Twalk With Me - Walking and Talking 6000 miles with just an iPhone and a guitar

My letter to the queen


On September 11th, I am going on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Rome and Jerusalem. I will start in Leiden in the Netherlands and I am set on walking every metre. I am writing to you because your Christmas speech last year was the motivation for this undertaking. You spoke about the decline of our sense of community, the lack of social responsibility and the influence of the internet and social media in modern society, but your vision was not shared by everyone, including me.

I agree with you that certain social values in modern day society are subject to erosion. Indeed you could even argue that there is currently a certain degeneration of social values.  But even if this was caused by too much individualisation - which I doubt - then it is still a social development, which may also be found on the internet, but is not necessarily increased by it.

The internet is a medium with many applications. As a means to communicate it is on principle neutral. That some users cross the line has everything to do with social developments, not with the internet itself. I like many other social media users believe, that your observation that ‘virtual encounters’ increase the distance between people, instead of bringing them together, must come from your lack of acquaintance with social media and not from a thorough analysis. My pilgrimage is meant to show you, and all other sceptics, what social media is capable of.

I will connect with people along my route using sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, asking some of them for a meal and a place to spend the night. A meal and a place to spend the night offered to a complete stranger who has nothing to offer in return, except his company and gratitude. I don’t yet know the people whome I will ask, and my starting date of September 11th is rapidly approaching. In order to find these people, I will also need the help of fellow social media users who are willing to share my requests with their network or introduce me to family or friends along my route. Without social media I will not be able to complete this journey.

In your speech, you started off with the story of Joseph and Mary, who were offered a stable for the night because the inn was full. The medieval pilgrim carried nothing but a cup and a spoon for luggage and found shelter with fellow believers. I have an iPhone, and I have faith that a helping hand can still be found, especially through the use of social media.

With this letter I invite you to follow me on Facebook or Twitter. If you like music you can also see my YouTube channel, because I’m taking my guitar with me and I will continue writing songs while I’m walking. Everything will be posted on my website www.twalkwithme.eu. In case you are not able to follow me on the internet, for whatever reason, then I hope to get the chance to entertain you in newspapers and magazines every so often. Should you happen to have a tiny bit of space in your agenda and my project interests you, you are, of course, very welcome to walk with me for a bit.

With highest regards,

Wijnand Boon

Read the original text in Dutch here

Twalk With Me - Walking and Talking 6000 miles with just an iPhone and a guitar

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