A 70-year-old man, born in Punjab and based in Ireland for over 40 years, has applied for a Guinness World Record after completing what he calls his Earth Walk, which stretches over 40,075 kilometers or equivalent to the circumference of the earth below 1
Vinod Bajaj began his journey in August 2016 with a humble goal of losing weight and getting better.
As he drove the pounds, his enthusiasm for walking only multiplied, prompting him to map out various routes, including through indoor malls to overcome weather constraints.
During the first three months of my walk seven days a week, I lost 8 kg by having a deficit of 700 calories a day. Over the next six months, I lost another 12 lbs. The weight loss was almost exclusively due to walking and I did not have to change much of my eating habits, Mr Bajaj said.
Typically, I started walking early in the morning and finished mostly in two intervals, the first being always for a longer period of time. There were many times that I took the whole trip in a single attempt. Starting early allowed me to finish early in the afternoon, which gave me plenty of time to do things like shopping, banking, housework and gardening, he said.
The retired engineer and business consultant grew up in Chennai and moved to Scotland in 1975 for a master’s degree from Glasgow, before the job led him to Ireland 43 years ago, where he has lived with his family in Castletroy, a suburb of Limerick for 36 years. .
It was the local Irish and world news that kept him company during his long walks that fell within a 10km radius of Castletroy.
He also downloaded the Pacer activity tracking app on his smartphone to keep a complete record of his strides, and its records marked his major milestones along the way.
At the end of the first year I walked 7,600km and to my surprise I found out that I was actually going to India from Ireland. I kept walking, and by the end of year two, I was walking a total of 15,200 km, and I found that I was actually walking more than the circumference of the moon (10,921 km). This further motivated me and I decided to walk the circumference of Mars (21,344 km), he recalls.
The difference between Mars Walk and Earth Walk was approx. 19,000 km and I knew it would not be easy. I kept going with the goal of completing my ultimate goal, ”he says, referring to his Earth Walk, which he completed on September 21st.
His application for the Guinness World Record is currently in process as they assess whether his walk, which corresponds to the circumference of the earth at 1,496 days and 54,633,135 steps, makes the cut.
Meanwhile, his walking mission continues despite the COVID-19 restrictions on locking, which only means he has to repeat his routes a few times a day to reach his daily walking goal.
He also keeps himself stocked with almonds, cashews, walnuts and bananas to keep energy levels up during hikes.
My wife and siblings were initially unimpressed as they all felt I was going too far and my health would be affected. Eventually, they reluctantly came around and now hope I will reduce my walk and not try another ground walk counterclockwise, he jokes.
While awaiting a response to his potential world record, Mr Bajaj is keen to spread the message that walking is the best form of exercise for all ages “better than running or jogging and it’s free”.
After running through 12 pairs of shoes an average of three a year during his Earth Walk, his key piece of advice is to invest in a good pair of walking shoes and socks.
His second piece of advice to other hikers: Loneliness will be the biggest hiking challenge and can be partially overcome by listening to music or podcasts. Make the umbrella your best friend so that no weather interferes with your hiking plan and self-motivation, discipline, consistency and time management are the key.
(As of the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)