Some of my most treasured childhood memories are those of me accompanying my grandparents on long weekend hikes and walks. From the early age of five they took me with them and we ventured far and wide across Switzerland on regular hikes.
My grandparents belonged to a walking club and it was customary for everyone to meet during spring, summer and autumn weekends for full-day hiking trips. Sometimes we spent the night in an alpine hut and hiked on Sundays too before making our way home by train.
We walked across alpine meadows, teeming with wildflowers and bird song. We traversed green farming pastures and crossed forest-clad valleys — all for the purpose of enjoyment, community, friendship and being outdoors.
I still remember clearly how I was often tied to an adult because the path we climbed was incredibly narrow, right next to steep chasms, and so quite dangerous for an unpredictable young child.
Due to my upbringing I guess I took to walking long distances quite naturally. I love being in nature and enjoy the physical sensation of walking and hiking. I’m no fitness nut by any means. In fact, I hate workouts, gyms, the idea of a fitness regime and daily exercise.
I have always had a deep love for walking and hiking.
I find it soothing, calming for my mind and it helps me to stay fit. When I walk often I am generally much fitter and so happier with my body shape. It feels great to fit into my favourite clothes without cringing or trying to suck in my tummy.
So when my good friend Julie told me about the Camino back in 2012 I was intrigued. The idea of walking for a whole month (and more) sounded great, although a little nutty at first. And yet, the seed was planted and my dream of maybe walking the Camino one day was never far from my mind.
I’m no stranger to doing bigger walks in my adult life either. Nor is John.
A few years back John and I walked the Queen Charlotte track in New Zealand — 80km over 5 days. We also climbed Cradle Mountain in Tasmania from the lodge and walked all the way back in the same day. That’s no small feat, even for the fittest amongst us!
Plus we were crazy enough to hike up an active volcano on the north island of New Zealand — Mount Ngauruhoe (http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/central-north-island/places/tongariro-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/mount-ngauruhoe-summit-climb/)
That was one crazy day because we never left the parking lot until after 3pm! Talk about being crazy ass stupid! Sure enough, half way up the mountain we found ourselves enveloped in thick fog and clouds — we couldn’t see a thing and some people had to be rescued off the mountain because they fell and got hurt. But young (+ stupid) as we were we kept on pushing on.
Thankfully, we made it to the top and were rewarded with spectacular views. Plus the descent was fun. We put socks on our hands and half run — half hopped kangaroo-style down the mountain through the volcanic ash. Very cool indeed.
We both love hiking and walking . So now that we’re location independent (homeless by choice) we are following the call of the Camino.
This is an account of my personal experience — the good, the bad and the awesome! Sit back, relax and spark that dream to follow in our footsteps or simply enjoy the journey from the sidelines.
Thanks for tuning in.