1. Find a place you are interested in
I am fascinated by Italy's history. Who doesn't love a good Roman?! I mean, apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system and public health, what have they ever done for us? Also, Italy has produced some of my favourite people and artwork (Caravaggio being the main one. Yes, he killed some bloke but have you seen his amazingly dark and brooding St John the Baptist or his Love Conquers All?!). You also have some pretty good ruins, such as Pompeii or the Colosseum.
So we have our place for adventure = Italy.
2. Choose an activity that you don't have very much experience in
This is not me being modest. I'm genuinely not sporty. I was not one of those active kids who was always at football practise or taking up hockey or horse-riding. I was the sit-on-one's-bum-and-read type of person. I still am but, for some reason, I have been mulling over doing this route for a while and, since I've been a runner for the ridiculously short time of 15 months and ten days, I feel I am definitely in a position to contemplate a running adventure.
So we have our activity = running.
3. Find a motivation for the adventure
I always find a glimmer of hope somewhere in the back of my mind when I am at the end of a run. If it has been a long run, I know it's okay because when I get to where I'm going, I can shower and turn back into a human being. I can turn the kettle on, read, sit down. My legs find a bit more spark as I get nearer to home because it's not far now, no need to keep pushing, just cruise on back.
So now I have my motivating factor to keep my legs going on this momentous journey = make home the end destination for the run.
4. See if there is anything that will make the adventure more do-able
It just so happens that there is a route called the Via Francigena that pilgrims used to follow from Canterbury cathedral to St. Peter's in Rome. Perfect! It seems that, of those who use the route each year, there are barely one or two who do it in reverse, from Rome to Canterbury, so this may add some difficulties. However, a man called Brian Mooney walked it both ways and wrote a book about each - hoorah!
So I have my route = the Via Francigena.
5. Get scared, do nothing
Once you have planned to run home from Rome using the Via Francigena, now is the time to stop and do nothing about it because, really? Who do you think you're kidding? Now's the time to play it down and mumble to people that you'll 'probably do it in a year or two, need to save enough money, get the time off work' etc etc.
6. Read the #Lifechanger book
Everyone's talking about this book. You download it and read about people who changed their lives in 2015. The overriding message is that none of them really felt 'ready' for their adventures but they did them anyway. "Wait a minute!" you think. "I definitely don't feel ready for the adventure I have thought up, therefore I must be ready!" I think that follows, right?
7. Start thinking about your adventure again, get excited
'It's time to get this show on the road,' you think. 'I'm going to do this. I'm going to bloody do this! I'm going to run home from Rome!' In your excitement, tell people about it and end up in an article about adventurers. Now you kind of have to do it.
8. Sort out the logistics
Can you take the time off work or will you need to leave your job? I spoke to work, who seem open to the idea of my taking two months off then returning. In order to make it easier, the plan is set for late October (my work schedule runs on one timeframe from April to October and another from November to March).
So we're sorted = work has given the thumbs-up.
Also under 'sort out the logistics' is more detailed route planning, using unrealistic mileage goals for each day (I'm aiming for 23 miles ish), unrealistic trip costing (I can do the whole thing for a fiver, right?) and little allowance for things going wrong (I will not fall down and hurt myself and need to rest! It is simply not allowed!).
9. Read all the things
Given that I am a sit-down-and-read type of girl, I am more than happy to read and pretend it has a greater meaning.... Research! The ultimate in reading indulgence! My reading list so far is:
Brian Mooney - (1) A Long Way For A Pizza (2) The Wrong Way For A Pizza
Paul Rambali - Barefoot Runner
Cicerone guides to the Via Francigena
Travis Macy - The Ultra Mindset
Eat and Run - Scott Jurek
10. Write blog posts about adventure planning so it looks like you know what you're doing
O, wait.... Did I just give the game away?....