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Last Updated: Friday, 29 February 2008, 08:36 GMT
Language barrier scuppers walker
Mark Boyle
Mr Boyle was hoping to prove the kindness of humanity
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."

You can see more on this story on Inside Out West on BBC1 at 7.30pm on Friday.

Free dinners for penniless walker
04 Feb 08 |  Bristol/Somerset
Penniless India trek is under way
30 Jan 08 |  Bristol/Somerset


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