1. You will move slowly. This gives time to appreciate the world around you; to feel how a country, a culture and a landscape changes and develops beneath your feet.
2. It will often be miserable. This is good! Adventures are all about misery - enduring and then retrospectively enjoying. No-one wants to go off and have a lovely time all the time, right? Misery is brilliant. Walking provides it in bucketloads.
3. You are at your most vulnerable. This, too, is mostly a good thing - it will encourage people much more inclined to be kind and hospitable towards you, and will immediately break down many of the barriers of the 'rich foreigner' should you be travelling far from home.
4. You can carry everything you need on your back. The old 'tortoise effect' - your life upon your shoulders. With no more than a 15-20kg load you can carry a tent, sleeping bag, gas stove, spare clothes (even for cold weather) and all the expedition knick-knacks we tend to accumulate (notebooks, compass, penknife, map, whisky etc.) There's something deeply gratifying about being so self-sufficient. For remote journeys you can try pulling a large cart filled with worldly possessions and food/water supplies (just try making a better one that Al and I did in the Empty Quarter...)
5. You can get to places impossible to reach by any other method of transport. I'm not just talking about plane or trains or automobiles here; even my all-time favourite, the bicycle, has limitations. On foot you can scramble up a hill, over a hedge, swim across a river (maybe), through a shopping mall, into a sewer...the possibilities are endless!
It seems only fair that I also include:
5 Reasons not to bother:
1 - You will move slowly. So bloody slowly: you'll want to pour boiling oil down your trousers just for some excitement in life. You might try to run, but will instantly regret it for the next few days. It's so awfully, horribly, painfully slow.
2. It's utterly miserable a lot of the time. Truly, deeply miserable. And painful - a painful and unpleasant nightmare. Blisters and backache and raw hips and stiff shoulders and pure exhaustion on a good day.
3. You're vulnerable. There's no quick escape, and you'll probably freak yourself out regularly at the lack of 'get-out' options available. Often you're terrifying alone and at the mercy of the world...
4. EVERYTHING HAS TO GO ON YOUR BACK! It's just horrible. You get used to it to a degree, but it's always going to be heavy and hurt you. Trailers are slightly better, but annoyingly cumbersome....
5. You can get to places impossible to reach by other methods of transport...but you'll probably be too knackered and depressed to even bother.
Over the last 2 years I've walked 4000 miles on two separate journeys. The 4 part TV National Geographic TV series 'Walking Home From Mongolia' is out now on DVD, and a feature film of my journey 'Into The Empty Quarter' is available now as an HD Digital download and also on DVD. Both trips were at times very unpleasant, but I'd do either again in an instant...