Body Positivity Walk 2019

BoPoWalk day 21: Ehra to Neuferchau

Distance: 23 km

Speed: 4,6 kmph

Time: 5h3m

Soundtrack: Symphony No 9 by Ludwig van Beethoven

Ladies and gentlemen, today was a walk in the park!

Not literally, it was still 23 km and took me through some fields, some woods, along some roads, etc., before I reached my destination. But, it was EASY.

I was saying to people yesterday that the distance doesn’t really matter because at some point the legs are all just too long and the last part sucks regardless. I’d like to amend that statement… It’s true, to an extent. But knowing I have 23 km instead of almost 10 km more definitely helps keep me motivated. There’s a myriad of other factors at play too – like weather, scenery, and mood, but distance matters too.

Today was warm and sunny (a bit too much almost without my cap), I walked through the woods a good bit, and I felt calm and present with little to no anxiety. And for the second day in a row, all the paths were where they’re supposed to be.

Another thing that definitely helps is having fewer blisters. I only have one big fat one left now, that’s been invading territory left and right like a greedy little dictator on the inside of my heel. But this morning I put a Compeed bandaid over it, and it’s honestly a world of difference from generic store brand ones. I’m not being paid to say this (but Compeed if you’re reading this, feel free to contact me for an endorsement ;-), it’s just fact. I won’t say it’s pain free but it is SO MUCH BETTER.

And… I don’t think I could have had today without yesterday. There’s been this anxiety that’s been building up that I have had to try and control a little bit in order to be able to go on at all, but I think maybe the dam needed to burst. It was like a cleansing, a katharsis, and today I woke up and was ready to move on. So yesterday was hard, but perhaps necessary.

I’m not saying it’s all sunshine and rainbows from hereon out, and I have two slightly longer days ahead of me again now, but I definitely feel much more optimistic. And I am once again comforted by the fact that my last 6 days are all under 25 km.

And guys, it’s day 21, meaning I’m over 2/3rds of the way there. Two days ago I saw my first road sign for Berlin. 9 more days, one of which is rest, and 6 of which are less than 25 km. I can totally do this!

Body Positivity Walk 2019

BoPoWalk day 11: Quakenbrück to Vechta

(Yesterday’s post, as WordPress didn’t publish when scheduled)

Distance: 27,5 km

Time: 5h20m

Speed: 5,1 kmph (yeah, that’s right!)

Soundtrack: Superman by Deluxe

So I already knew yesterday that I wasn’t going to give up – because I didn’t start this whole project just to give up the first time things got really hard. What I *didn’t* know was how much better I was going to do/feel today. The miracle of human contact, indeed. I must give some credit to my couchsurfing hosts for the lovely evening and conversation we had, and of course to Emmy the dog!

Other factors that probably contributed were my motivation to make it to Vechta before it started raining (I almost made it in time, the rain was early – but so was I), and to get to a place I didn’t have to leave again the very next morning.

But I really did move at an astounding pace for being me, so I think there was some magic involved somewhere. Or that I’m secretly superwoman. Maybe it was exactly that I had felt the low, the struggle, the dread yesterday and had come out the other side determined to fight again that spurred me on.

I also had a day of walking on an asphalt bike path along the road almost the whole way, but I was actually fine with it because I just wanted to get on with the walking and it meant I didn’t have to think about where I needed to go very often, and my feet didn’t get wet.

I did see some beautiful buildings on my way out of Quakenbrück though, which according to my hosts are a tourist draw and I can understand why.

And tomorrow there is absolutely nothing that I have to do. I don’t have to pack, I don’t have to set an alarm, I don’t have to mount Voldie (as I’ve lovingly/hatingly named my pack) on my back. I may go out and have a look around and get some postcards, if there’s anything to see in Vechta. Then again I may also stay in bed all day and watch Netflix on my phone or read LotR. What luxury!

Friday I have to walk 36,5 km, and Saturday 34. But that’s future Sarah’s problem. And if I can do that and not fall down, I am pretty sure I’m going to make it to Berlin.

Body Positivity Walk 2019 Mental health and BoPo articles

Go out there and happen to things

.. to paraphrase Leonardo Da Vinci (full quote: “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”).

So… *drumroll*… Yesterday I finished my planning – sort of – for the walk to Berlin. I’ve spent days poring over maps, routes, accommodations, prices, adjusting and re-adjusting. And well the long and the short of it is I have 20 accommodations booked through the month of September, and have inadvertently (because I needed to go where the accommodations were) added 40 km to my route (updated route to come).

This, by the way, means that I’ll be walking a total of 674 kms, averaging 27 km per day of walking. Yikes! Also, that’s almost exactly equal to 16 marathons.

Even though I’m only at 35% of my funding I’ve decided I can still do it, so I’m going to. I’m walking to motherforking Berlin, benches! My ass is going to be broke when I get there, but it’ll be worth it, right? And I already paid for my return train ticket.

So, I should be all giddy with excitement. The overwhelming feelings at the moment however are fear and anxiety. Sure, there’s some positive excitement mixed in there with the dread, but the dread definitely has the upper hand.

Things I’m afraid of (in no particular order):

  • Getting lost (yes, this is bound to happen, probably more than once, but the idea of routinely adding an extra 5-10 km to the existing 30 or so is not appealing)
  • Running out of water WHILE being lost
  • It being the hottest/coldest/wettest September in history (in other words consistently having to deal with extreme weather)
  • Being attacked/mugged
  • Getting injured/having an accident (and being in the middle of nowhere with no phone coverage)
  • My mum became severely allergic to wasps as an adult but was fine as a child. I’ve not been stung by a wasp since I was a child. What if I’m also severely allergic and get stung, in the middle of nowhere and my throat closes up? Or what if I’m deathly allergic to some other random substance I come into contact with when there’s no help to be found?
  • I’m not an experienced hiker. Like, at all. What kind of problems might I run in to that I haven’t even considered (see, I’m also worried that I’m not worried enough – it’s a problem..)?
  • 27 km per day is A LOT. I’m in decent shape, I work out consistently, but I do not routinely go for walks above say 13-14 kms. And my longest hike will be 37 km. Today I walked 20 (with 18 kg backpack) and am sore and limping a little.
  • … which nicely brings me to my biggest fear, which is failing. Not just failing really, but failing spectacularly and early on. What if I do the first day (35 km, nice tough start..) and then simply cannot get out of bed for day 2? What if I’ve gone out there and said to a bunch of strangers (and friends, and family) that I’m going to walk to Berlin, and I actually only walk 5% of the way? I’ve gotten AT LEAST 26 people to believe in me, to fund me even, to do this thing, and I honestly don’t know if I can. Although crowdfunding is buying into an idea or a concept rather than the promise of a finished product, I definitely still feel a strong obligation to my backers, and feel like I’ll be letting them all down if I don’t complete the journey. And I’d be letting myself down too. I had in my mind’s eye this epic adventure, this amazing project that would get us all talking more and thinking more about how all bodies are good and all bodies can move. This project that would be an experience of a lifetime and that would somehow make up for all those times I wanted to go out in the world and do things, but didn’t dare. And instead it becomes another failure. That would make me embarrassed and incredibly sad.


….BUT the only thing that would make me sadder would be to not even try. So, I promise you this: whatever happens, and however afraid I get, I will give it my best shot.


Peace out!