Community Connections: International Walk and Talk
Community Connections brings accessible, inclusive, community-focused activities to Greenford, Acton, Northolt, Central Ealing and Perivale. Our volunteer led walk and talk groups have gone from strength to strength, supporting Ealing residents from all backgrounds to come together, enjoy nature, and make new discoveries.
One of our walk and talk participants tells her story of making new friends, finding inspiration and chasing her dreams to publish her own children’s book…
Today, I want to share a story that isn’t about me but about the dream.
My name is Maryna. As an immigrant from Ukraine, I arrived in London about a year ago. From the beginning, I felt lonely, as I had no friends or acquaintances in this new city. Seeking connection, I sought out the Ukrainian community, and through What’sApp groups, I discovered a community called “Walk and Talk.”
Every weekend, this dedicated group comes together to embark on exciting excursions to the fascinating museums, picturesque parks, and historical landmarks scattered throughout the city of London. Their thirst for exploration and appreciation of culture has led them to visit many remarkable sites in a remarkably short time. Among their expeditions, they have already had the pleasure of exploring Gunnersbury Park. I joined the group in January and was immersed in the wonders of Gunnersbury Museum, then Walpole Park and Pitzhanger Manor&Gallery, the Musical Museum, delving into knowledge at the West Ealing Library, uncovering the secrets of the London Museum of Water and Steam, and venturing to numerous other captivating destinations.
Joining this community brought me immense joy. To my pleasant surprise, the group was a vibrant mix of individuals from diverse backgrounds. It included Ukrainians and immigrants from many other countries, such as Poland, Iran, Somalia, Kenya, Hong Kong, and India. The rich tapestry of nationalities and cultures represented within the group made it even more dynamic and enriching. We all shared similar struggles and could walk and talk together, exchanging experiences about our journeys and adapting to new environments.
During my first visit to the group, I was deeply moved by the diverse members’ stories and willingness to share. Among them was a remarkable guy named Simon from Hong Kong. Interestingly, Simon and I lived just a 20-minute walk away from each other. We later discovered that we both attended the same college as well.
Simon is an incredibly talented artist and animator who had previously worked for a magazine in Hong Kong. However, he confided in me that his dream was to publish a book and retain the copyright for his own work. Unfortunately, he believed this dream would remain unattainable, as self-publishing a book is challenging.
After reflecting on his words, I realized I could help make Simon’s dream a reality. I discovered that Amazon offers free book publishing for aspiring and unknown writers. Excitedly, I shared this news with Simon, and we embarked on the journey of creating his book.
Our collaboration began with Simon illustrating while I took on the task of writing the story. We decided to create a children’s book with an educational theme. Titled “Heroes of the Great Adventure,” the book revolves around two friends who share a burning desire to achieve their goals and go to great lengths to make their dreams come true. It is a testament to the power of dreaming and the rewards of hard work. Additionally, we integrated elements from our experiences in the Walk and Talk group, adding intriguing events that take place in a museum.
You can find Simon and Maryna’s book on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0C6BFCPS7?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860