I seem to have talked myself into something a bit out there again.. Next Saturday, on the 7th July I begin the over 900 kilometre walk from London to Edinburgh, 20–30 km/day, carrying a fabulous free hugs flag created by Irene and creating a new world record for the World’s Longest Free Hugs Event in Terms of Distance.
Why? Because I made it my mission in life to teach people how they can make the world around them a little friendlier, safer, and happier by using positive projects and activities to target societal issues.
The 7th of July marks the launch of our new Public Happiness website, which makes it much easier for everyone to find effective ways to create positive social change, and to meet others nearby who are interested in our Public Happiness idea, and join them exploring fun solutions to serious problems. What we call Local Action for Global Change.
We don’t have anyone in the marketing team at the moment as things were slowed down to focus on the website, but when I do something a little unusual like this it seems to inspire people to get behind it, i guess everyone likes to be a part of a good story, and so another world record seemed the best way to tell the world.
How can I join in?
1. Create a Free Hugs activity on our new website where you live
The main purpose of the hike is that you can also create a Public Happiness Gathering where you live. Visit https://focallocal.org pick a suggested Public Happiness Activity, like Free Hugs, and invite your friends to join you creating small positive cultural change. If you want to explore deeper into the app/website there’s also many more projects and teams in our ‘Action Center’ to join in with, we’ll be promoting that later on but you’re welcome to get involved now.
2. Contact social groups in the towns and villages Andy is passing through and ask them to support us by inviting people to join Andy giving hugs when he arrives
3. You can join the world record breaking team to help find people to meet Andy for hugs in each place we pass through us, and look for couches to sleep on, shower or laundry offers, people to bring food and water
We operate on kindness rather than money so we don’t have any of the latter. Andy is taking a 3kg bag of oats mixed with spirulina to survive on during the walk. A generous sandwich or coffee to break that monotony would be very welcome.
Why isn’t Andy raising money for charity?
Focallocal is about exploring a different way of creating change, by empowering people and communities to do it themselves, and this march is to promote our new website which aims to give everyone the tools to connect with each other and make that happen where they live.
Most charities do amazing work — although you should always check because far too many like the Pink Ribbon are complete and total unethical scams, or Salvation Army who use donations to those who are homeless for political lobbying against gay rights.
Many charities feel like they are just papering over the cracks neglected by the GDP model we live under. No matter how much money is donated, and how much fantastic work they do to help their cause, they will never solve the issue itself. In these situations we are exploring whether it would be more effective if communities just came together and changed it ourselves. No begging for money no huge marketing teams to pay wages for and definitely no overpaid CEO just people ideas and action!
Charities like Medical Research, Disaster Relief are difficult to target with our community empowerment model. Others might be better served by empowering local people to come together around effective ideas and create change themselves. Like homelessness, in most nations rates are stable or increasing, charities are tasked with supporting people on the streets, but could a closely connected community come together and offer that support ourselves cheaper and more effectively? Join in our Brighter Tomorrow Map project to find out!
You are all invited and welcome to join in this hopeful and happy mission
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Originally published at Focallocal.