Tomorrow I’ll be leaving Germany. The last two weeks here were really great. The days blurred together in a space where there was no difference between past, present and future or dreams, thoughts and reality. All felt the same.
I remember clearly the moment when past and future did not exist anymore. I walked through the fields, uphill into the woods, when a man came to me. “Wo kommst du her?” He asked. “Where are you from?” For a moment I didn’t know what to say. So I said I just had lunch in a hotel called Bayern Wald. That did not satisfy the man, so I had to think again. But I couldn’t remember where I woke up that morning. “Where did you start?”, he asked me. It only then occurred to me to tell him I was Dutch. The logical next question was: ” Where are you going?” “Keine anhung”, I was forced to say. “No idea.” I really had no idea. I let the exact planning of my days go a week before and decided just to walk till I find a nice place to set up camp, or till I’m tired. So I was unable to answer these simple questions of the man. I just knew what direction a had to go, but all the rest, just freedom…
In this state I do have to make decisions though. As I’m in Passau now, do I walk along the Danube to Vienna, taking me 10 days, or via the E8 trail, taking me 35 days at least? I decided for the first. The way to Istanbul will be long enough without following the E8 and the eastern countries are calling me. So it will be two weeks of tarmac and bikes, water and paid for campsites, but I do trust it will be two great weeks nonetheless. Some of my friends will be waiting for me around there, and I’ll probably let myself buy some new shoes, so all the motivation is there!
I’m sure my friends will see a changed Thomas. When I think back on how I left, as one big mess, moving but not walking, looking but not seeing, hearing but not listening and wanting things to be different. I still have thoughts about the past and all that happened, not all of them positive. I still sometimes struggle with putting everything into place and have peace with it. I do still sometimes feel worthless and set aside. But these thoughts do not dominate anything anymore. They are there, I notice them as I just continue setting one foot in front of the other. With each step, change happens and I witness it all. When I look in a mirror and see the hairs on my chin are slowly starting to earn the title of beard, and I see the down of my sleeping bag in the hairs of my legs at lunch, I need (almost) nothing else. This is the feeling of pure happiness I wish all of you could experience!
56 days later, some facts
As I’m 55 days on my way tomorrow, just a day short of 8 weeks, it’s time to give you some facts again. I have walked 1380.7km to where I am. That’s 25.6km on average. Not counting my days of rest (6 so far) on a average day of walking I make around 28.7km. I set a new record last week, it now stands on 37.5km. Of the 54 nights so far, I slept 43 times in my tent, 13 times with people, in shelters, in hotels or something similar. I paid for 9 nights.
Want me to count anything the coming 4 weeks? Let me know!