The equator is 24,901 miles in circumference and, interestingly enough, it starts in Port St Mary, well at least for Steven (Prim) Primrose-Smith it does.
On April 1 Prim will begin what will be a several-year journey of walking around the world.
Now, like us, at first, you may think that sounds absolutely mad, but for a travel writer who has cycled over 50,000 miles during his work, this is just another day (or several hundred days) at the office.
Prim, 51, is taking on his walk, planning to live on around £8 a day, to raise money for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).
While there are many, many questions we could’ve asked Prim, for us, there was one burning question, why Port St Mary?
He said: ‘Well I’ve been travelling around a lot these past few years and the nearest thing I’ve got to home is my mum and dad’s house. They came over from England in 1993/94 and my brother followed them over, had kids etc and they’re still all here. So all my family basically lives in Port St Mary, so whenever I’m between trips, I’m at my mum and dad’s house, so this just seemed like a good place to start from.’
Doctors Without Borders is anexactly what it says on the tin kind of charity. Originating in France as Médecins Sans Frontières, it operates around the world, often in very poor regions, to provide medical care for people who either can’t afford it or where the existing facilities have been destroyed either by war or natural disaster. They don’t take sides, they don’t care who you are, they just treat those who need their help. You can read more about them here.
Speaking of the charity, he said: ‘This trip is as international as it’s possible to be and they are as international as it is possible to be for a charity. Wherever there is disease, war or a natural disaster, they’ve got some medical facility in that location, so it seemed like a really good charity to support.’
If you’d like to donate to Doctor’s Without Borders, you do that on Prim’s Just Giving Page.
While we’re trying to get our heads around it, Prim explained that between 2011 and 2013 he cycled between the capital cities of Europe which, he admits, had people thinking he was crazy. The same is true now, but he may just agree with them this time.
‘Even to me, it seems a little bit “out there”,’ Prim said. He added: ‘I think it’s going to be fantastic. Most of my trips so far have been in Europe, or very close to Europe, so in Morocco and Turkey, a place like that. So I’m taking the chance to go far and wide, North America, South America, everywhere else, I think it’ll be great.’
While he plans to walk around the world, Prim doesn’t intend to do it all in one go. He said he plans to walk for up to a year, reach somewhere that is easier to get back to the Isle of Man from, travel home to see the family and then head back on the road again picking up from where he left off.
To become one of a very select few to walk around the world isn’t as easy as it seems. Ok, it doesn’t seem easy at all. But we don’t just mean making sure you have enough money for dinner and decent shoes, there are also major geopolitical issues that have to be overcome.
Prim explained: ‘I am allowed to miss bits out because, especially like now, there is the situation in Ukraine and the Caspian Sea, for a British person, is quite a challenge. You can go south and go to Iran, but British people have to have a tour guide 24 hours a day for the whole time you’re there and that would take five or six months, so it’s not practical. A normal person could travel to Azerbaijan, but because I travelled to Nagorno-Karabakh, which is a breakaway part of Azerbaijan, I’m not allowed to enter there. On the entry form is asked if you’ve been to Nagorno-Karabakh and I was to say I haven’t and they find out you have, they will put you in prison.
‘So my solution was to go north and into Russia and Chechnya, but now that seems unlikely too. I think getting visas for Russia is going to be pretty impossible for a few years. So it may be that I have to fly over the Caspian Sea.’
The trip itself is self-funded by the rent that Prim makes from a flat he owns in Blackburn. This brings his budget to about £7/£8 a day. As such, on Prim’s website (https://primsearthtrek.com) there are options to donate to him via Patreon or buy one of his other travel books (he’s a two-time Amazon best seller), or even buy him a coffee.
Just to give these links again.
You can read about Prim’s trip, or donate to his efforts here.
You can donate to Doctor’s Without Borders here.
And you can see more of his work here.