As I entered the year of my 60th birthday, I felt it was about time to start compiling an inventory of my most inner resources, the ones that, just like footprints, I shall leave behind me as a legacy to my son, to my wife and to my friends.
Anyone who has embarked in a walking journey says that whatever the purpose was stated at the beginning, at the end of the walk a totally new scope becomes overwhelming through the process of inner change. This suggests the idea that the real purpose is to keep your mind and your heart open, since it may well be that it is not as much you walking the road, but rather it is the road itself to be molding you through the reduction of the inner noise and the acceptance of time as a constant.
The documenting of the change in the purpose through out the journey has therefore an journalistic interest. Eventually I will add here at the end of the pilgrimage some reflections on such changes, or better summarize some sudden revelations of change captured in the daily blogging. Needless to say, I am really, humbly looking forward to learn what paradigm shift is in store for me through this experience.
This journal wants to record my experiences during these walks.
I always enjoyed walking. Since my grandfather took me on a few excursions on the slopes of the Mont Blanc, I have developed gradually a deep sense of gratification in reaching a higher viewpoints through some physical exertion. In my younger days in Milano, most weekends were dotted by trips to the nearby mountains. More recently I have been fascinated by the idea of travelling alongside the divides in the Dolomites, by sleeping in simple mountain huts watching the sunsets and then waking up very early the following morning to go where the trail was leading me next. During my work life, I have been able to dedicate only a few weeks, and yet not every year, for wandering through my mountains. I did not know for sure how to do it yet, but there was this dream about spending my retirement in travelling around the word.
I gradually came up through the years with the resolution of engaging in long walks as opposed of dreaming past reaching the summits of the highest mountains. No matter of how hard you try, the biological clock leaves a mark on the ageing body and new challenges pop up which are not only necessarily physical. Walking is a cheap, available and endless mean to test the character, the determination and the endurance in pursuing the achievement of a personal goal. A goal which is spiritual, mental and physical.
Then some weekday evening in February 2012, while I was preparing for my fourth ascent to Mt. Kinabalu, in Sabah, East Malaysia, I watched by chance the movie “The Way“, about the Camino de Santiago. Watching to movie, and feeling at once totally captured by the sense of deep transformation which is the underlying theme of the movie, was an irresistible call. Finally I had the plan I was missing since. The slow travelling on foot was what I really wanted to do.
At that very moment I knew the time had come.