By Gill Stewart at
Meet Jules from York – our most Northerly based Franchisee (at the minute!)
We asked him to tell us a bit about himself – read on to get a unique into the mind of the ideal WALX team Member. Passion for walking, Home brewed Beer , love helping others, A walk that ends with Fish n Chips and even a dash of poetry! Find out more from the Man himself!
What was your career path prior to taking a WALX Franchise?
I stumbled into a marketing career many years ago, working for a large mail order company. Since then my career continued in marketing with several large companies, as well as self-employed, often based away from home but always rooted in Yorkshire where I was born, and feel most at home and happy.
A common thread during my career has been relishing the challenge of taking helpful ideas or truly useful products, and making sure people know about it, which is why I remained in marketing so long… and why WALX was so appealing to me too – a great idea that genuinely helps people, and everyone should know about!
What prompted you to make a change?
Several conventional reasons, which are (in no particular order): approaching 50, being fed up with corporate nonsense, no longer wanting to commute or stay away from my family, wanting to build something that I can be proud of, wanting to spend my days doing something I love (hiking and walking), and life events prompting me to re-evaluate my life and reach these conclusions.
How different is it on a scale of 1 – 10 (1 being no different at all!)
Quite different. I’m comfortable with the principles of the marketing and business side of things, but the business model is different to anything I’ve been involved with before. One of the differences will be running classes and leading groups, I’ve only done this in an office before, so it feels scary and exciting in equal doses to be doing it outside with large groups of customers. Overall, I’m a 6 or 7…. But the number drops each week while I work through my WALX diploma, and learn lots of helpful things from the rest of the team.
Name your Favourite WALK
That’s a bit like picking a favourite child, virtually impossible (and quite unfair if you do pick one).
I love hiking in the Lake District, and spent my last birthday prior to COVID on Crinkle Crags (then in the pub afterwards!). I essentially enjoy anywhere that makes you feel small and insignificant compared to the millennia of natural evolution in the landscape, helping you realise the true beauty and tenure of Mother Nature, and helping you put life into perspective (e.g. Cairngorms, Highlands, Dales, Moors, Mountains, etc.). A feeling hard to capture in words, but one most lovers of walking recognise.
However, living on the edge of the North York Moors, I’m very lucky to have hundreds of fantastic walks locally. One of our family favourites is to walk from Ravenscar to Robin Hoods Bay on the Yorkshire heritage coast. You climb down the steep cliff path to be greeted by a friendly colony of seals, then leisurely collect pebbles and fossils on the miles of beautiful beach, to be rewarded with genuine fish & chips in the fantasy-like fishing village of Robins Hoods Bay, with its maze of tiny steep streets of fishermen’s cottages, before strolling back to the car along the crumbling cliff edge, taking in the old Alum mine and brick works. (Robin Hoods Bay is also a haven for long distance walkers, being the end of Wainwright’s coast-to-coast walk).
What do you prefer, Tea or Gin?
Tea. However I am partial to a G&T, but you can’t beat a decent cup of tea. Milk, and no sugar please. (Another pastime when I’m not walking is brewing my own beer, using my miniature microbrewery in my garage…).
How have you found your journey with WALX so far?
It’s been great fun, and I’ve enjoyed learning lots and meeting new people (virtually so far). I’m already appreciating waking up each morning knowing I’m going to enjoy my day because I’m doing what I love. The WALX team have been so supportive, and really patient with me. But the journey isn’t over yet, and often evokes Robert Frost’s poetic line “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference”.
Who (celebrity or not) would you most like to join you on one of your WALX?
I usually have difficulty naming any current celebrities, so I’d pick a travel / nature writer. The authors Robert MacFarlane and Tristan Gooley, would transform any walk into a wonderful adventure full of reverence, and new ways of looking at the world. I’m keen to take some of the things I’ve learnt from reading their books, which have really opened my eyes to our beautiful landscapes in Britain, and incorporate into my WALX to make explorer WALX for my customers even more magical. Having said that, if Robert or Tristan weren’t available, then I’d definitely ask Scarlet Johansen.
If you would like to join Jules on any of his amazing WALX you can find out more HERE