June/July 2011, I took one of the biggest steps in my life. A life changer. A pivotal point. You name it…I decided I will go alone to Spain, and for walk for an average of 30 days from east to west along the Camino de Santiago hiking/pilgrimage trail. My friends thought I was stupid for traveling alone, and for traveling on such a trip. Little did I know, that this exact trip, which lasted 36 days (because I was slow and gathered a slow group to walk together) will change my life forever.
For starters, it taught that traveling alone isn’t just something to read about online…I can actually do it! And of course I learned so many life lessons on that trip that I have wrote about them before on this website. But most of all, it made me get new contacts and make new friends…the kind of friends that will last forever. And for that, I am thankful.
It’s just an unexplainable feeling!
Another thing I learned from this trip/long walk was my love for hiking, my love for being out of the city for days, crossing only small villages and just having a lot of nature all around me with no sound or sight pollution, just the nature and the sound of my feet taking a step after the other, reaching another unknown destination…it’s just an unexplainable feeling.
So, when it was last April and I was talking to my friend Chris – whom I met on the Camino in 2011, and then re-met him several times in Egypt, England, and Scotland – about planning a trip somewhere in Europe, and I was still reluctant about whether I should save my money or spend it on a week trip somewhere (I knew I wanted to travel, but I couldn’t take the step, given the limited holidays and limited savings), he sent me this. That’s all it took, I was hooked.
And that is how I decided I will go hiking again. All those plans of traveling through Eastern Europe, or maybe going to Scandinavia…Dreaming of Iceland…Planning a crazy week in Sri Lanka…I had/have several plans for a week or a 10 days trip, but just seeing this video and remembering our long hikes, I was in!
Things escalated quickly from there, within a couple of weeks, Chris was already buying me the gear that was impossible to find in Egypt (or was extremely over priced when found), from walking shoes to warm clothes and anti-blister socks.
August 5th, I was in Geneva, meeting my friend and heading to Chamonix, to start walking on the 6th! Little did I know that the Tour du Month Blanc is A LOT harder and physically demanding than the Camino de Santiago, but that is for another post. I still loved it. I still love hiking! And now I really know that I could be a long distance hiker one day, just bring on the trails with less climbs, until I quit smoking.
I will write a few posts about this hike, the good and the bad. I will also write about Lyon and Geneva, the two places I spent a few days in after the hike. But for the time being, here’s a teaser image of me standing atop the mountains dividing Italy and Switzerland.
Have you ever been to the alps? Did you hike the Tour du Mont Blanc, or would you like to do it? Are you a hiking fan in general?