Ja tenim caminats aproximadament uns 10.000 km!
Aquesta distància ens ha permès fer la nostra ruta a través de Tailàndia, Birmània, Bangladesh, Índia, Pamir, Tadjikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Azerbaidjan, Geòrgia i ara estem creuant el nord de Turquia.
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We reached a new milestone! We have walked approximately 10,000 kilometers (about 6,200 miles)!
So far, we walked Thailand, Burma, Bangladesh, India, Pamir, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and now we are walking alongside the Black Sea in northern Turkey.
(English version below)
Doncs ja tenim fets 10.000 km aproximadament (ja fa dies). Insistim en l’aproximadament doncs és difícil comptar tot el que fem.
Aquests 10.000 km inclouen els que fem amb les motxilles entre punt A i B, més els que també caminem amb totes les motxilles quan cerquem allotjament o quan alliberats de tant de pes i lleugers visitem indrets, perseguim visats o fem qualsevol altre tipus de gestió necessària per poder seguir caminant pel món.
Aquesta distància ens ha permès caminar la nostra ruta a través de Tailàndia, Birmània, Bangladesh, Índia, Pamir, Tadjikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Azerbaidjan i Geòrgia.
Al llarg de tots aquests mesos hem estat en diferents estats de salut. Hem estat molt bé, bé, normal, fotuts i força fotuts, però afortunadament fins ara, mai molt malament.
Com ja vàrem fer en l’entrada referida als nostres primers 1.000 km i els nostres primers 5.000 km, aquí deixem un petit repàs de l’estat de la nostra salut i equipament:
(Més detalls a la versió en anglès)
Genolls, cames, esquena i espatlla dreta, sorprenentment bé. Estómac / sistema digestiu, regular. Espatlla esquerra, malament.
Alguns dies, els peus i els turmells van bé, altres dies, malament, depenent de la quantitat d’aigua extra que porta, les sabates i si tenim una vía plana o moltes pujades i baixades.
De totes maneres, l’estat general de salut és d’una sensació de cansament general que no aconsegueix recuperar quan podem dedicar dies a descansar.
Jenn ha canviat molt el seu equipament i segueix en una constant ‘evolució’. Ja després de Tailàndia i el primer mes a Birmània, Jenn va canviar la motxilla gran i va incorporar alguns altres canvis. Després la principal ‘revolució’ arribà quan abans de començar Bangladesh va substituir la motxilla penjant a l’esquena, per portar-ne una de nova amb un munt de coses noves dins, tot sobre un carro agafat a la cintura i sobre una roda. Aquest carro va durar Bangladesh i fins a Benarès (Índia). A partir de llavors ha tornat a penjar-se la motxilla a l’esquena i així segueix fins ara.
Botes: Des del principi del viatge ja porta 7 parells de calçat. L’últim el va comprar entrant a Geòrgia, ara fa un mes i encara està molt bé.
Peus, turmells, genolls, cames, estómac / sistema digestiu i espatlles, sorprenentment bé. La part esquerra del coll, regular. Esquena, normalment fa mal al final del día. Sembla ser el meu punt més dèbil, però entenc que és el cansament normal acumulat al cap de tantes hores de caminar amb una proporció de pes massa alta pel meu pes personal. Ara porto 20 – 22 quilos a sobre i sense saber exactament el meu pes, segur que tot aquest equipament penjant em representa més d’un 40% del meu pes. Això segueix sent masssssssa.
Lluís segueix amb el 80% del mateix equipament amb el que va sortir de casa. El més important que ha canviat han estat les botes (segones en 10.000 quilòmetres), mitjons, una nova tenda de campanya i per encarar el previsible fred al hivern del nord d’Índia, nova jaqueta, samarreta, mitjons tèrmics i gorro. La resta és el mateix.
Botes, les d’ara eren noves en començar Bangladesh i ara ja estan en estat crític. Son el segon parell de botes. El primer va durar uns 3.500 quilòmetres, però aquest, que em va sorprendre agradablement amb el pas dels mesos, ja porta uns 6.500 quilòmetres i estic mirant d’aguantar-lo una mica més, tot i que gairebé ja no em queden soles.
Motxilla: Amb unes quantes reparacions i moltes més cosides per reforçar o tapar forats, segueix aguantant prou bé.
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And, here we are at another big milestone. We have walked about 10,000 kilometers!!
Some days ago, along Turkey’s Black Sea coastline we hit this mark. 10,000 kilometers, about 6,200 miles. We’re here walking it, and I still have a hard time believing it, too.
As with our first 1,000 and 5,000 kilometers, this is an approximation. We don’t walk with our GPS on all day (it would exhaust our cell phone batteries in a couple hours), but we do add up our kilometers every day, measuring and cross-checking distances with Google and Maps.me maps, and, using the tried-and-true low-tech method of counting mile markers along the roads we walk. Our mileage includes walking with our backpacks from Point A to Point B plus the distances we clock when searching for a place to sleep; walking all over cities collecting visas and supplies for our trip, and strolling to places we find interesting along the way.
Where have our feet taken us? So far, since Jan. 16, 2016, we have walked through Thailand, Burma, Pamir, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and part of Turkey.
And, how are we doing? Our states of being range from very good, good, normal, screwed, and completely F*#!ed. Luckily, though, our worst moments have been fleeting or have caused us to readjust and better manage whatever challenges faced us. Thankfully, we have had only one situation that required us to stop for about 8 weeks–my surgery in India in February 2017, which went well and now feels like a long time ago.
Generally, and despite my exhausting, sleepless and heat-induced summer slump, we’re holding up on the bright side of well enough. Here is a brief summary of our health and equipment to date.
My knees, stomach/digestion system and back continue to do surprisingly well.
My feet and ankles shift between feeling strong and feeling screwed, depending on what shoes I’m wearing, how much extra water I’m carrying, and if we are walking on flat terrain or going up and down hills. A pair of boots from India and two only-option-at-the-time pairs of shoes from Iran caused me tons of blisters, calluses and constant soreness near my heels. My latest pair, Salomon’s I bought from a high-quality sporting store in Tbilisi, Georgia are awesome, but my flat feet have an extra wide toe bed and my feet are a little sore on the outside edges below my little toe.
Since early 2016, my left shoulder has been my weakest point, and Tiger Balm is often my quick fix. My right shoulder is in better shape, but I usually end the day with sore hips, especially on the days when I’m carrying 5-6 liters of water and extra food to compensate for the long stretches between towns and water sources.
I try to hang tough mentally, and the change of landscape, seasons and cooler weather has renewed my motivation to continue. However, I still find myself frequently feeling very tired, even after several rest days, and often dwelling on the idea of getting this project finished sooner than later so I could resume my non-walking life. But, the moments when we share smiles with locals and talk to wonderful people are big doses of oxygen that keep me going.
All in all, despite the hard parts, I remain immensely grateful to have a chance to experience the world and its people in this slow-moving way.
I have changed my equipment several times since starting out. It’s proven to be a constant evolution.
I wanted to start with the equipment I had, but it hasn’t been the right mix. There were clothes and backpack changes in the spring of 2016, and again some clothes (shirts, socks and pants) were swapped out in the spring and summer of 2017, mostly to comply with Iran’s dress code for women and better deal with +30-45-degree Celsius heat in India, Iran and Azerbaijan. I also believe in shopping therapy, and a new pair of underwear or socks does wonders for my morale.
The gear experiment continued in the fall of 2016 with a new walking trolley, another backpack, and a backpack harness system, which also meant extra equipment and tools, like an extra wheel, extra axles, screwdrivers and wrenches needed for roadside repairs (which happened now again when the harness screws came unscrewed).
The trolley system, unfortunately, lasted from October 2016 to December 2016. Bangladesh and India proved to be the wrong place to practice being half-pedestrian and half-vehicle. Between the buses, cars, rickshaws, bicycles, mopeds, cows and crowds of people, I struggled constantly with inching out space for me and my trolley. I sent it home from Varanasi, India and returned to hauling the big backpack on my back and day pack on my chest. I’m sure I will find a more suitable place to use the trolley on other trails later in life, but for now, the backpack combination is what I am used to, even if it is also less than ideal.
In September 2016, I also added extra weight in the form of a warmer and more comfortable sleeping bag, a warmer (but lightweight) jacket and some other winter gear we needed in north India last winter, and likely will use for some of the weeks this fall in Turkey.
These changes brought my base backpack weight to about 19-20 kilograms. Some days, when I’m loaded up with extra liters of water, my total weight climbs to 24 or 25 kilos, about 40% of my body weight. It’s waaaaay too much weight, but I have used nearly everything I’m carrying multiple times, except, thankfully, most of the stuff in my medical kit.
Shoes: I’m on my 7th pair. My best pairs last around 2,500 kilometers, and then I start feeling the wear and tear. I retire them, even if they may have some life in them, in the name of keeping my feet as happy as possible.
I mentioned earlier, I had three pairs from India and Iran that were my best-options-at-the-time, but they were terrible and hurt like hell. One pair was meant for cold-weather walking in the north Indian mountains (which we ended up not doing because the roads were closed until late spring), but burned and blistered my feet in Iran’s hot desert in May.
Another pair, a knock-off of a reputable shoe company, cracked beyond repair across the middle after only four weeks of walking, or about 600 kilometers.
And, the third pair, another knock-off which had dreadfully uncomfortable flip-up, metal ice clamps in the middle of the shoes, needed a shoemaker after the first week; we had to desperately find a shoemaker (an adventure all its own with a local man through back alleys and down side streets) to hand-stitch the soles back into to the shoe after they started coming unglued in the middle of the street.
My new Salomons, a brand I have had consistent good luck with, are doing well, but they are slightly too narrow for my wide toe bed; again, like in many places around Asia, sizes and styles of higher-quality brands are limited. For now, these will have to do.
Feet, ankles, knees, legs, stomach/digestion system and shoulders are doing surprisingly well.
The left side of his neck is so-so, and his back, particularly his lumbar area, continues to be his soft spot. He thinks its soreness more than pain, is more related to the normal tiredness of so many hours walking with weight (we typically are out 11 to 12 hours a day). On non-walking days, his back, like my shoulder, doesn’t hurt.
He carries about 20-22 kilos; we don’t know his exact weight right now, but we estimate that his backpacks represent more than 40% of his total body weight, which, again, is way too much! But, he is also struggling with how to cut weight and what items could be left behind.
Lluís continues with about 80% of the things he started out with since we left home. The most important latest changes were new shoes (his second pair in 10,000 kms), new socks, a lighter, more technical tent that is better at withstanding rain and cold, a new jacket, shirt, thermal socks and a hat.
Boots: Like me, he started out with new boots in September in Bangladesh, but they are now in a critical state. His first pair lasted about 3,500 kilometers, but his second, current pair have held out a whooping 6,500 kilometers. He is hoping they last a few more weeks through part of Turkey, and would prefer to replace them over our winter break at home than randomly on the road, but that may be wishful thinking. The soles are falling apart, and he is walking carefully around anything that may make them split into pieces.
Backpack: He has made several repairs, sewing holes and reinforcing the stitching in the hip belt, but it is holding up pretty well.
Several people have asked us how many footsteps we have taken. So, we did some rough estimates, and this is what we came us with.
Lluís loves counting things, and calculated that, for our average walking day, we walk about 33,000 steps each, and so far, since Bangkok, he estimates he has taken 13,150,000 total steps.
I stopped counting these things long ago, but a Facebook conversation with a couple friends got me thinking. So I spent time recently manually counting steps.
In the morning, I have a slightly longer stride and do about 1,350 steps per kilometer. In the afternoon when I’m dragging my feet through smaller steps, I do about 1,450 steps per kilometer. In tunnels, which I hate, I do about 1,200 steps per kilometer. This is fully loaded with 23 or 24 kg on my back walking on asphalt and concrete.
At home without weight, we walk 4.5 -5 km per hour when we have someplace to go. When we are strolling for several hours, we average about 4-4.5 km/hour. On this trip we walk about or 3-3.5 km/hour.
On average we walk 25 to 30 km per day, most days. That means, for me, between 35,000 and 42,000 steps daily.
For the estimated 8,800 kms I have walked on this journey (as of our last count a few days ago), my total steps are somewhere around 12,320,000. Lluís has done 10,000 kms -more or less- and his total steps are +13M. Our distances are different because he walked 4 weeks in India while I was enjoying a meditation class and taking extra time to heal post-surgery; he also closed some gaps on our straight line route that were not important to me, and walked alone for some days when +45C heat in Azerbaijan made me sick and unable to walk.
In the end, “we walk a lot” is our general answer!
Let’s see where the next few thousand kilometers take us as we step closer to home.