Rosie Pope Update: Running from the UK to Nepal at 75

By her own admission, Rosie isn't an athlete, but her smile shows her joy at this athletic adventure. Photo: Chris Hinkle

When I was tasked with writing about Rosie Pope’s expedition, I was told that she is quite a character. I’d say “character” sums her up beautifully. Even the bare facts — at age 75 she’s running from the UK to Nepal — makes evident her joyful lust for life and quirky style. By her own admission, Rosie isn’t athletic, and when I say “running”, I mean her mission is actually more like lugging a trike-turned-coffin across continents. Said trike-tuned-coffin holds all the necessities and doubles as a sleeping space when she needs to rest.

On March 3, Rosie reached Istanbul, Turkey. She crossed the iconic Bosphorus Bridge (with a police escort, no less, since it isn’t a pedestrian bridge) marking her official entry into Asia.

I’ll be honest. Following Rosie’s journey is a little like reading a Peanuts comic strip: all pictures with minimal dialogue. Her Instagram feed offers photos with no comment or location. Her most recent tweet was back in November 2019, and her most recent blog post was one year ago. Her charity page shows a 33-second selfie video, taken March 8, that shows her having happily crossed the Bosphorus Bridge and excited about staying in a hotel for the night instead of the trike-coffin. There is little more in the way of updates to be found.

But that’s all part of Rosie’s character, isn’t it? She isn’t hungry for fame or versed in social media. She’s simply enjoying a journey by foot that takes her through new regions, connects her with local people and raises proceeds for her chosen charity. Her Instagram smiles are enough evidence of the joy she gains on this personal journey.

Here’s what we can say for sure since we last checked in with Rosie back in August. In September, she began dabbling with the world of hashtags. On her first day in Bulgaria (September 24, 2019), she took a selfie with eight local people, who we can  safely assume are half her age. May I suggest the caption/hashtag: #gettingtoknowlocalyouth?

It appears Rosie sought the assistance of a local bike shop to mend a tire in Bulgaria. This assumption is based purely on the photo of, well, bikes. In a shop. Followed by a man fixing her tire.

Also in September, Rosie admired a sunset. We know this thanks to a photo of a stunning crimson sunset in the background of a dead boring road. She labelled this one, “stunning Bulgaria”.

Rosie makes it to Istanbul, where crossing the Bosphorus Bridge marks her entry into Asia. Photo: The Daily Mail

Fast-forward to December, when Rosie captures the attention of Turkish locals—as well a flurry of cameras and microphones—near Istanbul’s Blue Mosque. What became of the three-month journey between Bulgaria and Istanbul is anyone’s guess.

Rosie is clearly doing precisely what she set out to do. And with her infectious zeal for life, she’s become an inspiration to others. Along her journey, she gains plenty of media attention and seems somewhat unperturbed by new people or situations.

Her style is compelling, yet we’re forced to fill in many of the blanks. Could it be the events of January 12 that prompted fewer photos than even before?

It was then Rosie posted a photo on her Instagram feed of her trike-coffin being repaired. Posted in the comments section is a question, demanding Rosie answer why she hadn’t responded to their messages when they too had helped her with repairs earlier on. Comments from the public then provide plenty of information on Rosie’s whereabouts, including details of where she slept. Safety concerns, anyone?

Perhaps this is why, at the time of this writing, the most information she has posted since was a message alerting readers to the plight of starving, endangered Orcas. The comment accompanies a photo—in typical Rosie fashion—of her outside, in the dark, with what appear to be six locals. No hashtag follows. May I suggest #gettingtoknowlocals?

I’m no mathematician, but I’d say Rosie has about 5,280km left to go. Beginning this expedition in July, 2018, it took Rosie (again, I’m no mathematician) almost eight months to run 1,137km to Berlin. This suggests that she could indeed make it to Kathmandu by November, 2022. In that time, we might just see her trademark smile across two blog updates, 40 new Instagram photos, and perhaps five hashtags, if we’re lucky.

But all jokes aside: what a character!

About the Author

Chasing Dreams Travel

Alex Myall

A travel journalist born of her own mini adventures into far flung destinations. What began as a passion for guiding others to explore, evolved into journaling, blogging and booking. Find out more at https://chasingdreamstravel.co.nz/

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Pär Leijonhufvud
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Not her first expedition — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosie_Swale-Pope — so perhaps she found the style she likes.