I want to be on the road. Wander around with everything I need on my back. Being outside, outdoors, sleeping in a tent and strolling through nature. That’s when I feel best. That’s when I feel free. And all the other things will come as they do. What things? I don’t exactly know, I’ll find out along the way.
A slow walk
I stick to walking for a while. Nice and slow. Nothing complicated. A slow trekking from Amsterdam to Zagreb. No tight schedule, not really a plan and absolutely no hurry. Just a walk through the fields and the woods, over the hills, bigger hills and then via the Alps to the Dinarides. I’m going to walk my green way back to the Balkans.
I’ll write, share my experiences through stories, but also all the other thought-frills, the wonder & ponder journal kind of writings. Why? Because I want to. Because I like doing it. Writing and walking goes together for me. Both make me feel calm and peaceful. Quiet. I choose for the personal style, because I somehow feel the need to tell the story behind the scenes. The story behind the photo. The funny and hilarious, but also the difficult moments. UPS & downs. It’s all part of the game and it’s the whole package that makes it beautiful. And real.
Big plans, small steps
I’ll start in Amsterdam where I follow a Pilgrims path to ‘s-Hertogenbosch and further down south to Limburg and Belgium. In Liege I hop on the GR 57 (Vallée de l”Ourthe et Sentier du Nord) all the way to Luxembourg. After that I’ll have to improvise a bit. I’m trying to connect different European hiking trails, Pilgrims routes, nature paths and other regional trails to find my way through Germany. Towards the Bodensee. From there on, it’s serious stuff. Via Alpina Red Trail stuff.
After the Alps comes the Dinaric Alps. Although I haven’t got a clue when I’ll be there and how I will feel about the whole project, but for now the plan is to continue through Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina. And yes, with the Via Dinarica Green Trail. Or parts of it. Via Dinarica Croatia has a GPS track online and I created my own route for the Slovenian part. I know that the Terra Dinarica team is pretty busy with the Bosnian section of the Green Trail, so by the time I’m there, it could be finished 😉
I’m thinking of exploring the last part of the Green Trail on my touring bike. From Bihać I head towards Sarajevo (where I have my bike waiting for me), after that I cycle a bit around Bosnia and Herzegovina and then I will finally go to Zagreb. Where I ended last year. Well, if that isn’t a nice new adventure…
How do finance a trip like this?
That’s what many people ask me. First of all, I try to spend as less as possible. I sleep in my tent, use my feet to move around and I use second hand, self-produced and sponsored gear. Besides that, I write here and there an article that pays me just enough to buy food. But there is more.
From now on I will also write letters which you can order for yourself or as a gift to someone else. Handwritten letters full of stories, (funny) experiences and reflections. Although my blogs are personal, I often got the feeling a lot of it gets lost when I replace my handwriting with the computer-keyboard letters. Besides that, it’s great fun to receive real mail from an unknown destination in your real real mailbox?!
Well, that’s about it. Big plans, small steps.
My new adventure starts tomorrow in my hometown, Amsterdam. I love the idea to step out of your front door and let the journey begin from that exact same moment. I have to confess that walking a long distance trail in the Netherlands feels a bit strange. It’s so close to everything and everyone I know. It is all so familiar and at the same time so new. I feel uncomfortable about secretly bivouacking, that’s why I will try a different approach.
The Balkans are well known for their hospitality, it is never difficult to find a place to sleep. Funny enough this feels like the biggest challenge here in the Netherlands. But honestly I can’t really tell, so far I always stayed on campsites. I guess it is about time to find out what it is like to be a pilgrim in my own country.. It’s time to experience the Dutch hospitality. I’ll keep you posted!