So I have had to postpone the WWI trek. Sadly, my funding didn’t come through and I was left not able to do it. 😦
But changes are a fact of life, and I had been planning this trek for September, and then planning to do the Camino de Santiago next april. The Camino is a much cheaper proposition, and so I decided to swap them! HOOORAY! So now I shall be a pilgrim on the Way of Saint James! I will be starting in Pamplona on Aug. 28 and then walking 450-500kms of a 700km route. Yes. I will be sneaking ahead in a few places on the train.
But fret not, my friends! Even though the Camino is traditionally a religious route, there is still more war along it than I can shake a stick (or a trekking pole!!!) at! I haven’t spent much time in Spain, just to Barcelona a few times, so this will be really exciting for me. Do I speak a word of Spanish? Not really! Just the very basics of Mexican spanish from trips to Mexico, but those languages are as different as Quebecois and French. But I am on tenterhooks to head off! Everyone says the Camino is a life changing experience!
For the 2014 centenary of World War One, I am planning to walk the entire western from Pont a Mousson, France to Ostend, Belgium. For me, it is a pilgrimage. I know so much about World War One, and yet, I haven’t had the feeling of my boots on the ground. I want to see the land and have the earth under my feet. Have the enormity of a nearly unbroken line of Front stretching before me. I want to do this a s a tribute to all the men who died.
I also want to do it as I am a rather large woman, and people have told me it isn’t really feasible. Or they tell me to drive it. Or they say to take a tour. But this is War Walks for Health and I want to do it for my health. Not to lose weight, per se, but I am sure that walking 500 km in just over a month might drop off a pound or two, but to get fit and be fit.
When I originally started War walks for Health, I had as my tag line- a military historian trying to burn off the lard. I’ve changed it as here is far more to fitness and being healthy than your dress size. Anyone, no matter their size, can be fit. For me, combining a thing I am passionate about- military history- with something I dislike- fitness has been an inspiration. And walking those 500 kilometres is going to result in a fair amount of fitness.
It is my plan to write a book about it, for in a miniscule way, my trek will be like theirs- a raw, soft recruit off to be forged on the Western Front. Thankfully, sans the bombs, gas, torture, disease and death. To see how their struggle and sacrifice can help me make changes.
Some do religious pilgrimages, but this is my pilgrimage. This front, which has fascinated me since I was very small, cries out to be explored. Not just the famous parts, but the entire length. I plan to blog and photograph every day of the trek, starting in September 2014 and turn that into a book. My experience of the journey- both as a trek, and what I will learn about the war, and myself in the process.
All the details and planning will be posted here! I am also looking for funding! If you can spare a sous or two, that would be lovely! But if all you can send are your best wishes, I accept those too! 🙂
UPDATE! The route!