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Meet The Grenadier Walk of Oman Team - Sean Gane

Introducing Walk of Oman Team Member, Sean, who tells us about what he most misses about serving in the military, and what he thinks the biggest challenges will be from the upcoming expedition.


Introducing Walk of Oman Team Member, Sean, who tells us about what he most misses about serving in the military, and what he thinks the biggest challenges will be from the upcoming expedition.

Why did you sign up to serve?

I tried to join in 1982 (as a cadet) I was living in Farnborough just down the road from Aldershot, I watched the Paras pack up and go down south and then come back. As a young lad, I thought these guys were superhuman, carrying all that kit tabbing that far and fighting a battle at the end which they won...wow! So that was me sold, from that point on. 

What positive aspect/s can you take out of Service that you feel you can carry with you through life?

One of the main things with the Armed Forces is common courtesies and respect are in-built into you. And most of the guys that I know carry it forward to civilian life. Whether you like the person or not, you respect their rank. People have commented on that in the past, they know that I’ve served in the military by the way that I talk and greet others.

Are there any aspects of Service that you miss?

Absolutely. Camaraderie and the trust. You might not like the person that you are working with, but you trust that they will have your back. When I was serving in the Infantry, it was important to know that the person serving alongside you will support you.

I also miss the team and shared experience. That is why I’m excited to get out to Oman with the Walk of Oman team. Even though we are strangers, we have the shared experience of serving and knowledge and sense of humour that brings us together.

What skills will you bring to the team?

Skills wise, I think we pick up a lot of 'untrained' stuff. The ‘get on and do it’ without being asked, little moaning about rough living (air mats are 5*), the motivation for yourself and the team to get 'it' done as well, I notice that is sadly lacking in the outside world.  Having served as an Infantryman, I’ve learnt the ‘Infantier’ way of things- we’re used to spending time on our feet and finding tricks to help us cope.

Practical skills would be things like my medical training, cooking, physical willingness/ability also if things break, we generally can fix most things with zip ties and duct tape!

Why have you chosen to support WWTW?

I have worked alongside WWTW for years, signposting people to the charity on our courses as well as the employment side of things. I recently received support from WWTW when my role at my previous employer was made redundant.  I contacted Tony, an Employment Advisor after working with him for a number of years, he has supported me and has been working on roles and courses for me.

Why did you sign up to take part?

I struggle with motivation and events like this give me a pull and the momentum to move me onwards, I find it has a very positive effect in family and work-life. Working in the 'small team' environment is also a powerful and missed part of my life. This sort of thing is a life memory, a shared experience that you can draw on in the future, something many read about, but few do, and I love that kind of challenge - mental and physical.

How did you find Selection Week? Were any aspects tougher than expected?

Selection week was good! It is always hard to acquaint what you’re going to be doing with where you’re actually going. For example, selection week took part in the Lake District, but come November, we will be walking across Oman. That said, most of us who have served are used to that- being issued summer kit and then training in cold weather conditions- you just get on with it.

On my last tour, we were on a summer tour in Afghanistan, but training for it in Northumberland in the winter. But, I love being outdoors, so I was very much in my element. 

How are you preparing for the challenge?

I have been following a training programme (App form) as well as regular walks with my dog, these have been extended and I have added weight to the walk every other day. Dale has sent some new ideas to me recently and I will be incorporating some of this into my weekly plan.

What are you most looking forward to?

I LOVE being outdoors, the experience of being with a bunch of like-minded people in a rarely visited part of the world with the possibility of seeing some very rare wildlife that is only found in this region, is a little exciting (you might have noticed that). The history of the country and Britain's connections are also interesting, having read books about places like Mirbat and Jebel Akhdar I am keen to see the country and people for myself, to get a 'feel' for the place.

What does it mean to you to be walking with other ex-military servicemen across Oman?

It means a lot, coming together again with a common goal- to get to the finish line. I also know that everyone on the team will do whatever they can to get to the finish line. Everyone has their own personal challenge, but it’s also about what it means for the veteran community.

There’s a lot of guys in the veteran community, who like me, felt or feel as if they are the only ones going through the experience of adjusting from a life in the military.  I’ve heard it, seen it and felt it. If this challenge helps someone to know that there is a life after the military, no matter their injury- mental or physical- then I’ll be happy.

There is a friend of mine who is a double amputee who is currently half-way up the Matterhorn Mountain. This shows that you can still achieve whatever you put your mind to, you just need to believe in yourself.

Describe where you were 3 years ago

Employed, positive and productive.  

Describe where you are now

Struggling. I’ve lost my sense of direction, but this expedition has given me a goal to work towards.

Inspired by Sean's story? Follow the journey www.walkofoman.co.uk