When undertaking an adventure like I am, it is nice to have some good advice from other people. There are two kinds of people I especially value the advice and opinion of. People who really know me, and people who have gone before me.

Sometimes however, I have to rely on the advice of complete strangers. How do I know how to value their advice? For example when I was buying documentation of the route. I have the route I want to walk very clear in mind. I know what cities to walk through, what countries I want to visit. The shopkeeper advised me strongly to walk through France to Rome and take the boat to Albania from there. That would be much easier as that route is marked and described recently. He kept bringing books and maps, until I told him I would stick with my original idea. He went to his computer and did not pay attention to me anymore. He was willing to help me only on his terms.

When do I follow the advice of other people, and when do I have to be determined and stick with my own ideas? Maybe the shopkeeper, who really seemed to know what he was talking about, is right. When I enter unknown territory during the hike and have nothing else to go by than the advice of others and my own intuition. How will I value these two? This is an interesting question because it has not only to do with this trip of mine. Everyone will encounter situations in their lives where other peoples advice runs counterintuitive compared to their own feelings. The art is to really understand what feels best. I know I am learning in this. I am very determined about this trip, and nothing is going to hold me back. But still I need to be open to everything the comes along my way. Finding the balance almost feels like a circus act.

The last couple of days really tested my determination. Not only in a mental way, but also emotionally. Do I really want to leave everything I have, or can have, behind for the time to come? Is this the right time to go, or should I stay here and build a new life? In answer of all these questions the mind does sometimes say: ‘Stay. You know this place. Your friends are here. Your family is here. You feel at home here, why leave?’ But the heart wants to go. And I have decided to follow the heart for a while.