What happens when you walk 500 miles across France?
Meet Konrad, my inspiring client! A couple years ago, Konrad came to me with an ambitious goal: To prepare for an epic, 7-week-long, backpacking trek through Europe on the Via Francigena. His plan? To wait 12-15 miles per day through the beautiful English / French / Swiss countryside, solo, all the way to the Alps. (I know-- If that's not #LifeGoals, what is??)
Konrad was in his 60s and had never been to a gym. He had a history of knee issues, but he was determined not to let that limit his dream. He trained dutifully, gradually building his knees up to the challenge with a weighted backpack.
Then COVID hit, and his plans to fly to Europe were temporarily thwarted. But did he give up? Certainly not! He kept on training for the moment he could finally realize his dream.
That moment was this spring! Earth Day, to be exact. With boots laced up, and a baguette strapped to his backpack with an exercise band (really!), Konrad set out to walk across France. AND HE DID IT.
He saw breathtaking scenery. He met interesting people-- fellow travelers on the trail. He exceeded his own expectations about his body’s resilience.
He experienced the transformational sense of being a part of the pilgrimage that so many others have made throughout history. It was the fruition of all his efforts taken toward that lofty, lifechanging goal he set years ago.
To my delight, he was gracious enough to share some of his tales along the road with me, so I could experience them vicariously!
[If you’d like to read a few of Konrad’s trailside musings, see the caption below!] Reading them, I have never been prouder of a client or a friend.
Thank you, Konrad, for inspiring all of us to go after our dreams. And congratulations! Tu l'as fait! You did it!
“I love the feeling of walking on a path that hundreds of thousands of people, no, more likely over a million, have walked intentionally for more than a millennium. It’s strange, but at times you do feel their presence and the strength of their resolve. […] You feel like beads in this rosary stretching from Canterbury to Rome.”
“I don’t feel alone or lonely when I walk. I am immersed in taking in the landscape, in being stopped in my tracks by the beauty of the colors around me, or by an orchid next to the trail, or by a caterpillar dancing, seemingly in mid-air. I am captivated by the smell of canola, of grape vines, of cool mornings and humid afternoons. I am mesmerized by the sound of birds or the absence of sound in a cathedral.”
“I like the pace of the days, timing my walk to meet the time of opening for where I am staying. And when I arrive, I am so happy after my shower and when I have put on my sandals and non-walking clothes. There is little that I am wanting. […] Well, there is always something you are going to forget – and mine was moleskin. So you improvise. […] And then when you get to a pharmacy, you find better than you get at home. It’s working. I have blisters but no walking pain. The trail provides.”
The roads go ever on and on, and I must follow, where they lead me, I do not know, but I will embrace, come what may, along the way. -Bilbo Baggins.

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