AN INSPIRATIONAL Sodbury councillor has successfully hitchhiked the entire length of the UK and back for charity.

Cllr Juan Nuevo, 53, wanted to prove that living with the sleeping disorder narcolepsy is no barrier – so set himself the challenge of hitchhiking over 2,500km with minimal supplies.

He set off from his home in Old Sodbury on Thursday, May 25, and travelled all the way to to John O’Groats in North Scotland in just seven days.

From there, it was a mammoth journey down to Land’s End in Cornwall before he was able to make his way back up to South Gloucestershire.

Juan arrived back in Old Sodbury at the exact same place he was originally picked up on Thursday, June 8.

He told the Gazette that it had been a whirlwind experience.  

“I had a fantastic time,” said Juan. “My narcolepsy did not stop me from completing the hitchhike, but I did sleep a lot.

“I had to tell people when I got into their cars to not be offended if I just nodded off.”

Juan’s journey saw him tackle a variety of environments including countryside, mountains, beaches and cities.

He often went several days without being able to shower, and ran into a sticky patch in Stirling after his phone broke.

“This was a big setback,” said Juan. “The phone was my landline because I used it for google maps and I had to spend a whole day trying to sort it out.”

The 53-year-old’s sleeping arrangements varied from camping and staying in service stations to bunking down in a bus depot.

He met people from all walks of life, but often spent great spells of the trip by himself.

“The hardest part of the challenge was the loneliness and camping on my own,” he said.

“I was also stuck in Perth for ages, and spent hours waiting for a lift. That was a very disheartening time.

“But I also met some really lovely people along the way - travellers, young people and members of the armed forces all picked me up.

“One of my favourite parts of the trip was being picked up by the Queen’s milkman, who delivers two pints a day to Balmoral castle. He took me to the castle and then to the coast.”

Through undergoing his End2End challenge, Juan has so far raised almost £5,000 for two charities of his choice: Narcolepsy UK and Lions Clubs International Foundation Measles Initiative.

He said that he would like to thank everyone who helped him on his journey.

“I also had some amazing support from Narcolepsy groups on Facebook and Narcolepsy UK, who continued to post shout outs asking if anyone could give me a lift at various points of the journey,” he said.

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