Guildford Travel Club Presents

On Foot in the Middle East

17th December 2019

Leon McCarron

Leon, friends, and camel!

In December 2015, Leon McCarron set off from Jerusalem to walk 1000 miles through the heart of the Middle East. The five-month-long journey took him through the rolling green hills and terraced olive groves of the West Bank; the deep chasm-like wadis and ancient kingdoms of Jordan; and vast, rugged deserts of the Sinai peninsula.

Along the way Leon collected the thoughts and stories of the people that he met, and explored the rich past, tense present and uncertain future of the region. He also looked at how contemporary borders and checkpoints have affected the land and its peoples, and the role of walking as a possible way to make divided lands feel whole again. Working on the premise that the brain works best at 3 miles per hour, this talk explores the various layers of culture, history, faith and politics at work in the bubbling cauldron of one of the most complex and compelling places on earth - the Holy Land.

Our current President, Leon is a writer, filmmaker and adventurer from Northern Ireland.  He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a recipient of the 2017 Neville Shulman Challenge Award.

In the last few years, Leon has been exploring the ways in which moving slowly and thoroughly affects the stories that we hear and tell. His idea is that by approaching storytelling at three miles an hour, let’s say, reporters can find new narratives and meaning, and are perhaps afforded more time to experience and disseminate a deeper human connection.

Much of his recent work has been seeking out these stories of humanity and nuance in parts of the world that are often demonised (or misunderstood) by Western media.

Leon's own website can be found here.

Sinai wadis
Sinai canyon
by the fire
Camp fire tales
Leon and Sean walking
Leon and Sean go for a walk
LEon admires the view
An epic view into the Dana Biosphere reserve, Jordan