✉ Thinking about the shape of the walk

Day 8? Week two!

43.64km/27.12miles/59362 steps (longer stride today!) plus the first day with over a thousand metres of climbing, so not completely flat.

In spite of the sun, today was a black and white sort of day. Very peaceful, the first day of the trip where I didn’t speak to anyone (except them cows). A nod here and there but no interruptions, no conversation, no exchange of meaning either. Today I could almost forget I was in England, or anywhere at all.

I danced in a field and slept for a while, dreamt of dancing in a field of my own one day.

I’ve been thinking about distance, ‘marathon’ having become the yardstick that each day is measured against, and the different ways we all have to answer to our own egos. I like knowing what my body can do, but I’m realising there’s only so much this walk can teach me about my body that I haven’t already learnt in the outback or in the mountains. And I knew that I guess. This walk is one for the mind, bigger within than without, focused on finding space, not just obliterating it (the marathons).

It’s not just about finding space though, if it was I wouldn’t be walking the whole way, I’d take a train to somewhere far away and then walk until I found a bit of quiet where I could just sit. This walking is about wearing down the ego, chasing after that vulnerability that happens when the body is used and the mind is too. Liminal space, child-like, open, malleable. Liminal because it treads a path between feeling totally full/fulfilled and wholly vacant. And trying to do that in two dozen countries where I don’t speak the language. More levers of vulnerability.

Maybe that’s why I’m managing to stick with these daily updates — tapping them out at the end of the day, when I’m tired and sore, no time to edit or proof read. It’s another vulnerability. Even if I re-read my message in the morning and think “what’d ya write that for, ya clown”, it’s already out there, and I like that.

Lots of people have asked me how long I expect the walk to take and I’ve tended to say two years or so. I’d like to be walking for that long. Not solidly necessarily, I will stop at some point in the winter and resume in the spring, but two years is neither an upper or a lower bound. Some days I think I could walk forever, others I think this might be my last big trip. Both may yet be true.

I think that’s why I’m vague, cagey even, about the ‘how long’. Maybe nine months, maybe three years. I think I’ll know when it’s over, but I don’t know the when/where/who I’ll be then. I’m gonna sleep now, before my delirious brain gets even more carried away. Enjoy your walks, wherever they take you xx