Here is an article from behind the fagots on the journey on foot. Mathieu and Julia leave for a journey of 7000 km explain why you must practice walking on a trip. Indeed, the arguments are there! They give us their advice to try the adventure.
Mathieu and Julia travel as a couple. They travel on foot more precisely. And not just any trip: a crossing of Europe on foot! From Tallinn to Lisbon, Mathieu and Julia walked 7000 km. They tell us why, according to them, you have to try the journey on foot! As well as some tips to get off to a good start!
Traveling by walking, shoes, and backpack can be a crazy idea at a time when every nook and cranny of the globe has become accessible by plane, train, bus or bicycle. But the journey on foot is a unique experience that also has its advantages and reserves some surprises. We have abandoned, for a year, a “normal” life and demanding jobs to go across Europe by walking: 7000 km on foot from Tallinn to Lisbon through 12 countries, to discover another face of the old continent. A Europe of “small steps” that contrasts with the bureaucratic image that we can have. After six months of walking and over 3000 km traveled, here is our feedback on this other way to approach the trip.
A) 4 good reasons to choose the walking trip
Traveling while walking sometimes hurts your feet and back, but it is not (that) masochism: there are many good reasons to walk!
1. Give yourself time for the trip.
On foot, there is no temporal contingency, no “jet lag”, no stress of transport, just the slow pace, the parade of hours and days. After a few weeks, we feel like taking back possession of ourselves.
We do not feel a “culture shock”, which some people may experience when leaving the plane or train, because all transitions are smooth. In a world where everything is always going too fast, going for a walk means offering yourself the luxury of time: take the time to discover, to share.
2. Go beyond the postcard.
When you have all the means of transport at your disposal, you have a natural tendency to “browse” from one site to another, to see the “best” of a country, what others have selected for us. Guides, we all have in our bags when we go on a trip for a few days and it makes our wanderings easier, but the risk is to find ourselves in a vacuum and to see a country as its tourism showcase.
On the other hand, when one crosses an entire country while walking, one necessarily leaves the beaten track: one passes by unknown places, sometimes magnificent, sometimes of less interest. Even if it sometimes damages the postcard, we gain in authenticity, whether in encounters or landscapes.
For example, in Slovenia, we “missed” the beautiful lakes of the Alps, but we were welcomed in the countryside, on farms, sharing for a day or two the daily lives of our guests, discovering life and local food. And Julia learned how to milk cows.
3. Traveling while walking allows the meeting.
You will see, if you travel on foot, you will not be welcomed like any traveler. We are often seen as “nice fools” walking on such a long distance. After these first dubious and curious looks, people often take us in sympathy and struggle to help us. We slept in unlikely places: presbyteries, under barns, in schools, under big white tents with the children of a holiday camp … These are always extraordinary memories, which will certainly make the discussions of our old days!
4. Be happier with less.
When traveling on foot, we have nothing but a backpack with the bare minimum. As for clothing, we have for example only 2 pants, 3 t-shirts, and fleece. Good and a little dress for Julia..fortunately the other 99 remained in the wardrobe. We who like our little comfort in the so-called “normal” life, we really enjoy living with less, it avoids being constantly polluted by material issues and it leaves availability of mind for something else, things and the meetings that make the trip.
The landscapes are “more beautiful” on foot. When one has “conquered” these spaces just with his feet, his determination and his patience, the emotion is increased tenfold. We remember the moment when, with 2000 km on the clock, we arrived at the top of the Tatras at 2,300m above sea level, on the border of Poland and Slovakia, after having climbed for more than two weeks all the massifs of the Carpathian Mountains. It was a very intense moment and we realize that no landscape can resist the determined walker! How good it feels to be your own way of locomotion.