Beautiful tree

Why We Walk

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Aquí teniu el post en Català. 

We spent lots of time this summer mulling over really big stuff about our upcoming walk, almost to the point of mind-numbing overwhelm. So we’re shifting gears and getting back to basics of why we’re jumping into this huge adventure and tackling all the practical things that have to be done before we head to Bangkok.

We’ll talk about the nitty gritty details in other posts, but, for now, let’s settle up the questions people immediately ask when they hear about our 14,000 kilometer hike through Asia and Europe, “Why are you walking?  Wouldn’t it just be easier to take a bus or a train?”

If you are a walker, you’ll appreciate this. If you aren’t, maybe you’ll become one soon. Walking comes with an immediate payback: You become closer to the earth when you walk. It doesn’t matter if you walk in cities, through forests, up mountains, along the coast, near a river or around national or neighborhood parks. Walk long enough, and your appreciation for everything you see, hear, smell and touch grows.

Our joy of walking, which shows up in a variety of ways on different trips and in our everyday lives, appeared quite distinctively during our 600-kilometer GR 92 hike in June 2014. Walking for long stretches alone in the woods turned us into tree huggers, literally. We loved trees and nature before then, but we never felt compelled to embarrass ourselves by embracing them publicly.

A switch flipped on this trip. We had uncontrollable impulses to stroll up to a tree, throw our arms around it and say, “Thank you for being here.” We did this often whenever the mood struck during the day, and especially in the hardest moments when we struggled to put one foot in front of the other.

Each time we shared tree love something magical happened. We like to believe the trees hugged us back, and whispered, “Thanks for noticing us. We see you, too.” We imagined the trees winking at us, and giving us the secret handshake only a select few are keen enough to understand.  Now we hug trees whenever we want, and we don’t care if anyone else is watching. There’s no way back once you start having an intimate dialog with the amazing world around us and you know what it feels like to have silent giants guarding over you.

Jenn hugs a tree.
Discovering how good it feels to hug a tree.

Because of experiences like that,  walking has become our touchstone, and we’ll have lots more to say about that as the road rises up to greet us. Suffice to say, walking has changed us in subtle ways, like we notice trees we failed to notice before. It has also moved us in profound ways we have yet to put words around. Walking opens doors into places we wouldn’t have seen otherwise, and invites us into conversations with people we never expected to meet. It connects us to the earth, and, by default, connects us to our own essence. And, that’s something we don’t think we can get on a bus or train. So we’ll walk on. We’ll walk out of Bangkok, and eventually we’ll walk home to Barcelona. Because…that’s what we do. We walk.

Be warned. Walking may do something to you, too. Go ahead, try it, and see what enchanting spell you fall under when you start walking the earth.

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