What you are capable of

When you are tired and your feet are throbbing from the forty thousandth step and the fourteen kilos loaded on your back.

When your hips muscles spasm rebelling against the thirtieth kilometre you have walked today alone.

When your body is crying its song of pain only you can hear and begging that you stop.

You do not.

You question why you do this day after day and if it is the only way to find what you seek.

But each morning you still wake to walk, and you keep going until you reach the place you know you must be to find shelter and warmth and nourishment to thank your body for its service despite its complaints.

As you pass through another village, the chalky smoke of old fires burning invoke desire for rest.

The dark whispers tell you that it’s okay to stop, that you can quit and just go home.

But your spirit surges through your heart, strong and determined.

It tells you, laughing kindly, that you still don't know what you are fully capable of and you will never know if you skirt the flames.

You did not come into this world to live easy.

You came into this world to find out who you are and to discover the enormity of your own power.

You came into this world, to live this ordinary human life extraordinarily.

Why walk thousands of kilometres at 4 km/h? Watch my Via Francigena video to see why

Why walk thousands of kilometres at 4 km/h?  Watch my Via Francigena video to see why
"But in every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” — John Muir

Back in my career-focused days, I rarely paid attention to the natural world around me. I spent a lot of time indoors: in the office, in airports, in shopping centres, in the lounge room watching television. I rushed from place to place not seeing anything but the next appointment or event ahead of me. In my rushing, I was not only disconnected from the nature of the world around me but also from myself.

Then, I went to Thailand on my 12-month sabbatical where my life instantly slowed down. On my first night in Phuket, I experienced this sunset...

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What are the possibilities?

What are the possibilities?
"If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you will see obstacles." — Wayne Dyer

Since early November, I have been exploring the way I might walk from Rome to Jerusalem. Whilst I’m not planning an exact daily route — that will take care of itself when I start walking — I just want a reasonably accurate estimate of how many days it might take me to walk the whole way to know if what I am planning is feasible, especially for the European Schengen countries where I am restricted to staying 90 days stay in a 6-month period.

I have been feeling very excited about the possibility of starting my pilgrimage from my dear friend Ina’s house who lives near Augsburg, Germany and following the Via Romea Germancia to Rome then continuing to Jerusalem as originally planned. It sounded great in theory until I started getting into the detail and asking questions then I hit major roadblocks.

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365 days: an anniversary and a countdown

365 days: an anniversary and a countdown
"I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." — John Muir

365 days ago,  I arrived in Canterbury to take my first steps along the Via Francigena to Rome, unsure of what lay ahead and if I would be able to make it to Rome within the 90-day visa period but knowing I had to try.

Every morning for 77 day I got up, stiff and crippled by pain until my body relaxed, then packed and set off in wonder of the unknown world to find my way to the next town.

I knew what I was doing - walking to Rome, but it still felt surreal. In some ways it was as simple as taking step after step, day after day, until eventually I found myself in Rome.

That’s life isn’t it? We get up each day and do the best we can and then one day we arrive at the end of our lives.

When I first thought of really, actually going and walking the route alone, I had a lot of fearful thoughts giving me every reason why I shouldn’t go: I had never walked a pilgrimage trail before. I wasn’t a hiker. I hadn’t planned on doing it now. It was just a dream in a maybe never physically actually doing it kind of way. I hadn’t saved for it. My savings would have to drop way below my comfort level to fund it. I had no idea what I was doing.

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The Return

The Return
“It is a strange thing to come home.  While yet on the journey, you cannot at all realise how strange it will be” – Selm Lagerlof (1858 – 1940)

It’s been a wild ride since I returned to Melbourne 7 months ago and my pilgrimage officially ended. Transitioning between vastly different lifestyles – one free-spirited, in nature, wandering, free – the other city-based, urban, corporate with contracted responsibilities – it’s not easy or instant.

Just like transplanting a plant from one pot to another can be traumatic for the plant, the change in cultures and way of life can be overwhelming for the highly sensitive person. The plant needs low light, regular watering and time for the roots to settle.  So do we sensitive ones.

My first instinct was to run for my life and get out of Melbourne. Then my second instinct was to go back to everything I knew that felt comfortable. Having packed up and left then returned four times now, I knew I just needed to follow my own ebb and flow; to breathe, watch, feel the sadness and the joy, inviting a new way of being as I allowed my roots to re-settle.

For the first few days I didn’t leave my sister’s house. When I eventually did, it was to spend time with close friends or in my sacred place in nature, to walk and reconnect with the earth beneath my feet.

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