POST-CAMINO: EXPLORING THE UNKNOWN AND CULTIVATING COURAGE

The two year mark has passed. On the first of March 2018, I embarked on my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Two years later, welcome or not, this moment provokes the need for reflection.

Moments like these force me to take a step back and observe what’s really going on. Not just here on whenawayfarer.com or on Instagram, but also in the rest of my life or, at least, the direction in which I’m heading.

Contemplative times usually lead to posts like these. Especially, when I’ve encountered some sort of internal blockage, and am uncertain about where it is that my personal journey is heading towards.

Taking a snapshot now, it looks like things have shifted on a subconscious level, that there is a strong longing to change direction… however, on a conscious level I’ve not yet surrendered to this process of transformation.

This is closely related to something that happened during my silent retreat last month, when an idea from the past revisted.

It’s an idea that keeps recurring. It’s involves researching, exploration and creation, as well as a level of vulnerability. Up until now, I haven’t had the courage, or the resources to proceed with this idea. Thinking about it gives me all the feels, as it is so closely related to my interests and my own journey through life.

Completely re-immersed into the chaos of the forty-hour work week and celebrating the magic of the everyday, the idea ebbed away. Looking back now, I realise that was exactly when a certain feeling of unease made its appearance.

Last night, returning home from having to work this weekend, I was writing down some thoughts and the idea popped back into my mind. Like an unexpected guest, knocking on the door late at night.

Perhaps it’s time to finally let this unforeseen visitor in, to explore the unknown, and cultivate the courage to do that which is so close to my heart. In the same manner, as in March 2018, I embarked on a journey that would take me to the end of the world in 111 days. Unsure of how it would turn out, yet determined to try it anyway.

To be continued.

Love,

PS. In case you are looking for more information on the Via Tolosana (GR653), check out my IG. I’m currently sharing my journey there!

SLOWING DOWN TO MOVE FORWARD

As of late, I’ve come to realise that doing more is not always having the desired effect. Today, I share some mindful musings on slowing down in order to move forward.

I was working at home when all of a sudden the light went out. Power outage. Probably a planned one, but I’d never taken the time to read the letter I received from my electricity company. I sat in the dark and noticed my laptop only had a few percent left. I felt a sense of relief – like someone had pressed the stop button and I’d been given permission to slow down.

I could’ve pressed that stop button myself too. I just couldn’t figure it out… When is it too much?

A full-time job, writing for my blog, daily IG-posts, starting a coaching course, a long-distance relationship, weekly coaching sessions, training for a 10k run, yoga and meditation practice, fun with friends and the odd moments of relaxation. These extremely awesome but rather time-consuming activities are frequently enriched with a load of extra’s: books to finish, blogs to read, a language to learn, software to master and so on…

For a while it was fine, as I was doing about half of the above listed activities. At the moment, it looks like I’m trying to juggle all of them in a single week. It’s not that I don’t like doing these things, I love doing them! That’s precisely part of the problem; these things are important to me, yet trying to do all of them means not being able to give them the proper attention they require.

Trying to complete a large list of activities, seems to increasingly create a feeling of not doing enough, thus trying to run harder and feeling depleted or unsatisfied. The rush takes over and the day seems to revolve more and more around getting things done, and less about moving forward.

Slowing down, but moving forward.

And then it dawned on me that moving forward might mean slowing down.

Slowing down implies taking the time to pause and reflect before you take the next step. Pausing creates space for you to choose that which is right for you at this very moment. It gives you a moment to choose that which will allow you to move forward.

As a forced pause, the power outage gave me the nudge I needed. It’s been too much.

I’m going to slow down for a while here on whenawayfarer.com. Shifting from a slightly rushed weekly to a more intentional bi-weekly post. Creating a little more space to experience more fully and create more mindfully.

Slowing down, but moving forward.

Love,

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THE PILGRIMAGE CONTINUES: MY JOURNEY TO BECOMING A COACH

As I wrote something about my newfound journey to becoming a coach on Instagram, I guessed a little post about this joyous continuation of my personal pilgrimage was in order. So here it is!

In July 2018, I returned home after wayfaring about 1800 kilometres through Europe. This pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela had a profound impact on my life, guiding me till this very day. Since my return, I’ve done some shorter walks in the Netherlands and Germany, and this year April, I decided to walk the West Highland Way. Although way shorter, this too was an intense experience.

The big hikes, as well as the shorter ones in between, made me realise how powerful walking truly is. The movement itself is so simple, yet the effect of it so strong. When walking, the body and mind rearrange, creating space for emotions and thoughts that are ready to present themselves. Add nature, and one has found the perfect environment that allows us to observe this transformative process.

The more I talked to those around me about my experiences on the trail, the more I realised that others too (at times unknowingly) used walking as a way to observe and alter their own life stories. Guiding others in this process, helping them to discover their own unique path and allowing them to flourish and grow, would be something close to a dream.

In August, I took the first steps in realising this aspiration, and commenced a coaching course which focuses on walking in nature as the main coaching method. The past weeks, I’ve been learning a mountain of things already! Eager to share, so I’ve decided to start incorporating some practical tips, ideas and insights I’ve gained from my course on whenawayfarer.com. Subscribe to the newsletter at the end of this article to receive the latest updates.

When looking back on the past few years, I would’ve never thought I’d end up here. Good thing is, I’m pretty sure that I’m exactly where I need to be right now.

Love,

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RETHINKING DECISIONS: WHY IT’S OK TO CHANGE YOUR MIND

I messed up. I didn’t think. I just came up with something and did it. Sounds familiar? Of course it does, you’re human!

A while ago, I wrote something about the new direction I wanted to take with my website. I’d been reading and writing more Dutch and thought it was a brilliant idea to revisit this (at times unattainable) part of myself. Likewise, I was curious to find out if there were other Dutch-speaking adventurers and seekers around. Let’s do this, I thought. I wrote some Dutch posts, I posted them and shuffled some stuff around on my website.

And then, all of a sudden, it hit me. This wasn’t it. The measures I took, where not leading me to that which I wanted to obtain. On the contrary! I felt further removed from myself than ever, and lost my connection to the adventurers and seekers I had been writing for. I was walking into the wrong direction – I lost my way. I panicked. What am I doing?! How did I end up here?

Once the panic subsided and I had a think, I decided on the following: I made a big fat mistake, I’d totally changed my mind… and it was totally fine! You know why? I could just turn around, walk back to where I came from and choose to head into another direction.

We are made to seek, explore and wander. The physical road we walk might be linear but the journey inside is rarely straight.

Changing your mind is often conceived as something negative, you become “unreliable” or “ambiguous”. Although the first judgement towards myself was indeed one of dislike, my second reaction was encouraging.

We are made to seek, explore and wander. The physical road we walk might be linear but the journey inside is rarely straight. Encourage yourself to rethink decisions, to choose something different. As in that different choice you might actually encounter that which you were really seeking.

when a wayfarer will be brought back to what I intended it to be – a fixed place to return to when wandering through life… English only 😉

Love,

Let’s wander together ♥

ENDLESS APPETITE: THE SECOND HIKE

Distance: 22.2 km
Moving time: 4:21:58
Pace: 11:48/km

Day two (here you can read about day one). This second day I took a bus to Park De Hoge Veluwe, a national park in the East of the Netherlands with an extensive network of walking and cycling routes that take you through some amazing Dutch nature. At first, this second day of my hiking venture seemed to go into a similar direction as the day one. The weather was crap, I started hiking in the wrong direction and there were moments I really doubted my ability to walk another kilometre let alone two. Lacking the pack made things a little lighter, however, I was so keen to finish twenty kilometres and experience how my body felt afterwards that it turned out to be pretty hard albeit the absence of the pack.

The night before I roamed the Internet for blister solutions, yet the supermarket did not sell the blister equipment that I wanted so I bought the extremely expensive blister bandages and pre-bandage my feet. In the first five kilometres, new hot spots appeared and I was forced to take my shoes off and put some extra bandages on. It did not matter, I was too late and I have felt them, every step of the way.

The shitty part was not the pain; it was walking in the sand. After being on the track for a while, the forest led to a path heading into a dune-like landscape with sand. Heaps of sand. Surrounded by mist, I did not solely feel how I alone I was at that particular moment, I also came to understand that I hate walking in loose sand. Every step you take, you seem to go backwards instead of forward! My mind was immediately flirting with the idea to change the route I had initially chosen. Boiling with frustration, since I was trying to walk as fast as possible but did not reach the speed I wanted to, I looked back and saw how far I had come. I took a deep breath and continued walking – hell no I was going to walk all the way back through that loose sand!

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Apart from my aversion to sand, another remarkable thing occurred this day that had not come to my attention during yesterday’s ten-kilometre walk: an endless appetite. Not only did I eat a fair amount of food for breakfast and during the walk, when I came home I devoured anything edible that I could find and even after a massive dinner, I still felt like I had not eating enough.

Soon I comprehended that my body was asking for food, because I had burned abnormal amounts of calories during this four-hour walk. This realisation instantly prompted so many questions: How much food would I have to bring? Would I be this hungry every day? How was I able to bring enough food to still this endless appetite but not carry endless amounts of weight?”

A little while later, after finishing an entire bag of slightly salty and sweet popcorn, I concluded I was too tired to think of this issue and that this was yet another thing I would add on my what-to-figure-out-before-I-go-list.

Love,

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