Language Barrier

Language barrier scuppers walker

A man who planned to walk from Bristol to India without any money has quit, after getting as far as Calais, France.

Mark Boyle, 28, who set out four weeks ago with only T-shirts, a bandage and sandals, hoped to rely on the kindness of strangers for food and lodging.

But, because he could not speak French, people thought he was free-loading or an asylum seeker.

He now plans to walk around the coast of Britain instead, learning French as he goes, so he can try again next year.

Mr Boyle, a former organic food company boss, belongs to the Freeconomy movement which wants to get rid of money altogether.

Cold and tired

In his online diary at the start of his journey to Porbander, Gandhi's birthplace, he said he was given two free dinners on his first evening away in Glastonbury.

Later, he was joined in Dover by two companions, and the three managed to get to Calais.

But in one of his last entries, he wrote: "...not only did no one not speak the language, they had also seen us as just a bunch of freeloading backpackers, which is the complete opposite of what the pilgrimage is really about.

"That really scared us and given that we now were pretty much out of food, hadn't slept in days and were really cold, we had to reassess the whole situation."

Mr Boyle said he could not explain in words the disappointment he felt at abandoning the journey and he apologised to his supporters.

But he added: "Whilst walking in the UK, I intend to learn French and to hit the continent again as soon as we feel we are ready."

Source: BBC News

Would you like to go on a long walk through different countries? Where would you go? What preparations would you need to make?

Spotlight on Vocabulary:
* if you rely on someone or something you need them in some sort of way
  • I rely on my husband for a lift to work. (without her, I would find it difficult to get to work)
  • I am relying on you to help me translate this report. (without you, I will have difficulties)
in another context, rely on conveys a meaning of trust
  • You can't rely on the weather in Scotland even in the summer. (it might rain)
  • Workmen can't be relied on to arrive on time. (they often arrive late)
the adjective is reliable
  • This car is very reliable. I've had it for 15 years and it hasn't broken down once.
  • She's a reliable student. She never cancels her classes.

Who/what do you rely on? What do you rely on them/it for?


Montse said…
Hi, Graham. I've read this article. Sometimes I can't understand why people do this strange things. I cant understand If you want to complaint about an unfair situation and you want that the rest of the world know about it, by if someone wants to travell from London to Tokyo by bicycle...I think they are a litle cheeky.

See you on Tuesday.
Graham said…
Hi Montse,

Sorry for taking so long to reply - I think it's a record.

I don't have a problem with people setting out on an adventure but when they are in danger, they expect their government to do whatever it takes to save them from their predicament.

I think the British are more adventurous than the Spanish. Young people are not afraid to go out on their own and explore the world.

I cant understand if you want to complain about an unfair situation and you want the rest of the world to know about it, by if someone wants to travel from London to Tokyo by bicycle...I think they are a little cheeky.

Cheeky is like impudent. Is that what you mean?