to go to Egypt, which I did several years ago. There are other places I’ll only go in books, but that works too.

  5. I can’t listen to an audiobook the entire time I’m out for a walk around here thanks to traffic on busy roads. But I definitely listen to them part of the time when I’m walking. Somedays, it gets me out to walk so I can slip in a few more minutes.

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