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alumni profiles

The livingstons in landscape

Candace Livingstone ’06 makes a long journey to honor her family

If you happen to run into Candace Maeser Livingstone ’06 anytime soon, be sure to say hi, because she might not stick around long.

After graduating from Transylvania with a drama degree and minors in studio art and Spanish, she and her boyfriend, Adrian Livingstone, went to Ecuador for a year to volunteer at a school on a rose plantation in the Andes Mountains. Then they moved to Adrian’s native England, where Candace earned an M.A. in art and design history at Kingston University in London. In 2008, Candace and Adrian were married, and in 2009, they set off for northeastern China to teach English and visited North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia before heading back to England in December 2010.

They decided to spend 2011 traveling—which is remarkable enough given their previous three years—but they did it in a way few would have expected.

Because Candace had spent much of her time in London in class and studying, Adrian wanted her to get to see more of his country. He researched trails and found a way for them to walk all the way across Great Britain, from the southwestern-most point of Land’s End in England to the most northern point of John o’ Groats in Scotland—a 1,160-mile trip on foot.

Livingstons with backpacks
 Candace Livingstone ’06 and her husband, Adrian, stand at the end of their walk in John o’ Groats, Scotland. Below, the Livingstones pose along the Pennine Way in Derbyshire, England.

“To be honest, at first I thought it was a crazy idea,” Candace said. “But after I researched it more, I found that many people had completed the walk before and raised money for charity. I lost two of my grandparents to cancer at the end of 2010 and couldn’t come home to pay my respects. I wanted to do something to honor them.”

She chose to raise money for the Association for International Cancer Research through the walk in honor of her grandparents and her mother, Elizabeth Underwood Maeser ’78, who is a breast cancer survivor. They set up a donation account, updated their friends and family on what they were doing on their Facebook pages, and set out of Land’s End June 25.

“We averaged about 15 miles a day, and we usually took off one day a week,” Candace said. “We carried all of our supplies with us—I usually had about 25 pounds on my back, and my husband had 30 pounds.”

They walked town to town, camping in a tent for most of the trip, until nasty northern British weather forced them to stay in bed and breakfasts. They encountered several day walkers and struck up conversations about their journey and their purpose, many of which ended with a goodbye and a donation. When they stopped in local restaurants with over 50 pounds of gear, owners would ask about the trip and often give them discounts or even free meals.

A woman in eastern Scotland met them walking and invited them to stay at her house that night. One night turned into three, as her husband would pick them up at the end of the day, bring them back for a meal and a bed, drop them back where they left off, and do the same thing the next day.

“One of the most amazing things about the walk was how generous and nice people were to us,” Candace said. “At one local pub, we walked in with our gear and the bartender started to make fun of us, asking if we were moving and had our whole house on our backs. But when we told him what we were doing, he announced it to the whole pub and took up a collection, and we left with over $50 in donations.”

On September 30, 14 weeks after leaving Land’s End, Adrian and Candace walked into John o’ Groats. They had raised almost $2,500 and had learned more about themselves and each other than they could have dreamed.

“It sounds so cliché, but I learned that as long as you set your mind to it, you can do anything,” Candace said. “We did very little training before we started, but we never gave up, and we always believed that we would do it. There were times when it was tough to keep going, but we refused to give up, and now I know that if I can walk 1,160 miles, there’s not much I can’t handle.”

Candace and Adrian continue to take donations to the AICR. To donate and read more about their trip, go to www.justgiving.com/Adrian-and-Candace.

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