In 2004, Lauren Ditolla, Ant Chapin and Keri Bean and I flew to Moscow to begin an 8,000-mile journey re-tracing the route taken by Slavomir Rawicz.
In 1941 Slavomir Rawicz escaped from a Soviet Union gulag (prison camp) with 6 other inmates. Over the next year they traveled on foot through the frozen tundra of Siberia, across the scorching Gobi desert and finally over the mountains of the Himalaya to India and freedom. Slavomir and his group had with no supplies except for a knife, axe, the cloths on their backs and the determination that arises when there are no other options.
We spent three months using various forms of transportation including are own feet, rickshaws, camels, horses, bicycles, hydrofoils, trains planes and automobiles to re-trace Slavomir’s footsteps. In addition, we worked with Medicines Global (GB) providing medical supplies to remote communities along the way.
The journey was a once and in a lifetime adventure.
Since I returned from this expedition there have been several articles and books challenging whether Rawicz really completed the Long Walk. In 2006, the BBC uncovered documents that placed Rawicz in other locations during the time period in which the Long Walk supposedly took place. Last year John Dyson contacted me about an upcoming article he was writing for Readers Digest in which he interviewed another Polish man living in England who claimed the Long Walk was based on his epic trek from Siberia to India. On Jan 21, 2011 a new Hollywood movie, The Way Back, based on the Long Walk will premiere in theaters across the US and the interest in the Long Walk will certainly be piqued again! Explorer Mikael Strandberg is writing a series of articles on his website and at www.exploreres.com
You can read more about the Long Walk on my web page