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Man’s train journey challenge for Ukraine

Words by Smiley Team

After Jo Kibble’s UK bus journey challenge went viral on social media, the then-council worker decided to set out on an even more ambitious mission. This time, he took advantage of the platform he had gained by raising money for charities helping victims of the invasion in Ukraine.

It all started back in the summer of 2021 when Jo felt the urge to “fulfil his wanderlust” after being cooped up for so long throughout lockdown. To do so, he set out on an elaborate bus journey, travelling as far from London as possible in 24 hours.

As he stepped foot on the first bus, he couldn’t have imagined the Twitter storm he would create. Over the next 20 hours, he gained thousands of shares and reactions from people excited about what he was doing.

“I was very surprised to see how popular it became,” he tells Smiley News.

After the success of his 260-mile trip, he felt that the obvious next step was to take on another challenge. This time he would travel by train across Europe. And to add an element of difficulty, he would see how far he could get from London in 24 hours.

Support from afar

Just as Jo started his painstaking planning process for the train trip, the war broke out in Ukraine. 

“As the invasion began to unfold, I thought about how I was going to have fun on the same railway network on which scenes would play out of people using it to flee for their lives,” he explains.

So to give back to those facing difficulty, he decided to use the trip to support war victims. For every kilometre he travelled, Jo would donate 20 pence to the Ukraine appeal of the Disasters Emergency Committee, a coalition of charities supporting people affected by difficult circumstances.

The joys of public transport

Setting out from St Pancras station, he tweeted regular updates and interesting facts about the places he passed through. 

“Interesting Channel Tunnel fact for international followers: Calling it ‘the Chunnel’ is punishable by summary execution in British and French jurisdictions,” he tweeted while on his way to Paris in the Eurostar.

To accompany him was a knitted turtle who also joined him on the bus trip and featured in many of his photos.

In total he clocked up nearly 2,000 kilometres, raising just under £400 for war victims and refugees. 

After two such exciting adventures, the ardent traveller suggests that he might embark on another yet-more challenging journey in the future.

“Everyone asks me what I’ll do next and I haven’t decided yet. But I can say that it’s been six months since I did the bus trip so I think I will need another six months to work out what's next. Taking on an aeroplane challenge would be very environmentally suspect and not even very interesting, so perhaps I’ll opt for a canal boat or something like that…”

Inspired to act?

DONATE: To support those hit by the invasion of Ukraine, donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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