Walking the Pieterpad

Solvitore Ambulando, it is solved by walking.

Written on March 29, 2014

Today I took the first steps of a 481km journey that will take me from northern Holland to the south. I will be doing it at a relaxed tempo in short segments for however long it takes me to finish. I’m thinking a year or two.

It is a pilgrimage of sorts. I’d been feeling somewhat trapped in my small village and circumstances here, and in need of a change which would involve testing my boundaries and spreading my wings. I had been contemplating taking leave of my home and relationship for several months, and travelling to another country in the hopes of discovering new energy and recommitment to my life here. My husband was supportive of my going, and I was prepared to plunder my small savings.

The Camino in Spain and Southern France didn’t attract me particularly. It is too popular and crowded, and anyway, I’ve had a bit of knee trouble, and though they are getting stronger, they can’t yet manage climbs and descents.

Then one day I got the inspiration to attempt the Pieterpad, a 480 km walk from the north to the south of the Netherlands. It would test me physically, I could afford it, and I already speak the language. No need for a dramatic departure to South America for example, just for the sake of adventure. Everything I’ve been looking for was here all along.

I have a terrible sense of direction, so simply getting from point A to point B without the aid of my husband’s unfailing inner compass will be an achievement in itself!

Walking is healing and gets a flow going, in physical rhythmic steps, in thoughts.  Something else this journey expresses is a new sense of belonging here. For decades I’ve pined for my home in America. I went back last year, and did feel a huge sense of peace and homecoming, but what took me by surprise was to feel the same on re entry to Holland.

So the idea of’ walking Holland’, putting down my feet and acknowledging this landscape as my own, step by step, appeals greatly.

Rather than starting another blog, I’ll record my journey here at Tending time. The impulse for undertaking it has grown out of this period of transition, and is intimately bound with this time of resting and taking stock in my life.

The posts will be filed under the category, ‘Walking’. If you click on that category, you should be able to see all the posts in receding order.

It only now just struck me, that this new journey as recorded so far in Tending time, resulted from a pivotal book for me last year, entitled, ‘Walk Out, Walk on’.

I never thought I would be taking it so literally!




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