This is me in Finisterre – the end of the world after a four weeks walk through northern Spain on the St. James Way.
Long time ago I put this walk on my bucket list. Not because I was a hiker and I wanted to walk but rather because I divined that this was a chance to get some bad things out of my system and that this walk will lead to a more resilient, more waterproof and breathable Me. Mentally and physically. Did it work? Yes and No. I’m still on it.
I gave my phone to a stranger to take this picture because I knew that this was an important moment. I stood there and thought about the 4 weeks and the 740 kilometers I walked and I was infinitely sad because I was now forced to stop walking. There were days on the way, where that was unimaginable. I couldn’t imagine that I will be able to stop. Ever.
However, some days later I took my plane back to Berlin. It felt strange at first to be back to reality, to this walk-in closet called normal life, full of stuff. After a while it became normal again. I went to work, I saw my friends and my family, I did stuff. But something happened. I had another approach to nature, to being on my own, to silence. I felt the hiker’s high. The naked feet on the ground after a long day of walk. Like they take roots. Like the red cheeks of a child after a long cold day playing outside. The comfort of not having to be under a roof. This deep happiness inside.
Since, I feel the urge to be out in the woods.
The road in the end taking the path the sun had taken,
into the western sea, and the moon rising behind you
as you stood where ground turned to ocean: no way
to your future now but the way your shadow could take,
walking before you across water, going where shadows go,
no way to make sense of a world that wouldn’t let you pass
except to call and end to the way you had come,
to take out each frayed letter you brought
and light their illumined corners, and to read
them as they drifted through the western light;
to empty your bags; to sort this and to leave that;
to promise what you needed to promise all along,
and to abandon the shoes that had brought you here
right at the water’s edge, not because you had given up
but because now, you would find a different way to tread,
and because, through it all, part of you could still walk on,
no matter how, over the waves.
– David Whyte