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Exodus to Kathmandu

Team Exodus raise money for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in India and Nepal

Exodus to Kathmandu

Since the onset of the second wave of the Coronavirus Pandemic in India and Nepal, many of us have watched in dismay – our thoughts turning to our local partners, many now without income for over a year while they enter yet another crippling health crisis.

As you may well know, Exodus’ affinity with this region has deep roots. The journey from London to Kathmandu became our founding expedition in 1974, and then, when two devastating earthquakes shattered homes and lives in 2015, our staff, partners, and customers came to Nepal’s aid. For a second time in very recent history, India and Nepal need our support. We have already launched the Covid Emergency Relief Appeal and now we are challenging all staff and colleagues within Travelopia to do their bit and to join us in a mammoth challenge to raise urgently needed funds for this appeal.

The word ‘exodus’ means a collective movement of people and over the next 6 weeks we will, as a collective, aim to walk, run, cycle, swim, hop, or skip the 4,557 miles between our London base and our local teams in Kathmandu.

Directions for staff getting involved:

  • Decide how many miles you want to pledge to take on between now and 30th July, in whatever way you choose to complete them.
  • Click the button below to go to our ‘pledge and donate’ page.
  • On our ‘pledge and donate’ page, click the ‘Donate’ button to make a donation of your choice, adding your pledged mileage to the ‘Your message’ box.

 

Pledge & Donate Here

 

Of course, if you want to show your support but you don’t fancy any miles, then we still welcome all donations via the  Covid Emergency Relief Appeal.

We’ll be keeping this page updated with how far we’ve travelled, what landmarks we’ve passed, how many miles we’ve got to go to get to Kathmandu and of course how much has been raised. So please, keep checking in, and dig deep (into your legs and into your pockets) and let’s see if we can get to Kathmandu together!

Let’s keep each other going by sharing pictures of your miles using the hashtag on all social media platforms #ExodusToKathmandu, and please send your updates and any snaps to [email protected] so that she can keep this page updated with your endeavours!

Updates on our progress to Kathmandu:

Final Update – We overshot Kathmandu by 1,274 miles!

Huge congratulations to everyone who walked on two or four legs, ran, cycled, and even rode a horse for our Exodus to Kathmandu challenge.  Your fantastic efforts clocked up a grand total of 5,831 miles which took us as far as the border with Myanmar and Laos. 

Myanmar

There are so many of you who pledged and donated, we are sorry we can’t mention everyone in this update but you know who you are and we want to thank you all so very much for being our champions for this challenge.  The average mileage achieved per pledger was over 100 and some reached further with impressive 300+ miles under their belts. The ‘Fun-Ance’ team alone contributed 605 miles of course with the help of Max the rescue dog who ended up with a healthy 27 miles to his name.

Not only has it been great fun to hear about your escapades but we have been thrilled to watch the donations rise to the current grand total of £3,130. This is equivalent to 125 essential food and health packs for our trekking colleagues in India and Nepal.   The situation in both countries is still so very difficult with concerns that a third wave of Covid-19 might hit in the next few weeks.  Your donations will make such a difference to our local teams who have struggled without tourism since March last year and who continue to worry about when they may be working again. 

For this final update we just have a couple of photos of two of our champions. 

Jenny CoxJenny Cox pledged 150 miles and raised a healthy £295. She promised to do a victory run in fancy dress and here is the evidence. Hilarious Jenny!
Katy RocketKaty Rockett took a little while to get going so not sure about her namesake. LOL. She pledged 50 miles and told us – ‘Well, it was a battle against the will of a procrastinator but I managed to complete my committed miles accomplishing about 80% in the final week of the challenge! This was all the excuse I needed to get back on my bike and it felt so good.’

It has felt so good hasn’t it. To come together like this and do something that will make a tangible difference in the lives of others. What a team, what a family! Thank you all.

15 July Update – We did it and we’re going further!!!

In no time at all through the incredible efforts of Exodus and Travelopia staff, Exodus Foundation members and some furry friends we have over-reached our goal of virtually travelling to Kathmandu. Huge congratulations to everyone involved.  At the time of writing we have reached  4727.7 miles.  Kathmandu was 4557. So what a fantastic effort so far. Miles and donations are still being pledged and we are excited to see how much further we can travel.  We wonder what country or ocean we may end up in.

At time of writing 67 doners and 3 fundraisers have raised the grand total of £2,878 for our India and Nepal Covid Emergency Appeal. That equates to over 100 essential food and health kits for our trekking colleagues in India and Nepal. Let’s see if we can get that total to £3,000!

At this celebration point we want to share with you some stories and pictures of the efforts various staff have made in order to contribute to this challenge.  These are just those who sent us photos however, all of you who have been involved to date , deserve huge thanks for all your efforts and generosity. 

If you aren’t already involved but would like to be, don’t worry there is still plenty of time to pledge miles and to donate to the Appeal with our finale deadline being 31 July.  

Max the rescue dog

Rescue dog Max helped us get over the Kathmandu line with his 6miles Woking Walking.

His rescuer Liezl Wentworth, Exodus Travels, says that although Max was rather pooped at the end of his walk he was proud to be able to add his efforts to the challenge.  And we have just heard he has clocked up another 10 miles. Thank you Max and Liezl!

Zoe Silver and Lottie

Zoe Silver, Exodus Travels got pony pocket rocket Lottie, involved covering around 20 miles together.

Zoe said, ‘there is nothing like the feeling of galloping up a hill when the sun is shining to reach the summit to amazing views with the company of good people’.  She has also added another 60 miles walking and running.

Go Zoe!

Jessica Dillion

Jessica Dillion attempted a London to Brighton Cycle as part of clocking up her pledge of 100 miles.  Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go to plan but it sounds like Jess and friend made the best of it.  ‘I got a flat around 30 miles in and we’re both useless with puncture repair kits so we ended up getting tinnies and a train home from not so glam Horley! 30/100 done though Haha.’

Better luck next time Jess and good luck with the rest of your miles. 

Hajni Newlands Hike

Hajnalka Feher, Exodus Travels pledged and has reached 100 miles walking in the beautiful Lake District. ‘We moved up to the Lake District in April and try to go out as much as possible – weather dependent, although a bit of rain wouldn’t stop us. Also started to bag the Wainwright fells so most of the hikes involve lots of going up and down as well.’

Thanks Hajni!

Niraj Shrestha

Niraj Shrestha, Exodus Travels was recently in West Wales and clocked up 35 of the 100 miles he has pledged doing Pembrokeshire Coastal walks.  What wonderful countryside to wander around Niraj.

Kasia Morgan hike

Kasia Morgan, Exodus Travels was over in Spain for her cousin’s wedding last month, and managed to sneak away for a couple of days in the Sierra Nevada, breaking her hiking boots back in with around half her pledged 50miles. The jamon and vino along the way definitely helped rather than hindered, she’s sure of it…

Hmm we wonder how much vino was consumed. 

Nikki Savage Kent hike

Nikki Savage, Exodus Travels is over half-way with her 100 pledged miles.  Nikki says she is more about the scenery rather than taking shots of herself so here is beautiful Kent where she did her hiking.

Great effort Nikki. 

We have three amazing fundraisers who are also still going strong…

Ann Souter and Son 

Ann Souter, Quark Expeditions

Target: £100

100% complete

‘I was lucky enough to travel to Nepal twice over the last few years with the last time trekking to Everest Base Camp.  Each time I go I am greeted warmly and everyone I meet along the way is so friendly and welcoming.  Nepal is a beautiful country with beautiful people and I want to give back, especially at this difficult time. Exodus Travels also holds a special place in my heart as they were who I went to Kenya with on a 3-week safari when I was 18 years old.’

Thanks for all your efforts Ann!

 Jennifer Cox walking 

Jennifer Cox, Exodus Travels

Target: £200

108% complete, £270 raised

Jenny pledged  to cover 150 miles on foot (running and walking) by 31 July and her fundraising target was £250 which she has actually exceeded in no time at all.

Having passed her target as promised - I will be sporting a banana or pea-pod costume for one of my walks/runs next week! The residents of Tooting are in for a treat. Footage to follow…

Could you tell us where and when the costume is coming out Jenny so we can line the streets of Tooting?  Seriously though congratulations on your efforts and good luck with the rest of the miles.  

 Pete Burrell

Pete Burrell and fellow walkers

 

Pete Burrell, Chairperson, Exodus Foundation

Target: £2,000

80% complete – a staggering £1,603 raised so far

“When I heard from friends in Nepal how bad the situation was for so many Nepalis I knew I had to do something. To keep myself fit during lockdown I had regularly walked up Meldon Hill for the beautiful views across Dartmoor. The challenge then took on its own momentum and before I knew it I had stupidly committed to climb the hill 40 times to replicate the height of Everest. 8 summits a day for 5 days seemed doable, but thanks to a day of monsoonal rain that Nepal would have been proud of it took 6 to complete. Huge thanks to all who donated and my family and friends that kept me going.  And I really hope to be back in Nepal as soon as……”

Pete set off on Wednesday 30th of June and in 6 days he achieved the feat of 40 summits. Valerie Parkinson, well known tour leader with Exodus for 35 years joined Pete for 12 summits.  His wife, Claire and daughter Anna were his back up team joining him for a few of the climbs and also providing much needed sustenance. Thanks for a truly amazing effort Pete, fellow walkers and all those who donated. The money already raised will fund 64 support packs!  Hopefully, Pete’s target of £2,000 will soon be reached.  If you would like to donate to Pete’s fundraiser please click here.

 

24 June: Checkpoints 4 & 5

Thank you for a fantastic effort by so many people pledging miles and giving donations for the Exodus to Kathmandu challenge.  Drumroll – at time of writing this over 4,000 miles have been pledged and over £1,000 raised so far.  This means we have less than 500 miles to go to reach Kathmandu. We have successfully passed the half-way mark of Stavropol in Russia and also checkpoint 5, Turkmenistan.

Some interesting facts about checkpoints 4 & 5 which you may not be aware of. Stavropol was originally built as a fortress and there are still a few remains of the old walls dating back to the 1700’s.  Over the years this city has experienced some extreme temperatures with the highest recorded being 39.7 C and the lowest being -28.3 C. Did you know that the region grows about 3% of the world’s coriander crop and has more than 130 mineral springs?

Turkmenistan was on the historic silk road and is famous for traditional carpets. Described as Disneyland meeting North Korea in terms of its incredible architecture it holds a world record for the highest density of marble-clad buildings. Another world record is for the largest indoor Ferris Wheel located in Ashgabat. Following a mining disaster in 1971 a fire pit called Darvoza or the ‘door to hell’ has been continually burning ever since.  In 2014 George Kourounis, National Geographic Explorer, storm chaser, TV host and occasional leader for Exodus Travels, became the first person to enter the ‘door to hell’ and reach the bottom of the pit. 

It is just wonderful having such staff support for the Covid Emergency Appeal while many of you are benefiting from getting fitter over the next few weeks. 

Turkmenistan flag

 

15 June : Checkpoints 1, 2 & 3 – Ostend, Prague and Briceni

Thanks to all for taking up the challenge Exodus to Kathmandu with such enthusiasm.  Since our launch, only a few days ago, we have received over a dozen pledges for miles to be walked, cycled, and run (no hopping as yet). Pledges are predominantly 100 miles per person with a few stretching to 200 and 300.  So far the grand total pledged is over 1,500 miles which has taken us just past checkpoint 3 – Briceni.  This is a terrific start to our challenge and along with these pledges we have received generous donations towards our Covid Emergency Relief Appeal for India and Nepal.

We are thrilled to have staff from across Travelopia join Exodus in our challenge to virtually travel through Europe to reach our local partners in Kathmandu and to raise much needed funds to support a range of communities in both India and Nepal.  We have power swum across the channel, zoomed through Ostend and Prague, and just touched base in Briceni in Moldova.

Prague is a very interesting city to visit with plenty of Instagram worthy sights. It has the largest castle in the world spanning 18 acres and what must be the smallest laneway at only 50cm (1.6 feet). This laneway even has its own traffic light for pedestrians to ensure they don’t get stuck in the middle.  You wouldn’t want to eat a big breakfast before heading through this tiny gap between buildings.

Our checkpoint 3 is in Moldova which is an overlooked gem sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania. It is the least visited country in Europe however it holds a Guinness World record for the largest wine cellar in the world based on number of bottles.  This cellar houses a staggering almost 2 million bottles.  The locals are partial to a good tipple and enjoy a National Wine-day which actually lasts for two days and is held in October each year. Maybe a destination to add to your bucket-list.

Why not join us on the next leg of our journey by clicking on the Pledge and Donate Here button.

Prague and Castle 

11th June: Pete Burrell pledges to hike the height of Everest 

Kicking off our Exodus to Kathmandu Challenge, Pete Burrell and friends are taking on a climb equivalent to the height of Everest. This pledges an impressive 80 miles to the challenge. Pete has been associated with Exodus Travels for over 30 years in his role as Managing Director until 2018, and now as the chair of the board of trustees of the Exodus Travels Foundation.  His experience of Adventure travel spans decades, and his passion for the places where he visited or worked led him to get involved with projects aimed at improving the lives of local communities.

Nepal holds a special place in Pete’s heart  and he actively worked on supporting the country to pick itself up following the devastating earthquake in 2015.  This was achieved through an amazing number of donations from Exodus customers, friends, and staff.  Due to the pandemic Nepal needs our help once again and Pete is at the ready to contribute his time and efforts.  Pete talks about Nepal, the impact of Covid-19 and what he and others are planning to do to help. 

“Exodus has been taking travelers, trekkers and climbers to Nepal since the mid-1970s and has made many lifelong friends and colleagues. Over the last 40 years tourist numbers have grown from a trickle of overlanders, hippies, mountaineers, and trekkers to become Nepal’s largest industry with tourist arrivals numbering approximately 1.2 million in 2019. With the onset of the Pandemic tourism has completely collapsed. Although many countries around the world have suffered terribly in terms of illness and deaths Nepal has had the added issue of its major industry collapsing and many thousands of people left with no incomes and therefore little food. This situation has now become critical with many guides, porters, restaurant, and hotel staff left destitute. The ravages brought on by the pandemic are stretching the hospitals and healthcare services in Nepal beyond their limits.

I, along with some Exodus colleagues and friends will be trying to raise money to support our local teams in both India and Nepal by attempting to climb the equivalent height of Everest (Sagarmatha or Chomolungma) which is now calculated at 8849m. Not being able to get to Nepal we will be substituting Meldon Hill in Dartmoor National Park UK.  Obviously, it is a mere minnow in comparison to Everest, which means we will have to climb Meldon 40 times to reach this goal which should take us 3-4 days! We are hoping to start this “climb” on Friday the 2nd of July and all being well finishing on Sunday 4th although we have a spare day on the 5th planned in case of injury, inclement weather, or other unforeseen circumstances.  Please help us to help these countries in their dire need by donating, joining the Exodus to Kathmandu challenge or running your own fundraiser.  Just £25 allows us to provide a family with food and health essentials for 1 month.”

 

Exodus to KathmanduExodus to KathmanduExodus to Kathmandu

 

11th June: Check point zero - Big Ben

We are starting our Exodus to Kathmandu Challenge at Big Ben, London. Who doesn’t know Big Ben! This world heritage site is one of the most famous landmarks in the UK, is an iconic image for film makers and seems to hold an affectionate place in people’s hearts around the world. Although the clock and tower are referred to as Big Ben this is actually the nickname of the Great Hour Bell which until 2017, when important restorations commenced, marked the hours of the London day. Big Ben first rang out in London on 11th July 1859 and then in December 1923 it was heard by the whole nation when the BBC broadcast the chimes to herald the new year. The chimes are expected to be heard again regularly on the completion of the restorations in early 2022.

Big Ben London

Keep dropping by this page for more updates on the check points we reach along our way!