Before the walk

A walk from here to there

Update: The walk has begun! You can read the latest here

I’m walking to India, I guess. So what’s the plan? There really isn’t much of a plan. When Hudson asked me I said “the plan is Bristol to Dover, Dover to India” and that’s still true. But there is a rough shape and some of it is here.

The first leg will span much of ‘the Schengen zone’. Visa rules give me only 90 days to cross (on foot) the eight countries on my route that share this one visa, but after that I will be able to slow to a more measured pace. I haven’t checked thoroughly, but I estimate that for those first 90 days I will need to average something around a marathon a day on walking days, crossing through Britain, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia.

Crossing into Bosnia and Herzegovina I leave the Schengen zone, from there I will be free to spend as many days in each country instead of divvied up amongst the whole bloc so I can begin to take more of the time that a place and its people deserve. I don’t mind that initial pressure though, it’s a good impetus, an inconvenient constraint that helps me find the shape of an answer to the otherwise amorphous ‘how?’ that rears its head just as soon as we arrive at an answer to the existential ‘what?’. I curse constraints, but I love them too.

I don’t have a head for planning things, what they call a deficit of attention, so mostly I’ll just wing it. Pack a bag, put shoes on, get walking.

I have managed to write out a list of countries that I may pass through along the way and a few other bits and bobs (See the Scattered notes below), but they’re just scraps, fits and starts. The only thing a journey needs is the will to try, and I’ve got that, everything else is in the margins or the footnotes, ornament and supplement.

Scattered notes

  1. The (possible) list of countries
  2. Reading for the journey
  3. The Via Francigena through France

What does Marmedala mean?

Marmedala was a working title more than anything. It does have meaning, to me anyway, but that meaning is private, a portmanteau of a thought that became a mantra. A ‘working title’ because a walk this long will know many names. Some will linger, others will be transient, thrown off as this idea stretches and mutates, as every idea is bound to when it exits the mind — out of our control and into the real.