"Find life experiences and swallow them whole. travel. meet many people. go down some dead ends and explore dark alleys. try everything. exhaust yourself in the glorious pursuit of life."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Don't be afraid to walk alone and don't be afraid to like it"-John Mayer

     Once again I find myself on the precipice of a new chapter in my life.  With several months before I head out for medical school, I decided what better to do than walk across a country?  In one week, I will set out for my journey that begins in Rorschach, Switzerland, ending in Geneva.  I will travel an ancient pilgrimage route called The Way of St. James or Jakobsweg.  This route is roughly 430km long and will take me about 25 days to complete.  While I'll have a tent on my back, I am also planning on sleeping in some of the popular "sleep in straw" (schlaf im stroh) locations.  You literally sleep in these families' barns!
      So why did I choose to spend an entire month of my short summer trekking across a country?  People do pilgrimages for many reasons now-a-days.  While in medieval times, this route was steeped in religious tradition, today it is walked by people searching for a challenge, calling upon faith, who appreciate the beautiful scenery, or who just need an escape from their mundane life.  Of course, the religious history is still present with many churches and landmarks scattered along the route (such as shrines to St. Niklaus or the abbey in Einsiendeln).  I chose to do a pilgrimage because I had the time and I wanted to spend it challenging my mind and body.  What better way to do that than a long walk by myself!  The other reason, of course, is due to my itch to travel again. For once the travel bug bites, there is no known antidote and I will be happily infected for the rest of my life.


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