Looking for a deeper connection to the world, Angela Maxwell set out to walk it alone. Seven years and 20,000 later, she brought that experience home.
Maxwell struggled to answer why she upended a perfectly good life in pursuit of ambition. However, for Maxwell, “why” is a question worth answering. At the end of the day, she undertook a journey that very few people attempt: in 2014, she decided to walk around the world.
A solo walk of this immensity wasn’t something Maxwell had planned. Actually, she left only seven months after having overheard a conversation in her workplace about a man who apparently walked around the world.
Maxwell’s journey did not bud from a place of defeat, personal crisis or loss. When she decided to undertake a long-distance walk, she was in her early 30s, was in a relationship and ran a successful business. “I believed I was happy,” she said, “but in retrospect, I realised that I was seeking for more… for a deeper connection with people and nature- by living on fewer resources and connecting with the world around me.”
Walking would reduce her carbon footprint; in addition, the slow pace meant that she could completely immerse herself in nature, get to know other cultures in a unique way, and meet people she would otherwise only drive past.
As she got ready, Maxwell found a whole different world of women explorers to encourage her. She fell in love with the slow travel style and writing of Robyn Davidson, who travelled Australia with camels. She learned about Rosie Swale-Pope, who traversed from Europe to Nepal, sailed through the Pacific Ocean, crossed Chile on horseback and, at age 60, began jogging around the world.