“Sometimes we let life guide us, and other times we take life by the horns. But one thing is for sure: no matter how organized we are, or how well we plan, we can always expect the unexpected.” ~ Brandon Jenner

So as my amazing friend Kerry just completed the London Marathon run, I am feeling incredibly proud of her and endlessly grateful because half of the money she raised is in memory of my beautiful Elizabeth.

But I am also feeling very sad because a year ago I too applied for this marathon with a great hope to get a place. I also encouraged seven of my supporters to do the same so we could have our own rainbow team. Kerry was one of them although she ran the London Marathon twice before and was NOT going to do it again. Yet, when I asked her to join, she was too kind to say no. Guess what? None of the rest of my team got the place-  except for Kerry!

Kerry Fitzpatrick running the London Marathon 2018

Now, I am not a runner. Literally, I am not able to run even a mile without stopping to remain alive.  And, if I am being honest, I actively dislike running anyway. So why am I feeling so sad then? Well, it is not because I wasn’t running the London Marathon (although I would quite enjoy to fast-walk it) but because whenever I try to make some plans for my life, they just never work.

For instance, when I finished my coastal walk, I planned to go back to Ukraine to look after my mum who had dementia. The London Marathon seemed a perfect option to continue fundraising for Elizabeth’s Footprint while being physically in Ukraine as I could train for it there. Yet, as someone wise said – ‘life happens to you while you are busy making other plans’. My mum passed away within a month after I entered the ballot. Instead of Ukraine I found myself living on the Outer Hebrides (which I didn’t even know existed!). And I also failed in getting into the London race.

Although it is just one recent example, the truth is that all things in my life that I tried to plan very carefully, ended up like this. I don’t really know whether it was my own fault or the whole universe was against me, but as a result I developed a real phobia of planning which blossoms especially bright after I lost my Elizabeth.

Well, living a life without a plan is equivalent to walking without a destination. Although sometimes it sounds quite liberating, generally it is rather confusing and very stressful. These days, I experience the practical downside of it since I failed to plan properly for my hospital’s walk. I must admit, the lack of preparation makes me struggle every single day. Goodness knows on how many occasions I wished I could press a ‘pause’ button so I could organise some things better in order to maximise my hard effort. But of course, I cannot do that.

So, as Kerry was running the London Marathon yesterday, I spent my entire rest day checking on her progress and thinking deeply about how to plan things so that they work.  As, it seems like it would make a lot of sense to invest more time in organising my next walking challenge.  Obviously, this is assuming that I can overcome my planning phobia!  Please help me if you know a special key to successful planning that could help me to unlock this essential skill.

Thank you so much!

Natalia xx

Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal. Charity No. 1043603
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Or go to https://www.justgiving.com/Natalia-Spencer/ or you can text ELIF 55 to 70070


  1. Not sure I can comment on a planning phobia Natalia – as I said I plan to live each day as it comes, to the full and hope the stars guide me (with a little help from great friends, family and wonders I meet along the way).
    Thinking of you every day since meeting you and strangely wishing I could walk alongside you for each mile you do and to breathe in each beautiful view you encounter xx

  2. I don’t believe that we can plan our life as things happen whether good or bad and mostly without notice. You have first hand experience of this. But we can plan for events and in your case your epic walks. I think you do need to get a team together for your next event as it must be so difficult with just you and one person planning fthe route . Take time think about the next event but most importantly don’t beat yourself up . What you have achieved to date is amazing . I recently lost my mum who I had cared for for many years and the void is enormous. I understand a little of your heartbreak but loosing a child is so different. The legacy you are creating in Elizabeth name is testament to your enduring love for her . I walked with you on your last walk in on the Dover stretch and you were so inspirational, stay strong keep smiling but make time just for you too . My motto at the moment is very apt for you too “when life brings you rain look for rainbows ” x

  3. Planning and timings is a necessary, know your limitation and requirements. try and walk 15 miles a day. Always carry enough water and food as well as dry clothing, so you can change into when you stop. Look at your route the night before so you roughly know where you are going, especially when traveling alone. Check your route in the morning and know roughly where you want to stop for a drink. If you want to detour and sight see, do so and know where you come back on route. If you are lost, stop, try and work out where you are, if you see a house ask them to show you. Never be afraid to ask for direction, this could save you miles. Do not get dishearten as you have inspired loads of people with your determination and strength to carry on. You are 1 in a million and don’t you forget that. See you in a couple of weeks xxxx


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