“What I really believe is that everybody deserves to have a place that they can call home.”
Whilst our heads may subconsciously nod along to the compassion behind these words, Viviane Joynes has taken it upon herself to take a belief and actively raise awareness to support it. On a global scale, the figure of forcibly displaced refugees currently stands at 51.2 million. That’s 51.2 million lives, and 51.2 million homes lost, or abandoned. Wanting to change this state of affairs, in July, Viv left her job and the comfort of her home, and set out to run 3800km from Unieradz in Poland, to Tarifa, the Southern point of Spain.
The foundations supporting Viv’s adventure stem from the hardships faced by her Grandmother at the close of World War II. By Plane, Ilse Herte Luise Smith attempted to flee the Russian invasion surrounding her home town, Neurese. Although, sadly, in an unfortunate turn of events, she found herself waking up as a German refugee in a Red Cross hospital bed shortly after her plane had crashed.
In a desperate search for her family, Ilse secured a flight to Flensburg, and set off on foot to walk to her freedom, and find her relatives, signing in at every Red Cross aid centre on the way, in the hope of crossing paths with the routes of her family. 3 weeks later, and severely malnourished, Viviane’s Grandmother came to safety in a German town called Celle, safe with the knowledge that her Sisters and parents had also survived.
Reflecting and re-living this act of courage, Viv has already travelled 3000km on foot, running through sand forests, re-routing around mountains, and has battled, with high hopes, through the lonely spells that are inevitable in this sort of journey. With updates, and regular diary entries on her blog, Viv has kept her followers in touch with the highs and lows of her travels, and has portrayed a direct example of the strength held in the human mind and body, as well as the selflessness of a journey such as this.
With 800km left to go, and almost at the end of travelling between 24 – 44 kilometres nearly everyday, this lady has gone from strength to strength and isn’t done doing so yet. I’m sure that there would be one proud Grandmother for the routes that have been travelled, and the selfless leap of faith Viv has taken.
Follow Miss Joyne’s journey, and read further into her life, motivation and sponsorship, on her website –