In what sounds like the start of a feel-good film from the late 90’s, young Romeo Cox took on an incredible journey for family.
Moving away has made this heart grow…
It all began before the worst of the Coronavirus Pandemic, when Romeo Cox’s family moved from London, England to Palermo Italy.
The young 10 year old left behind someone very important to him, his grandmother Rosemary. He might have been content to wait until airline travel was safe, but as months passed, Romeo was beginning to miss his grandmother too much.
It was an idea that seemed too crazy to work, but how could anyone deny this youth’s bighearted request
That’s when Romeo got an idea that would bring him closer to the family he’d been estranged from for over a year. If he couldn’t fly out to meet her, he’d hit the trail and march from Palermo to London, a difficult journey of over 1,720 miles.
But going on his own for such a long trip seems crazy. But Romeo’s wholesome drive convinced his father Phil, a journalist and documentarian, to join Romeo on his journey.
Thus began what has been called “Romeo’s Big Journey Home.” All they had was each other and a donkey named Pedro.
By sea, by land, but never by car or…
The journey began this past June, with a boat ride from Sicily to Naples. Which seems like an unusual choice, but Romeo and Phil wanted the journey to feel special. So they opted to not drive and would get around by walking, biking, and boating where necessary.
Just imagine, every morning at 4:30, they got up and traveled 12 miles a day. They slept in hostels, convents, the homes of kindly strangers, or even beneath the open sky. It was the kind of sweeping adventure that no one ever expects to hear about, especially when talking about a 10 year old boy. Best of all, the journey was captured on Instagram for the world to experience with him.
It wasn’t all so easy for the pair, especially when…
But don’t think the journey was as peaceful or easy as that sounds. Sometimes their donkey would refuse to move a step. They had to deal with packs of wild dogs. And you can imagine how tiring the journey was, especially when they had to cook their own meals in campfires.
But nothing was going to stop Romeo from reaching his grandmother’s side.
Romeo was surprised that he wasn’t the only one on an unusual journey
Along the way, Romeo stumbled upon other travelers who had their own incredible journeys to spread. Romeo talked about one of these meetings in an interview with the BBC where he said:
“I was passing over the cliffs trying to get to our hostel in Calais and we met this Sudanese boy trying to cross from Calais to his family and brother in the U.K. and he wasn’t allowed, I felt it was unfair for me to meet my family and he not to.”
This empathy has led to Romeo becoming best friends with Randolph, one boy from Ghana.
Randolph inspired Romeo to create a fundraiser to make online learning available for refugees that’s gained over $22,000 towards tablets and WiFi services. Truly an inspiring and appreciated gesture.
A three month journey ends when…
After about 3 months, Romeo finally reached his destination. From Palermo to London in just three months. All he’d need to do was enter a 14 day quarantine and he’d finally be able to see his grandmother, Rosemary.
Romeo talks about that incredible meeting when he says:
“I ran down the road…calling her name, We had the best, longest hug. She’s so special to me.”
There and back again…
Romeo and Phil have since flown back home to Palermo, Italy, but the spirit of that journey will live on forever Romeo’s acts of courage and kindness will be an experience to show that love knows no distance too great for the biggest hearts of all.
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