Robert har vært på besøk hos oss i Cluben et par ganger tidligere. Først fortalte han om den gang han padlet Norge på langs, neste gang om planene han hadde om å gå hele den kinesiske mur på langs (eller murene, som er mer korrekt). Nå har han vært underveis i snart halvannet år og han går fra vest mot øst. For et par uker siden fikk han ødelagt foten, og fordi han nå befinner seg ikke så lang fra Beijing, var han innom et sykehus for å se på skadene. Han har fått noen brister i foten og vevskader og han fikk beskjed om å vente noen uker med å gå videre, og selv om Robert synes han har dårlig tid velger han å følge legens råd, ellers kan han risikere å gå skaden så stor at han ikke kan gjennomføre. Trampredaksjonen har hatt kontakt med ham underveis og han har lovet å komme en tur og fortelle om sine opplevelser når han er tilbake i Norge.
For de som har lyst til å følge han på den siste del av turen, er hans webside adresse: http://www.thegreatwallker.com
(Artikkel sakset fra avisen: “Beijing Today”):
Norwegian close to accomplishing dream of walking length of the Great Wall
A 42-year-old Norwegian computer engineer quit his lucrative job, sold his house in Oslo and spent his life’s savings to follow a dream: to walk the entire length of the 6,000-kilometer Great Wall. After 14 months and 4,200 kilometers, Robert Loken has reached Beijing. He tells Beijing Today of an adventure that includes braving the scorching summer and frigid winter, battling scorpions and snakes, and enduring the pain of cuts and blisters.
A 20-year-old dream
Robert Loken first learned of the Great Wall at 19. It was 1987, and he was visiting Hadrian’s Wall in northern England, when he chanced upon photos of the Great Wall in a youth hostel. “Beside the pictures were the words, ‘The Other Wall.’ That was what sparked my dream,” Loken said.
But making that dream a reality would take another two decades. “At my parents’ New Year’s dinner in 2007, I casually mentioned that I was considering walking the entire length of the Great Wall. My parents froze,” Loken said.
“By being open about it, I hoped they would not think I was absolutely, raving mad,” he said. The long wait also worked in his favor among family and friends, “since they knew I had spent a considerable amount of time making the decision.”
Walk for cancer research
Loken spent nearly two years preparing his mind and body for the grueling trek. In April 2009, he took the starting line at the Wall’s western end, in Jiayuguan, Gansu province. At that point, his mission had taken on greater significance: it would also be a walk to raise money for cancer research worldwide.
“I had contacted an international cancer foundation through friends, and the plan involves people donating money to the charity when I complete my walk. Hopefully the effort will result in more advanced treatments.”
Loken lost an uncle to cancer in 1998, and some friends and relatives are currently battling the disease.
“Your time is limited, so do not waste it living someone else’s life.” Loken has posted this adage from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs on his blog thegreatwallker.com, which documents his expedition.
“This is the way I communicate where I am — and how the day has been — with my closest family and friends,” he said. “If you go to the ‘route’ page, you can see exactly where I am at any time.”