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Im sorry garçon, garçon..!

Reims (which the french pronounce as Raaaans) was not too far away, I wanted to go there and just get a stamp in the Cathedral, usually I dont like going into cities looking like a homeless person. I mean theres a lot of stuff and people but the anonymity of the whole place makes it feel cold more often than not.

I found my way rather easy and saw a chair out in a field that somebody dumped there and mannn did I wish I took a photo in that now that I mention it. I freestyled most of the way and ended up walking along (what French people) call a canal, in the Netherlands we call such a thing a ditch..I have a bigger waterway literally next to my old home. I guess you dont really need canals if you have rivers the size of my hometown and youre building on top of the ruins of Roman towns built on said riverbanks. Saw a couple of awesome graffiti tags along the way.

Got a stamp at the Cathedral although I had to wait until all the customers were served, which made them feel worse than me. I left my bag outside attached to Lucy so it required me to hop around a little as well. Then a security guard came and looked at me funny, just standard big city nonsense I guess. I tried to find some of the places that looked familiar but I couldnt really recognize anything. My goal for today was to just get the f*** out of the city unscathed and with a stamp, so part 1 of that was done and getting out of the city (when you have internet) is also a lot easier. 5 years ago I had to follow a book and I cant even begin to explain how tedious that is. As soon as youre off the road then youre basically fucked and not all the paths are marked in the correct way. Then theres paths crossing and cities in general just mean a lot of hassle and absolutely no progress. Kinda makes ya wonder about cities in general. I mean everything is there in terms of supplies and “places to go” (restaurants etc.) but what do you really need? I certainly didnt need the bullshit of all these people and cars especially. Or 1000 kebab places, I did eat a kebab though so that was nice. Some people did see my shell and wished me good fortune which was nice. All these people were old so theres not much hope for the future Im afraid. I walked just over Reims and wildcamped near a cemetery, as is tradition at this point.

The next day I woke up, found a bakery and left with a newfound fire. After a big part through a forest I could see Epernay in the distance. This is the Champagne Capitol of the world, and its like walking into a different country, streets are clean, road signs actually make sense, good traffic laws. Its like being in Italy and going into Monaco. People also speak English and I would sum the whole thing up in “You can just smell the money as soon as youre out of the forest.” Last time I got a stamp from famous brand Moët et Chandon, their most famous wine being Dom Pérignon. Cant really get a stamp in the same place now can I so I decided to get one from Perrier-Jouët since they had a very impressive building, they nowhere near compare to Moet & Chandon in terms of sales but its whatever. They werent that friendly at all and their doorbell sucked, you get transferred to reception and then after 15 seconds it cuts out. I just stalked some guy that left a guest out and he was happy to help. Champagne road is pretty impressive, white marble walkway/walls, gold fences and when it got dark they started projecting their logo’s on the sidewalk, cool feat I must say. 

I ate a nice sandwich and drank a tea in a restaurant, which wasnt as expensive as you might have think. Also worth mentioning is that I saw a lot of bars where they served Amstel. Dont sue me Amstel but I think your beer tastes like piss and its target audience is mostly poor people, apparently I was wrong however and its also served in the “Champagne capitol”. Does make ya wonder a little bit about these exquisite palletes these people have and I apparently lack? 

I went around town to look for somewhere to put up my tent, this was pretty hard I must admit and the temperature dropped pretty fast after the sun went away. At the end of the Rue de Champagne were fields by Mercier, vineyards crawled all over some rolling hills with some residential buildings at the end and I decided to just put it right in the smackdab middle. 
The next morning I noticed some camera’s but a lady was walking her dog as well, she didnt seem too surprised which I found a bit odd. I mean it must not be like somebody sleeps out in the middle of a fucking vineyard halfway through November but sure, Ill take it. I spent some time in the city and I noticed that I missed a helluva lot of sightseeing last time around due to the German guy, he wasnt exactly the wandering type but more the walking your ass off type.

Walked out of Epernay easy enough, along some road and I skipped a few good wildcamping spots because I wanted to make good time. 

I saw a cemetery at the end of some village on my maps and as Im crossing a side road to that village, I come by another cemetery. Im not too picky about my where I go for a rest, as long as I wake up I mean and this place was as good as any. 

As I was putting up my tent a nice lady gave me a bar of chocolate even though she was kind of spooked at first. This is why I like France, when people see you on your path they seem inclined to help you in whatever way they can. 

The next morning some nice people came to collect the garbage cans and spotted my tent. I greeted them and explained ‘my situation’ and the guy seemed to be indifferent but understanding and the lady was nice and smiled. Later the guy came back and brought me an apple that he picked somewhere, we talked a bit and I told him about nice people in France, he slightly disagreed but his actions were a testament to this. He told me his colleague had her doubts about me sleeping on a cemetery but he kind of understood that you needed water and some form of small shelter en seclusiveness to get through the journey. 
I had already packed my tent and continued onwards, soon I was going to hit one of my first milestone stops for the journey and thats visit a friend I met 5 years ago in Sézanne called Andy. We kept in touch for the last 5 years and I would say were likeminded spirits. 

I texted him during the day and he insisted that he come pick me up if the weather turned and well, since its almost fucking November..
After a long and comfortable stroll through a forest which was nice, but it didnt rank that well on the distance scale, I went by a little town that I saw on the map called Lucy, like my dog? Get it? DO YOU GET IT?

I drank my most expensive tea Ive had in my journey so far, 8 madafaking euro’s for 2 green tea.. Holy fucking shit, my budget of the day wasted on 2 lousy fucking hot beverages haha. Fuck you Cheval Blanc in Montmort Lucy! The white horse brings poverty? Didnt mention that shit in Revelations 6:8..
On the other hand, Andy called and told me he had time so I agreed with him to come pick me up and 10 minutes later a shiny, green Jaguar pulled up on the parking lot. It was very good to see him again after all these years and only talking on the phone. He was then and still is an English teacher of UK origin in France and lived in a medium, quaint town called Sézanne. Looking forward to chilling a bit with him while also making myself useful and giving me and Lucy some respite from the cold and the rain would prove invaluable. 

I said cold AF GARÇON

(its fine!)

Woke up in the parking lot due to French people being french. Apparently this was also a place where some farmer sold his eggs on Saturday morning, its fine! I should have bought some eggs but didnt. Lucy scared the crap out of some lil french kid on a bike. Kids these days, used to nothing ITS FINE! His dad was a little bit dissapoint. Bro its fine, 21stcentury kids man!

I went in and recognized one of the nuns from 5 years ago, she didnt change a bit, still grey, still wearing the grey but the biggest old lady smile you can imagine.

I explained to her that Ive been here 5 years ago and that I looked for a place to sleep, she ran me through the usuals of dogs not allowed inside to which I gave my auto reply, I understand! I got a tent! She guided me through the beautiful gardens in full autumn mode with a thicc stack of leaves covering the ground. I put up my tent and couldnt help but shed a small tear. 
Last time I was here it was beautiful and they took really good care of me and the German (whom I basically forced to go to the place). I had no interest in Reims this time around since I already knew what the place was about, just a biggerish city in the North of France, beautiful cathedral though..

No I was going to chill and spend a couple of days here to wait out the rain. The sun even treated me to a little attention which was just perfect. 

The nun also showed me a shower room with heating and toilets. Yea tent? Thats not gonna happen! I still put it up for show though. So theres 4 services over the day, the first one was just about to start as I put my tent up and did a little installing of stuffs here and there. I went there as dirty as I was. Last time around the German and me got into a little monastrouble because we were kind of mooching off them or so they felt. We didnt went to the services, hitchhiked to the city 2 days in a row and then coming home just in time for fine meals.. They had the hardest time confronting us about it at the end of the 2ndday which was just heartbreaking and sweet at the same time. We already planned but were extra determined to attend services on the last day and also the donation that we gave at the end left a smile on the hospitaliere’s face. That aint gonna happen this time, I mean the smile from the donation is but theres not going to be any nunfrontation. Smelly and all – I went to the first service! I would rate myself 3/10 stars on the scale of stank so its fine!

The service itself was every bit as beautiful as I remembered although the herd got culled quite a bit since last time I was there. I saw some familiar faces and some that I had forgotten, none of them seem to remember me though. ITS FINE!

Afterwards I went back to the shower complex and I discovered a little kitchen area as well. Thats good, were making progress.

I took a long and hot shower, absolutely blowing the mind of this bigass spider that was all winter ready in this cold ass shower/kitchen/toilet building and now he had to deal with my ass warming the place up.. I could just see it contemplating its revenge..
By now I was so fucking hungry since all I ate was a friggin’ croissant and a little bag of candy last night before I walked another 7km. Should have really bought those eggs earlier. I went to the little monastery store where they sold overpriced biscuits and stuff. Made from the hair of angels and the tears of the Most High himself so the government taxes it heavily.. ITS Fine..

There was supposed to be a cafe in the town over and since I already walked there last night in my hunt for water, I thought I just go there. Apparently the whole place is a wasteland and everybody does their shopping/eating/drinking in Reims, which was about 12km away which is a little far for a baguette. Its fine, I still had some angel hair biscuits.

I went back to the monastery and there was a service, afterwards dinner! Last time around we got pretty great meals, prepared fresh by some nun whos duty it was to cook this year. What I got was the opposite and it resembled something my grandmother would used to get in the oldfolks home, peas, potatoes, some sausage and some mashed apples, its fine! This machine can run on fumes. I realized that maybe because most fresh produce is in springtime and monasteries like this rely heavily on local farmers giving them a part of their harvest and since its autumn now, not that big a harvest left. I did my dishes like a good choirboy and stole some cookies and breakfast crackers in the meantime. Say it with me, its fine! Feels good ey?

The first night I slept reasonably well, was able to take out the light of the emergency exit to make it really dark and even though the floor was hard and cold, Lucy was soft and warm.

interlude

Something I really like to do when Im in a shitty place – uncomfortable or cold – is wake up in the middle of the night and just roll myself a nice fat cigaret. Now youre going to think, wauw thats really unhealthy and maybe it is, I dont know. Its just a really nice relief and believe me, wether youre on top of the Pyrenees freezing your ass off or you just ate a car with the back of your head, smoking is glorious! Mental state is one of the most important things and happiness in the form of a little cancer stick is worth the downside. So in this case..yes..its fucking fine!

What WASNT FINE was that mr. showerspider made his move just around that time, not sure if he got attracted by the warmth but I caught the little sneak with one leg on my blanket. I kept cool even though I have a deep primal fear of spiders and I took a glass and put it over it. Now spiders that size actually cant really handle cold all that well (which is also why spiders go up in corners). So it wasnt all too happy with me putting it in a glass prison on the cold floor.


The next day it was still alive and I let it out near a shed somewhere, more suited to his liking. Its fine mr. SS, no hard feels.. We part as friends.

Monastery life is really really sober, breakfast is something called petit dejeuner in France which in a monastery means a cracker with some jam and butter, after inhaling 8 of those I felt like I could handle things a little bit better but I was glad that I nicked some more for during the day. The tea was nice though. Took a long walk around the monastery grounds before returning to stuff me and Lucy’s face with some crackers I hid in the kitchen area. One of the nuns suddenly popped up at my lair, sleeping mat still on the ground, sleeping bag hanging from a door, looking like a damn chipmunk with crackers in my face I was kind of startled. But you guessed it, its fine! She told me to come with her and as we walked through the garden I could see she was taking me to a big room where all the nuns were eating, now this was going to be good. She sat me down (ofcourse) across from the youngest nun in the room, which looked good in comparison but still..a nun.. what was even better was that she invited me over for lunch. There was a nun reading some philosophical book through a microphone and it was a pretty weird experience. Sitting between 20-odd pinguins that all kind of glanced at you every now and then. I could notice my movements being more deliberate and I could I totally forgot this about monasteries in general. All of em that I visited, every movement is deliberate, everything is done thoughtfully and focussed. A weird sense of settling into the situation came over me. 
They offered me some wine but I declined respectfully. I have a tendency to explore religious topics and since this engine is running on fumes most of the time, I could see an apocalyptic sequence of events unfolding where Im actually discussing God with someone who chose to live her life behind bars in His name. Nah, water IS FINE! Its FINE damnit!

The lunch was sober as expected, it had everything but nothing more, no indulgence whatsoever. It tasted great but then again I had like 1500 calories in the last couple of days, thats including all the other spiders that I didnt catch in my midnight smoke sesh. Its fine!

That evening I ate with several other people staying in the monastery and the nuns brought out the big guns that I remembered. Big ass pasta meal with all kinds of goodness. I did have a wine then and the atmosphere was nice. Its always nice to eat with French people in my opinion (its nice to eat with anybody when youre doing sandwiches on the road mainly). Also got a big bowl of ravioli for Lucy and she absolutely murdered it when I got back to my lair.

The next day I was slow as hell. Went to the final service there, everybody bowed at several points which I found very thoughtful of them to allow me to take a photograph unseen. I took a final stroll through the garden and sprinkled some tobacco seeds around on the thick leaves covering the ground. What can I say, I like to spread invasive seed in places where it doesnt belong! ITS FINE!
I was well rested all in all and these were a really good couple of days. Didnt eat much but thats also part of the cleansing experience I guess. The singing of 35 something people that make that their day job is just really soothing for the soul. I went to get a stamp of the monastery just like last time and gave a donation for all the expenses (which according to my calculations was about 3,23 € xD), I gave a little bit more than that though. Your paying for the experience! Its fine! All was fine!

Im writing this in a bit of a joking way but it actually was all fine, it was good seeing all the people again and I didnt list half of the interactions I had with them on a personal level. Also being in a place that was built ages ago to house 100’s of people is just overwhelming, especially now that the herd is dwindling. It would have been a sight to behold in its hayday but those days were long gone and the place, still grand, was a shimmer of its former self. The vineyards surrounding the complex are commercially owned now (used to be worked by monks), the gardens are tended to less, ruins dotted the still impressive gardens and things were slowly falling into disrepair. A realization that this is most likely the last time Ill ever visit this place makes me a little sad, but like I said before, its fine. Things are supposed to die in this world.


Like a thief in the night I left through some hole in the fence towards Reims that I could already see from a distance. Nothing like a little city smudge to muck up the sinuses.

So I did my 2nd nightwalk in France this time, to the sleepiest town ever called Wasigny. Nobody there except for this medieval hall. A lady was just shutting her blinds and I scared the shit out of her by asking her for some water. She soon turned her fearful eyes into smiling ones when she saw the shell around my neck. I smoked a little cigaret and I found a cemetery nearby and decided to camp there. Now this is always a little sketchy for obvious reasons, not to mention that after 2200h the lights turn off in every little village in France that cant afford the electricity. A good time for some owls to fly right over my head and make the most awful screech that scared the living shit out of me. Owls + Darkness + Cemetary is not a great cocktail.

At some point I could hear something scraping against my tent and I turned on the light. Turned out it was just blades of grass, scraping in the wind. I also found a tick making its way to my ballsack, like me it was pretty slow however and still on the floor of my tent. I killed it or tried to kill it and chucked it outside. Mannn living rough like this, getting your peen sucked in all the wrong ways. I can think of nicer things..

The next morning I was greeted by a gravestone engraver and his son, this put me in high gear and I packed up my tent and left. Went to city hall connected to a school but they werent open but also didnt lock the door. Free water thats not cemetery water!

I found a tick that looked the same as the tick from before in my hair and I disposed of it. What the hell, its almost November, get your bloodsucking ass into hibernation or whatever you little shits do to survive the winter please.
Walked into this town called Chateau Porcien, I remembered it as a small town but it turned out I didnt see half of it. Walked around a bit and was going to camp near a church until I ran into a cafe that ran the local pilgrim gite. 10 € but its whatever, I can splurge a little here and there. It was nice and warm and I even found a spare gas canister for my cooking stove that some other pilgrim left. 7,50 € for the nightsplurge..

I took the time to write a little in my diary and hung my stuff to dry. The owner of the cafe looked at me funny because I hid my bag next to the church when I booked the hostel for the night but with a dog and now I walked passed him without the dog but with a bag, just smile and wave is my MO in cases like this.
Left the next day and Lucy rolled around in some shit, gave her a little shower and she froze her ass off. I let her suffer the cold for a couple of minutes and then warmed her under my jacket. I walked again in the dark that evening and I could really notice the days shortening. Rewind 5 years I could walk until about 2300h in the evening until things got iffy but now, 1830h and youre done, and I mean pitchblack, break-your-ankle-in-that-pothole-over-there dark. I have a good light with me though. Slept next to a church and I woke up to the sound of pidgeons shitting all over my tent. Duality in all things..

I was on my way to Bazancourt and I remember from 5 years ago my blisters were killing me at this point. Long gone were those days and I kept on going steady, golden fields 5 years ago now greener and muddier from last summer’s harvest.

Bazancourt is cool, small town but still has a bigass factory overshadowing the whole thing. Sugar beets refinery mostly so I felt right at home since we have the same thing in Groningen, at least it smelt the same. The German pilgrim and me stayed at some people 5 years ago and I decided to park my tent again on their terrain, sure they wouldnt mind. Woke up and tried to ring their doorbell but nobody was home. 
The next stop was a monastery, a little town near Reims named after St. Thierry who also created a Benedictine monastery there. A place or long faded glory but still inhabited by an all female cast of nuns and open to the public, peaceful and just a very nice place to chill.
I decided to freestyle there since it was mostly fields that I had to walk through. This went pretty well and I could see storm clouds in the distance passing beside me. Its shifting again, I thought to myself and I need to be on my P’s and Q’s a little to dodge em.

I came up to a road with a village on either side. I was planning on taking a little break in either depending which lay more on the route. Turned out I had to go straight and as Im looking at the map I could see a little bush from the corner of my eye, a little ways along the path I had to take. I grabbed my binoculars and I could faintly see a cross in there. I still had enough water so what the heck, lets just take a little rest there. As Im coming up to the cross I could notice an out of place stone on the cross pedestal and my curiosity got the better of me. I removed the rock and found a geocache! I opened it up and it contained a bullet! Now this is going to be sound really weird but I did a geocache once in Germany and its customary to leave a little something in the geocache as a surprise for the next one who finds it. What made this all the more peculiar is that when I did a geocache, I also left a bullet of the same fucking caliber! I cant fucking believe it, I mean it was a pretty common caliber but still! I felt like I was exactly on the right path. I left my stamp on the name card and put the whole thing back in place.

I arrived at the monastery way too late and it was dark again, I pushed myself on in the hopes they were still open but of course they werent. I hid my bag in some bushes next to the monastery and went on the hunt for some water. Walked far and between but didnt find any. Upon returning to my bag I decided to go the other way and sure, there was a faucet not 500m from where I left my bag! 
WHATEVER!

Put up my tent right next to the monastery parking lot, just barely out of sight due to some cars and I was going to go in tomorrow early. 

So in Luijk I went to the Jacobschurch and even the stamp that I got there was fucking ugly. Honestly this city.. Finally took the train to the most southern point of Belgium that I could reach, a little village called Couvin. Now Ive been here before, 5 years ago I basically did the same thing. Because I meant to visit the same places this time around (Lucy her campsite, friends that I met along the way) and it seemed only logical to follow the same route book. Its going to be interesting to see how things have changed and how this will affect my journey. 
It felt like things now really got going, crossing the border from the Netherlands actually makes you feel like youre on your way and just the fact that people speak a different language makes it all the more adventurous and satisfying.

On the way to Couvin I had a little part where I had to take the bus and there was a wasp there, probably the last of his kind this time of year but that didnt keep him from stinging me in my back. Fuck you wasp! I let it out of the bus anyway at the next stop, see Im kindhearted like that and I dont hold any grudges is one way of looking at it, you can also think that I left the little fucker outside so he could have a slow and painful death out in the cold, you decide. Off to a great start anyway! HMM!

Last time I was here I could barely speak any French and I knew only that the French word for sleep was dormir. I said ‘dormir’ to the nearest old person in that town and he drove me up to his little retirement cottage up in the hills and pressed a couple of beers in my hand..eeehhhh, somehow I dont think Im going to be as lucky this time around. Not to mention the guy is probably living in the cottage himself now. His name was Jacques, this is appropriate because Santiago or Saint James is called St. Jacques in French. I ate a sandwich and walked around town a little bit. Yea not that lucky this time, youre all grown and full of bravado now you little shit, handle your own shit this time around!

So the tent it was and I found a nice camp spot next to a river and a soccer field. It did stay reasonably dry and Ive noticed that I was dealing with more of a land climate instead of abominable, unpredictable, sea climate that Im used to in the Netherlands. That being said, next day was slightly more wet and I had to take shelter a couple of times. Got some water from a school that was closing and managed to buy my favorite brand of tobacco right on the French border in Bruly. It wasnt as cold as I thought and I contemplated sleeping in a dugout near the school but ended up choosing the tent again. The next day was full blown get-rekt storm. I decided to do a little stretch to the small village of Rocroix, I remember there being a gite (hostel of sorts in French) especially made for pilgrims. I stayed there last time and just as I got my hopes up of drying some of this bullshit I was carrying around, they were closed and I could just hear cosmic forces laughing at my suicidal ass.

The ladies at the Office du Tourisme were nice enough to point me to a commercial gite that was expensive as hell and just outside of town, I walked over there and they were closed as well. I went back to the Office de Tourisme where the lady said that I could sleep on the rampart of Rocroix (it was an old fort town), I admired her sense of epicness and just as I was about to go there they got a call from 1 of the volunteers. I should wait, a volunteer is coming to open up the pilgrim gite especially for me! I guess the guy admired my sense of epicness as well because he didnt charge me anything. Normally it would have cost me 10 € and Im not going to lie, as a Dutch person I love me my discounts! He arrived and it was the sweetest old man you’ve ever seen. White beard and mustache, friendly eyes with an easy-going demeanor about him, he took me to the gite which consisted of a little kitchen/sitting area, a few showers and about 10 bunkbeds. He turned on all the heating and showed me around and I gave him all the thanks that I had. It was more than sufficient. Lucy picked a bed she liked and I took a shower. I went to the store and prepared myself a nice meal. How quickly fortunes can change I wondered. This would have either been the worst or the best night of the trip so far like it was now. With a full belly I had a great sleep and all my stuff was dry in the morning.

The next day it was still drizzling in the morning but it cleared up during the day and even the sun popped out through the clouds at some point. I remember last time I was walking this route I walked the completely wrong direction and I was forced to have my first wildcamping experience, terrified for the gendarmerie and preparations at -10 (no water/food/internet). I slept out in a field only to be greeted by a nice farmer that I helped with some minor tasks even though I didnt speak the language. How different things were this time around. I walked the right way and made good time. In the evening I went to look for a camp spot, thought I’d found one but it was compromised by some drunk youth that started yelling at me from a distance. I relocated to an even better spot under an old mining monument in a park, my tent just low enough to sneak behind some bushes out of sight. There was even water close by and because the sun was out, I charged my powerbank with my solar panel.

The next day I was woken up by a dog that just wouldnt stop barking at me and Lucy, the yard which was his domain, was bordering the park and he found himself defending his territory. Slightly alerted wake up I packed my tent quickly and left before he alerted more people to my present. Je suis un fantôme. 

The road was very nice and sunny weather, even more so than the last day. I walked until I saw a church that had pinot noir fields next to it. The next time you drink a pinot noir I want you to think about me taking a piss in one of the fields. I ran into town and there was only 1 bar open, had a hamburger there that was crappy by all means but still better than nothing.


Next up was Signy l’Abbaye, a once important town that had a big abbey but that was long ago. Last time here I met with a German pilgrim that I walked with for over a month until I found Lucy. Good company but I prefer a dog to be honest. Germans do the camino like they do World Wars and thats without mercy..

The weather was shifting again and I could notice a pattern emerging here. 1 day of rain, 3 days of dry weather slowly deteriorating into rain again. In Signy l’Abbaye they changed the campsite into a soccer field but the nice people pointed me in the right direction, another 5km to the nearest campsite called, located in La Venerie. As soon as I walked on the campsite there were a couple of people standing around. I asked them if they spoke English and a guy holding a machete (that I didnt notice at first) said he did. He translated for me and the lady owner of the campsite gave me a discount of 5 € per night. Pretty cheap so I took the deal (not that I had a choice lol).

That evening Im sitting in the campsite restaurant, doing a little writing and the guy who held the machete comes in with his entire family (without the machete xD). His name was JP and he offered me some wine which I declined and he offered to put me in one of the chalet cottages instead of sleeping in my tent WHICH I didnt decline obviously. He was the nicest guy and he kept watch over me in the following days. After dinner he showed me around. The price didnt change as well and it was good to find another Angel so soon after my miraculous rescue by Bernard a couple of days earlier. The chalet itself could house about 8 people and had a nice sitting area and a little kitchen. 
The next day I had a bit of a resting day since the weather was shit anyway (~4:1 ratio) and I worked on the website and did a little writing.


The weather cleared up the next day and I paid JP a visit to say goodbye, he made some food and we talked about life and God and mannnn is it awkward to hear a French person to tell you about their sexual escapades in broken English. Its whatever, 70 year old blue eyed/dark skinned from Guadeloup, still beasting and getting his dick wet, what a legend.

We said our goodbye’s and I went on my merry way, bless this man and the campsite!

5 years ago I went to this old lady in Signy l’Abbaye to get a stamp and I assumed she must have passed away in the meantime but when I went to her house she was still as (sparsely) alive as 5 years ago. She didnt remember me but she did have a very nice stamp of the town for me. Another one for the pokedex!

Revitalized by all these great unexpected things and a great rest I decided not to stay at this hunting lodge that was semi-open(?) just 7km out of Signy l’Abbaye and decided to keep on going.

Even doing a night walk through a forest.

je suis le seul fantôme ici!

Since Im a gamer since before I went to school, so I absolutely cant refuse to create a character sheet, with stars and all. Ive also listed some sub skills up to level 10 next to the main categories. Just for shits and giggles. Ill update this along the way as skills increase/decrease.

Strength

Carry weight: 50kg

Hand-to-hand: lvl 2

Melee weapons: lvl 4

Hitpoints: 9001

Buffs:

Mexican blanket (increases carry weight with 5 kg)

Pockets + 50 inventory space

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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Perception

Lockpicking: lvl 3

Traits:

slight nightvision (periphery sight)

Buffs:

Lucy adds +2 to perception

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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Endurance

Buffs:

Smoker – 2

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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Charisma

Language: lvl 6

Animal friend

barter: lvl 4

traits:

open mind

great smile

Buffs:

Lucy +2 Charisma

Camino shell necklace + 1 Charisma

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Intelligence

Survivalist: lvl 7

Computer: lvl 4

Medic: lvl 6

Buffs:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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Agility

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Sneak: lvl 7

Good core strength

Good climber

bad dancer

Buffs:

Magnum boots +1 traction

heavy ass backpack -2 when equipped, +2 when unequipped

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Luck

Traits:

Divine intervention

positive mentality

Buffs

camino shell +

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

On popular demand, I will run through the gear that Im carrying. Also will put in links wherever so you can have a detailed look at the items. Most of it speaks for itself but Ill be thorough anyway. A large portion of it is from army dump stores as I think that military gear is not expensive and it does its job very well.

#1

The white and lime green satchell thing is a travelbag organizer where I keep my clothes in. 3 pair of underwear, 4 pair of socks, 3 tshirts, 2 scarves and 2 quickdrying towels. Also some just-add-water meals that are high caloric, never used them thank God but when that time comes, theyre going to be worth their weight in gold. A little camping stove along with 2 pans (1 for boiling stuff, one for frying stuff).

#2

My backpack – When I first left I just bought a backpack at the army dump but it didnt fit me at all, I had to release the shoulders to maximum so it would actually rest on my hips and also it had no support system for your back. What I did really like about the bag was that it was able to open up from the sides so you could easily find what you were looking for. After this I bought just a regular old hiking bag that opened up from the top but the problem with that is that youre always looking for the thing that sank to the bottom and its a fucking hassle. This bag has it both ways, you can open it from the top but theres also a zipper that basically lets you put it horizontally and open it up in a way where you can see all your things. It doesnt have a MOLLE system but its got enough pockets and thingies to store most things.

Camino Shell – I lost my previous shell and was hell bend on making a new one, thankfully I got to know someone that was able to make a new santiago dagger on this one with paint. Used one of those survival cords as a rope so I can put it around my neck. You see most people with the shell on their backpack and I never really understood that. By the time people see you theyre either passing you or youre done talking to them, not to mention that a 20kg backpack can easily break the thing if it lands wrong. I had it around my neck the whole time and I remember going into this small French village at some point and as me and a German pilgrimbum sat down on a bench to take a small rest, police rolled by us and looked at us suspicious, asking what we were doing. I grabbed a hold of my shell and showed it to them like a press pass and their faces lightened up immediately and told us to camp next to the river and how far it was to the next town etc. They went from slightly suspicious to extremely helpful within seconds just because I was able to show them the shell. 

Walking stick – Made this one myself from some piece of german wood that I found, using sandpaper to make it smooth and put an iron ring around the bottom so it doesnt get eaten by the road.

2 water bottles and a little foldable cup – Attach to my waist bottle holders for easy use. Having to stop and open up your bag for drinking is shit of course and it prevents you from drinking all together, thats when you can get tendril inflammation and then you can say goodbye to your hike.

#3

The striped roll is a mexican all purpose blanket, this thing serves as poncho when its cold, a matrass when you need more comfort or just as a blanket if its really cold at night.

The camouflage roll is my sleeping mat that barely holds 1 breath of air, its more for isolation but it does give you a little bit of comfort when laying on a hard surface, usually I put my mexican blanket under it and thats more than enough comfort, my back actually hurts less sleeping on hard surfaces than it does in a bed. 
The blue roll is my tent – Jack Wolfskin – Gossamer – to be exact. A small but very nifty tent that serves my purpose of wildcamping always. Its too small to also keep my stuff inside but big enough to hold a doG and a Dragon, maybe also a person that you wouldnt mind having up in your business all night..

The grey roll is my sleepingbag, just a standard sleepingbag that a friend bought for me at the Lidl, its a mummy variant so when its cold or youre getting raped by mosquito’s you can make it in such a way that only your face is exposed. It serves temperatures of -15 celsius so you could survive anything but Siberia.

The rolls are standing on top of my camouflage poncho, that I wrap around my tent for practical but also esthetic purposes.

Also an extra bag if you need to get groceries or something, walking around with a 20+Kg bag isnt always handy (haha its never handy, fucking dumbass me)

#4

Im just going to list all the little bits and bobs that I have with me. 

Solar panel

3 lighters (you can never have enough fire)

mid range telescope

compass

Magnesium Firestarter

2 knives, 1 for daily use & 1 heavy duty

A whetstone

stamp with my logo + ink (forest green & golden brown)

Little box of thread and needle (if its broken – FIX IT)

Brush for Lucy (a brushed dog is a warm dog is a happy dog

sunglasses

This all fits into the white and limegreen satchell thing at #7.

#5

A book binder containing my diary, credential to collect stamps in, Lucy and my passport and a little book. Also a pocket version of a Bible that somebody gave to me at the end of my last camino. Also decided to bring my laptop for blogging, music and to make myself more attractive to thieves. A walking map of France containing all the different hikes (or GR routes) with numbers. A little bag containing all my charger cables. A little coinsack containing fresh batteries.

#6

Magnum boots – Lightweight/leather. I found these do most jobs reasonably well and theyre lighter than hikingboots but still have a nice kick to them. Its like youre walking on clouds, cant tell you how many times where I should have sprained my ankle badly but these boots just negated the whole slip or when youre trying to go up or down a mountain and you feel like youre wearing clouds that have tractor wheels. They are so good that Ive even send the company that produces them, an email saying how great they are, even got a nice email back (so wholesome). They started out as a sneaker but theyre being worn by every boots-on-the-ground, oppressive force in the world these days. If theyre good enough to be on the throat of poor people, then theyre good enough for this poor person.

#7

a wool hat

A hair razor

Super glue (if its broken fix it!)

petroleum soaked wood

Chopsticks

fresh leaf tea / coffee

tea strainer / percolator

Boot grease

3 LED light

Standard issue medkit with some extras

Satchell with JBL flip 3 SE

Satchell with spare tobacco / plant seeds

Toiletry bag

Herbs and spices

smint container full of toothpicks

And that finishes up all that Im packing. Now there are small things that I also have with me but didnt list, as well as a few surprises were a thief to be so smart to read this blog and try to steal from me but Im keeping those under wraps for obvious reasons.

Castling in chess serves 2 purposes; it moves the King to a safer position and it places the rook in a more active position on the board..

Woke up before I was discovered, never slept in a toilet before but ehh sure, beggars cant be choosers ey? Left for the train and I had more than enough time to reach Zwolle. My friend, who was going to pick me up, was running a little bit late so I was eating a bag of chips when I arrived with the train. People in Zwolle looked at me funny but then again, I think people in Zwolle always look at things funny. 

Picked up another friend in Utrecht and we drove through the Netherlands pretty fast. I knew that tobacco was pretty expensive in Belgium and France and I tried to get some tobacco at a gas station. Too bad they didnt have my favorite brand but I bought 3 packs for the road anyway. I was looking forward at just chilling the fuck out this weekend.

Im going to keep this one short because all in all it was pretty ridiculous if you werent there and you may start to doubt my sanity even more if I start going into detail.

IN short;

The castle itself was beautiful, now it wasnt anything like the castle from Disney (that shit doenst exist you child) and it was more of a gigantic mansion. Different rooms were dressed in old drapery and everything did have this sort of creepy-ish vibe about it. Most of the rooms were actually modernized with nice fireplaces. It had a hottub and the back area was very beautiful and did resemble more of a castle. We played medieval music for most of the weekend and most of us wore outfits or had props. I was wearing a monks robe (it seemed only fitting). There were about 15 different bedrooms and walking to your room was actually something that you had to contemplate for a sec..nnaahhh cant be bothered, Ill do it later. There even was the skull of some dead animal (goat?) with a pentagram on its forehead, done with a magic marker like the fucking peasant noobs these Baphomet worshippers are (welcome to Belgium? More on that later). After the owner showed us around we went by the store and doing things with 8 people is just a different experience, you buy everything in multiples and we had a 450 € bill on the first supermarket run, rolling into a register to pay and seeing the look in the cassiere’s eyes is priceless. The owner was nice enough to not let us pay the deposit of 1000 € so we used that as funds for the weekend. Already half way after 2 hours there but whatever, we did buy a lot of good stuff, I mean alcohol, we bought a lot of alcohol, also food. The champagne flowed richly along with a lot of yelling and lit fireplaces.

Live like Kings!

I tried to cook a meal which turned out great HAD I not forgotten to wash the spinach, so it actually turned out shit.

Eat sand like Bums!

Sandy as fuck and the lack of food probably also contributed to everyone being pretty drunk.
I lit up several fires throughout the house and we basically burned through the entire stack of dry wood that the owner put up. He did show us where the secret stash of dry wood was however and I kept most fires going. The day after was just chilling hard, at least for 1 part of the group. Thank God the owner of the castle was cleaning the garden and we had a very nice and relaxing saturday to the ongoing buzzing rythm of fucking lawnmowers in the background. Seeing people work their ass off while youre zipping alcohol did feel good though, cant lie.
We set up some medieval games on Sunday, maybe we went a little bit overboard and I had a bad bout of BPPV after I decided to lay down for a sec next to the pool, probably thanks to all the liqour but ended up actually saving me because the games were a little too intense to be walking the next day if I have to believe everybody else who did do all the different disciplines.

All in all it was a very good weekend, I healed up pretty good and decided to keep on going after the weekend.

I am now going to rant about Luijk and Belgium. Luijk..what a shit city it is. Like really, really shit. Of course Ive driven through the city a couple of times before but I was just amazed at how little this city improves over time. 

After the weekend my friends dropped me off in Luijk and I went around the city a bit to give it a chance to redeem itself, but there was absolutely no chance for redemption. Everything is grey from pollution, the people are generally unfriendly (then again they live in Luijk) and every road is basically a construction site. Cars everywhere, the river has this weird tint that makes it look like poison and well, if I lived there I would probably rape children as well. Thats a (horrible) joke, dont sue me.

What the hell is up with Belgium anyway. Can we even call this a country? All the Belgium people in my life that I ever met always had something weird about them. If you spend enough time with them theres always going to be some cultural crack, where you for example thought you agreed on something but the Belgian just isnt going to keep their end of the bargain or wasnt clear about things in the first place.. Even the owner of the castle. The guy had dry wood inside that we literally burned through on the first evening and he pointed out this container that we could supposedly use if we ran out of wood. That wood was wet as fuck and when we tried to talk to him about it he just wove it away like we were fucking crazy. Too bad for him Im a fucking Dragon. I hate to say it and I almost never use a comb this large but sheesh, I never ran into a person from Belgium that I could fully trust, maybe its just their disdain towards me as a Hollander or maybe Im biased as a Dutch person, no clue. Im just warning you for future encounters…A-NY-WAY.

At the end of the day I finally found the best thing in Luijk, and thats the train to the French border. Belgium can lick my balls and work the shaft (until proven otherwise..).

The next morning I woke up early because my hosts had to go to work. I had the weirdest dream ever about my hometown turning into a war zone where rival streetgangs were duking it out. I would like to remind you that my hometown was nominated as the safest town in 2014 so there really isnt any reason for this. I also dreamt memories into the dream which was weird. Not smoking weed really gets you going in the dreaming department..

I went inside the house and there was a basket filled with all kinds of goodies, as well as a basket full of cleanerish/freshish laundry that dried during the night in front of the fireplace. I ate and I went back to sleep since my calves were still hurting like hell. 
When I did finally woke up I felt revitalized. My calves were easing up and I just reckoned I had a bit of a salt deficiency. Maybe also walking 15km through dark woods in the evening had something to do with it as well.

I went on my way and the road was quaint, sat at the Smallest Cafe in Sleen for a quick tea and continued on. Slept in a field near Coevorden. The next day I was going to buy a new leash for Lucy at the pet store there. The lady was very friendly and she gave me a couple of snacks for Lucy to take along as well free of charge < 3. I walked until Hardenberg, I had family living there I remember from visits when I was young but we didnt really keep in touch and you cant just be popping in all bummy and shitty. I put my tent up in a secluded spot. The next day Ommen was the next stop and just barely went over it, it was already getting dark and there was this tower off in the distance sticking out above the trees. I climbed the stairs and I was tired as hell and decided to sleep there.. It just looked too romantic to pass up on and maybe I just played too many video games in general. THIS WAS A STUPID IDEA. Not only was it windy. Every now and again rain would also just blow into the tower (that didnt have anything blocking the wind except for a wood panel here and there). Still I managed but I woke up at some point during the night and I felt like I was on fire, not really but a weird tingly, burning sensation got a hold of me, like a hotflash. I closed up my sleeping bag again (no idea how it got open). Still slept quite good with weird dreams and everything.

The next morning some lovely tourists woke me up as the whole tower was shaking, the look on their faces was pretty priceless being surprised anybody was up there. Yea I felt like a real hobo now. Fucking idiot sleeping 50m above the ground in this weather? What the fuck..

I couldnt care less, strapped on my boots and ate some of the food that I carried along on a bench below the tower. There was about a 5 degrees difference with upstairs, what the hell was I thinking..

Continued down the path until the nearest cafe where I had a tea to warm up. The bar was an old inn where knights back in the day would used to gather to discuss political matters. Quite intriguing, I chatted a bit with the owner and he also gave some snacks for Lucy to take along. I must say that this part of the Netherlands is actually pretty nice nature wise. Never had I walked here or just strolled around and now I was walking across meadows and forests and it all had a very Dutch aftertaste (with trashcans everywhere/roadsigns/people) but still it was nice to have a little bit of a change of scenery. I continued down the road until I got to Lemele, there was an old lady sweeping up the acorns of her driveway and I asked if she could refill my waterbottle, she politely told me to walk along into her house which I found a bit gullible be it in a very sweet way. She also told me the bar was closed and when I asked for a supermarket she said they had one but it closed down..Yea it was that kind of village. I sat at the bar anyway and brewed a nice coffee for myself anyway. After Lemele I went through fields and I could see rainclouds in the distance and birds flying overhead from the dark cloud, I looked at where the wind was coming frommmmmmmandyeaaaaaaa.. I wasnt going to dodge this motherfucker. As I took shelter at a tree I did find out that my mexican blanket actually fitted under my jacket, so there was a silver lining to this dark cloud. The rain was so bad that soon the tree wasnt good enough and I walked to a B&B that was advertised on a tree I passed earlier. I asked the owner if I could put up my tent in the yard but she kept repeating that shes not a campsite, I understand you honey, your lawn probably isnt big enough (badam tss).. I stayed and sheltered on her patio until at some point her husband arrived at the house and he offered to take me to a campsite about 2-3 km away, which of course Im not going to turn down when its pouring rain. 
The owners of the campsite offered me a coffee straight away which was very nice and as Im doing a quick handwash the owner comes in and tells me that I could stay in the recreation room if I wanted. There, I was absolutely raped by mosquito’s, tried putting my scarf over my face but it didnt help one bit. Finally put up my tent and put the pegs in between some of the tiles that had a little space in them to create a sort of makeshift mosquito net, this worked out pretty well and I could hear the little bitches buzzing around.

The next day of course everything was still wet and I needed to wait for my clothes to dry. I wasnt planning on going that far so I had time. A friend was going to pick me up for Castle Weekend and we decided that Zwolle was the best place for a quick pickup. That means that I only needed to go to Hellendoorn today which was only about 10km out. Eventually left with wet socks on but they were mostly dry.. Went to the church in Hellendoorn to get a stamp but its just practically impossible to find a church thats open on a daily basis in the Netherlands.

I was going to take the train from Nijverdal which is attached at the hip to Hellendoorn. I thought it be better if I slept in or near Hellendoorn and take the train the next day instead of going with the train now and then finding a place to sleep in Zwolle in the dark.

Between Hellendoorn and Nijverdal was a cemetery. Now this may sound weird but cemeteries are great places to wild camp. They have water, usually a grass field (no not on where they spread the ashes lol) and its usually pretty secluded. Without overcoming the stigma of sleeping on or near a cemetery its going to be very hard getting through France and I had already grown numb to the experience, of course youre going to be slightly on edge due to all the horror movies and just the general eeriness of the place. At the cemetery I found an old workbench in a sort of garden shack. This would do for tonight although I didnt feel very comfortable with last nights rape still fresh on my mind.

Just as it was getting dark, I walked over the cemetery calling friends and I saw a light pop up at the info booth.. I went to investigate and I found that they had a handicap toilet that was still open, it was connected to the info booth so it stayed pretty warm and I would have water and a toilet, I already took a #2 this afternoon so Thank the Lord I wasnt going to have to take a dump in my makeshi(f)t bedroom.

Almost no one visits cemeteries nowadays so the place was spotless and it wasnt like I had to eat off the floor or anything. 
The next day I took the train to Zwolle where my friend picked me up and we drove to Utrecht to pickup another friend. This weekend we had the Castle booked and it was going to be nice to spend a little time in absolute, fucking decadent, luxury. Not sure if I was going to continue after that yet but I just had to see how things went and how I felt. Building a couple of fires in one of the 13 or so fireplaces, scattered across the mansion, would probably be good for healing.

So by no means Im an expert but the Pieterpad is definitely something that I want to return to someday. The Netherlands in general has a lot more to offer in terms of walking than I held previously possible and I feel kind of stupid admitting this since its my fucking home country. The people were friendly and warm. The weather was absolute shit even though I got pretty lucky, only having to put on my poncho on the 3rdactual day of walking.

There is however enough time to do this one day and still walking through the Netherlands felt weird in itself, because it doesnt feel like youre abroad.

If were talking numbers then I did about 11 stretches totaling ≈160 Kilometers. Today was the 10th and I officially left on the 2nd of October, not particularly fast, not particularly slow. My blisters were already pretty healed up and I felt good enough to go. Although it was really fucking cold during the nights. I felt good but also a little bit depressed because of just general contact depravation. Thank God I had a couple of good friends that I talked to on the regular, not to mention my family as well. Having Lucy with me was of course also a tremendous benefit. I just noticed that I didnt describe how she felt once and thats because she was fully back in the zone from the moment we left, its like we never even took a 5 year interlude and she was 10m ahead of me the entire way. Maybe thats also the answer to my lonely state – Just follow doG!

I left afternoonish and took the train to the city. Met up with my brother and a friend to have a final smoke and I felt good, the weather was nice as well. Met up with another friend who also brought her daughter. We walked towards Martini Church and I got a beautiful stamp there. The guy who gave it to me was very interested. I felt like kind of a loser for having such a difficult start and for having to drag my ass there a 2ndday but he lifted my spirit by showing interest and I could see the longing in his eyes too. This put me back on the ground instead of under it. There is no time constraint, there is no expectation, there is only the path and the adventure. The test.

I got a stamp at the church and went on my way. Called a friend but sadly he wasnt home. Walking out of Groningen was nice but it felt really weird. In cities youre either being judged in 2 ways, either youre a bum or people are interested in you. Already talked to 3 random strangers just because of the backpack and/or Lucy and this normally didnt really happen (in this quantity). After following the Pieterpad for a kilometer of 5 I could already notice that they were leading me along needless detours here and there just to show the scenery. I really dont mind that much but it does add up in the end. At the end of the day I found a nice place to camp on the outskirts about couple of kilometers after Haren. Wildcamped in a field where I hoped nobody would see me and just as I got off the phone telling my mother how lucky I was with the weather, it started raining. Had a very good night sleep either way with the fog obscuring my presence.

The next day it was raining like crazy and I decided to get going anyway. Early Friday morning, I left before there was any real traffic and I headed to Zuidlaren, be it a little bit off the course that the path that the map showed me. In Zuidlaren all the churches were closed and I couldnt get a stamp, I ate and brewed a coffee while I warmed and it was so cold and wet that I had to put my sleeping bag over my head and Lucy on my lap, just to feel my hands again. I walked through Zuidlaren and every now and again I would ask people if they knew this was the right direction, turns out that Zuidlaren is one big circle-jerk of paths crossing and it became apparent to me that I wasnt in France. The signs here were littered everywhere on either sides and there was no clear method to the madness. So normally theres a red line and a white line and thats means straight on. Then theres a little leg on the left if you need to turn right and a little leg on the left if you needed to take the first one right (sort of like a flag). Now some creative sons o’ bitches actually made arrows out of the red and the white line and all kinds of other shenanigans. 

I ended up almost walking back to Groningen, this woman saved me and sent me the right way. Eventually I walked back to where I took my first break and I literally took the path in the wrong direction about an hour or 2, just fucking grand! But its whatever. Once I got back on the path it was kind of easy to follow, even with the creative clusterfuck signs and at the end of this big open field I found a house that was under construction. I snooped around and there was nobody there (Thank God for VrijMiBo’s). A staircase led me upstairs where there was more cobwebs and nails sticking out of the floorboards, not the best place to sleep. I found a little broom closet that had a ladder going up to a 2ndfloor and decided this was where I set up my bed for the night. The room was reasonably finished and at least wind/rainproof. I took up some chairs and a table and hung my stuff to dry from the previous night and I felt pretty ninja to be honest. The house even had one of these porta-potties and this came in exactly the right time winkwink. The town didnt have anything in it except for a pancake house and it was still open for an hour so I decided to run over there and refill my water bottles. Made myself a nice coffee and wrote a little in my diary until it got dark. I wasnt risking turning on my light because I didnt want to attract any attention. 

The next day I woke up, took my time to tidy the whole place up, even took a broom up to the room that I slept in and just as I was about to leave, I couldnt find Lucy her leash.. I searched everywhere but weirdly enough, it was just gone. Spent an hour trying to look for it, it had sentimental value to me besides the fact that I NEEDED A FUCKING DOGLEASH. Eventually opened up my bag and went through all the stuff but alas, nothing. Then I heard a car and the owner of the house showed up. Landrover, purplepants, posh glasses and all walked up to house and it didnt take long for Lucy to start barking and run up to him and his golden retriever. The jig was up and I should have left earlier. Do a morally, arguable thing and get punished for it right away. I walked up to him and greeted him and he was friendly although slightly suspicious. I told him about the leash and that I lost it and I even left my phone number in case he would find it. I didnt tell him I slept in his house obviously and I really pray that he doesnt read this lol. Then again I left the place cleaner than I found it, didnt break anything and gave him a new leash for his dog, so Im driving karma neutral here. 

Continued over the world famous(?) Baloërveld. A sand/meadow area that made it pretty hard to walk and the sun was shining pretty heavily. Sand is better than mud, so Im not complaining but it felt like walking over a beach.

I could already see a church from far out and I was going to walk to Rolde. Turns out this is a church dedicated to St. Jacob or Santiago, the patron saint of the path Im walking. Pretty funny and they had a telephone number up if you wanted to get a stamp. A nice lady showed up soon enough after I called and I got a beautiful one, she even showed me around the church. Had a little food and continued on. At some point it got dark but I felt pretty good and decided to just keep on going, crossed a reasonable big forest in the dark and saw a couple of owls hunting that scared the shit out of me. At the end there was a part where the animals are just roaming free and it had several warning signs, kind of took the gamble and just decided to go. Kept Lucy on a short leash or rope rather (since purplepants Landrover has my leash now) and it worked out fine. Found a campsite and the reception was already closed. Decided to take a good shower anyway and slept in a room where there were washing machines. The campsite was about 25 € and Im not going to pay that for half a night.

Since I switched clothes I had to find somewhere to do my laundry the next day. The night was cold but good enough and it felt really good to have a good shower. The next day during a hike through the forest I ran into 2 people that I started talking to, they hosted Vrienden op de Fiets, an organisation that offers people a place to stay sort of bed and breakfast thing. They offered me to stay the night. They gave me dinner, breakfast the next day and a nice discount on the whole thing. I bought them a little plant thingy to show my gratitude.

I got to sleep in a caravan and they even did my laundry, I paid a little bit above my planned budget but it was worth it and I got a lot in return for it. We had some nice conversations and I realized at some point that one of the things that kept me going the last time around is the little encouragements by complete strangers that you get along the way. How can you even ponder quitting if people gave you something out of the kindness of their heart. I slept like a baby and so did Lucy, the next day my laundry was ready and she gave me a breakfast basket while they went off to work. Sweetest people ever and I got really lucky with a bed, laundry and some well needed social contact. 

I was planning on leaving by the end of October, I already had a weekend in a castle planned with friends on the 10thof October and my plan was to walk the Pieterpad (a long distance walking route through the Netherlands). Doing the entire Pieterpad would mean that I would have to leave around the 20thof October, it was my dad’s birthday on the 26thand it seemed like the right plan to leave after that. We had a nice family get together and it was good seeing the whole family one last time before my trip. Fate threw me a curveball however and I wasnt leaving as planned. Since I didnt have a real deadline or anything I took it slow and abided my time.

Coincidentally there was a death in the family that I felt like I had to attend, also found out that the Pieterpad doesnt actually passes through the place where my grandmother was buried. The death in the family was in Germany and we would pass by the town where she was buried so waiting seemed to serve multiple goals. Now you can look at this as bad omens and of course to some extend they were but I wasnt going to wait for the winter to pass and doing a summer camino. The time of waiting felt over and I wanted to see where my limits lay, maybe a long winter hike is going to be that limit. 
Finally after all was said and done, I set out on Wednesday the 2ndof October.

Ofcourse I couldnt just walk off that easily. Society’s clutches are pretty strong and the forces in this world werent going to give me an easy trip or anything.. Walking through the Netherlands and also your hometown is just a weird experience since you know every corner and all the tiny little details about the place but still you dont actually feel like you belong there at that moment, until Groningen was going to be a route that I had already walked time and time again. The day before I left, I had a sort of a training day and I went to a friend and walked maybe like 10km. Even though my bag was heavy, I felt like I could handle it. 

The next day I left and as soon as it started raining I noticed that I didnt have a maximal setup for my mexican blanket (which is made out of wool) which will soak up all the rain right away. The road was nice though as was the weather until I reached the city limits of Groningen.

I could notice a blister forming on my feet and the fact that I set myself up for a deadline (once again) wasnt very smart to begin with but I kept on going. It was already getting pretty late and with the on and off rain coming in here and there I wasnt exactly getting into the flow. I didnt make the deadline at all so I went to do that other deadline – get a stamp from the Martini Church in Groningen, I wasnt going to start walking from my home and not get a fucking stamp there. I went by the church but they werent open, the tourist office told me that they were open tomorrow (hahah duh). Just an extra fuck you dime in fate’s coinsack. As the bad omens keep piling on I came to the conclusion that this was also part of the test. Was I going to quit? Find a job and leave in the summer? Or just carry on running headfirst into that wall until it breaks. Since my head is pretty hard I decided on the latter.
Its all a test, one big fucking test and when life gives you lemons – you fucking eat them (Lemonade is for children).

I ended up walking to Groningen and then took the train right back to Zuidhorn, like a million times before. My savior and the very bane of my existence. The blister on my feet was getting kind of intense at this point but I took good care of it when I got back home. One last night, after this long a period, with my parents wouldnt hurt. Putting them through 2 times of goodbyes kind of made it easier as well it felt like, where as I thought it would make it harder. The fucking joke was completely on me but I was still determined on leaving the next day.

Doing a routine checkup on my bag I found out that there were a lot of things that I actually didnt need all the time, therefor I chose to leave these things.No walkietalkies, no little screwdriver set, no extra pants, no spare Tshirts, no SuNsCrEeN!, no OIL for MY knives!!, NO SPARE UNDERWEAR!! NO LEATHERMAN!!! (to name a few). This is why you cant have nice things Jordy, you cant fucking carry em! This lightened the load by a substantial margin. I contemplated leaving my costume for the castle behind as well since that would allow me a substantial amount of extra space and therefor more stuff that actually comes in handy long term but fuck me sideways, Im not going to let a little weight and somewhat essential stuff come in the way of my commitment and honor to the group. 

The weekend with my friends was going to be a breaking point/sort of safety net built into the journey where I could still decide on my sanity and have an easy ride back. Knowing they would pick me up where ever I was without having a deadline really put me at ease as well as be a nice break from the walking itself (as well as a goodbye were I to to continue). It all depended on how Lucy felt, I felt, how the road treated me and if I got signs that this was the right thing to do at this time. 

My parents and me had a laugh about the whole thing and it was an evening like one I experienced a 1000 times over, we watched True Grit – a film that has been in my library for quite some time but it seemed I never gotten around to watching it. I cannot say I did not take this as a small sign. 

Get over here Wall, I want you to meet Forehead.

After returning back home safe and sound I decided to live with my grandmother for a while. She was 86 years old when I returned home but she was still living in the house that she and my grandfather built pre-2000. My grandfather passed away not that extremely long after that and my thought was that she could use the company. I was living mostly with her but went over to my parents every now and again, usually during the weekends. I thought I was going to be able to find a job near her but since she lives in the wrong side of the province in terms of job availability, it was rather hard finding something that suited my skillset. Looking back on it, I think it was maybe the perfect time to acclimatize back to the institution of society after being away from it for quite some time. It was a good time although not quite as expected and I found it pretty hard to adjust back to “normal” life (not even sure if I ever went back to normal life).
On the camino I found Lucy but also a girlfriend from the US, we kept in touch and got very serious about us at some point in time, it was a pretty good thing to have her in the back of my mind while Im bored out of my mind. Good things come to those who wait and waiting I was at my Grandmother’s for now.

I did get some work done in the form of digitalizing my diary but it was nowhere to my satisfaction and it didnt give me any feelings of productivity. My plan was to be on the road for a longer amount of time but how I was going to do that was completely beyond me and I couldnt find the angle of approach. This went on for about a year, year and a half after which I really really needed a job again. Got one in Groningen pretty fast when I did finally put my mind to it and it didnt take me long before I sank back into society again. Still living with my parents though. My reasoning for this was that last time I felt really weighed down by just all the material stuff that I had acquired, this was by no means a lot but being stuck in this ratrace I could see my whole life in front of me 20-30-60 years into the future. My appartment and all the stuff in it before, instead of giving me that feel of independence and gratification weighed on my Soul like a ton of bricks. 

Now only a year later I felt like I did a crashcourse of what I wanted in and out of life. Moving back to my parents felt like sacrificing social status for that ultimate goal. Why would I want my own place if I only want to go away at some point was my reasoning. Looking back on that I also shouldnt have done that but ya know, society is this endless stream of just being lived by and its easy to get lost in the forest. Frankly I would have left sooner if you’d ask me 4 years ago but the timing wasnt quite right.

I tried to keep a clear goal in mind however and it wasnt time wasted. No not at all. I met some great people that I consider family now in those 5 years, got to travel to my previously mentioned girlfriend in the US several times (which gave me great new perspectives about the world) and I got to live and get to know my grandmother better than I ever would have, had I stayed my original pre-Camino path. Along the way somewhere I also got hit by a car, it took me 6 months of video games to get my body back and about 50 days on the Pyrenees to get my mind back.. Life is life and it goes along you like a stream and if you dont think about where the fuck the stream is actually taking you, you might not even see the waterfall coming.


There is no time wasted if you appreciate life and the things that just are. I got a good hard look at myself and society once again, all the while the embers of adventure were slowly fanned in the background. Timing, sacrifice, water, blood is what I wrote in my diary I discovered recently and I think those are major aspects of life. 

After 5 years it felt like things were nearing its conclusion, the world had changed and I changed again alongside it. I didnt necessarily lose myself in the society’s forest although there were certainly a couple of hurdles that I had to take. Life is nothing if you dont at least regret a certain part of the choices that you made, they help us grow and see the contrast between where you want to go and where you dont want to go. 

So fucking this is it then, lets get this show on the road. Leaving for a winter Camino, I knew/know its going to be tough as nails but I got some more experience over the years. Always kept that goal of traveling into the unknown in mind and sought out skills and people that might complement that. Im glad that I got to reconnect with old friends as well as finding new ones and even the ones that I lost along the way I learned from. Its time to manifest my destiny. The people that are dear to me will always stay dear to me and theres no goodbye’s with any of them. Not unless they choose so. 

Never be a leaf in the wind, always expect the waterfall, dont let the Devil put fear and doubt in your Soul..

2 full days to get back home after I woke up. If things were going like yesterday, I should be able to make it. I met a nice person in Antwerp on my way starting the camino and we kept in touch during my trip. We already loosely agreed that I was going to stay at her place on the way back but since everything was up in the air, it was kind of hard to coordinate stuff. 

Just as Im fixing up my camino shell that came off, I put my hitchhiking sign saying Le Pays-Bas (in red/white/blue letters) on the ground. I wasnt paying attention until I heard this friendly voice behind me ask if I needed a ride. He spoke Dutch to me as well and he said he was Belgian on his way back from Spain and that he was going to Brussels. He also had 2 dogs with him but he kept those in the back of his car since they were the uncontrollable, too-big-to-be-having-to-cause-shit-while-driving-kind of dog. 

We talked and things went splendidly. I read somewhere on the Hitchwiki that as a hitchhiker, the only thing that you can give back to someone is a good conversation, looks like calling 0.5% of Dutch society in my profession for the last 7 years DOES come in handy.

He was carrying building materials in a trailer in the back of his car so we slogged on through France at a good 70-80 km per hour. Took a couple of stops to freshen the dogs and ourselves up and we had some great conversations about life in general. Did you know Belgium actually killed and punished Dutch speaking people in the past just for speaking Dutch? At least thats what he told me and no I did not fact check this at all since it doesnt seem far fetched. Give me 10 days, an army and I Willem put a stop to that..

The whole trip took us about 9 hours but we finally reached Brussels at around 2100h. I had already texted my friend from Antwerp and she offered to pick me up from Brussels and then we could sleep at her place. We arrived and I tried to show her some of my photos from the trip and I actually fell asleep while still trying to swipe through the pictures, you gotta love the commitment there. 

Thank God she was the easy going type and didnt take offense to it. I slept like a baby on the ground next to her bed, pious lil’ bitch that I am.

The next day we woke up and she had work in the hospital, we agreed to drink some coffee before that. I was looking at Blablacars, a once great application that lets you hitchhike for a small fee. This is good because you dont feel so guilty, you take away the uncertainty (and a little bit of the retrospective fun) and you arrive somewhere in a certain place for sure. I also found that the people were very nice usually that offered up their car and had interesting backstories. 

I found a ride going to Emmen, which was about half an hour / 45 minutes from my grandmothers and that would actually mean that I arrived there on her birthday! When the whole family would have already gathered. The road was fine, nothing too exciting happened, got a recipe to make my own pesto and as far as Blablacars go, it was a standard one. I already texted my uncle and he agreed to come pick me up in the evening from Emmen. Great timing, great everything. My uncle and me had a nice reunion and we talked a bit about my journey and life. My plan was to live with my grandmother for a while and to not only acclimatize myself back to society but also getting to know her better and keeping her company. The endgoal of my return home was also to try to loosen myself out of society in the hopes of being on the road fulltime. The way I was doing it now was just quite impractical and I needed a way to sustain myself all the while getting rid of some of the things that I had. They only weighed me down in the end..

We arrived at my grandmother’s and as soon as I entered the door she came in with her walking rack, I embraced her and she had a good hard long look at me and said; 

You are not Jordy, you have changed, where is my old Jordy? :’ (

(Insert violin outtro music)

She was right.. 

Dont worry grandma..

Now we all have our things in life that we need to deal with, some people cant wait to get that fast car, a house and kids. Some people cant wait to make a promotion and some people think its alright to screw someone over to get what they want. Some people steal and some people kill and most of us waste. As this empire is drawing to a close theres a little bit of blame that comes all our ways. Poor choices in our life make us lash out, sometimes at friends… Where Im going with this is that we all have our fears and our doubts and it makes us not our optimal selves, now not everybody is cut from the same cloth. To me there is some Universal Truth, some base layer that all humans posses. Finding your outlet however and trying to become a better person for it – is completely personal and optional. Being on the road and truly testing myself is where I find my outlet..2 days left until my grandmothers birthday, 2 days left..

I walked up to the 3 sketchiest mofo’s that I could see and they looked at me alerted but slightly interested. A small guy that seemed like a true Slav (Romanian A). A square blockhead kind of guy that looked like he strolled straight down the Caucus mountains, got in a van and drove to France (Romanian B) and 1 more astute fellow (Romanian C) that just made his life by being a carrier for whatever he had in his trunk this week. 

Romanian A & B almost spoke no English but Romanian C did, very well even and I asked them if I could hitch a ride. They were talking among themselves in what I believe to be Romanian and after 30 seconds I wished them well on their journey and started to walk away. They called me back and the Romanian C said that they were discussing things (obviously).

They had this setup in mind where Lucy + my backpack could go with Romanian B in the trunk, I could sit with Romanian C and the Romanian A had sympathy but basically wanted nothing to do with me or it. Alarmbells, can you hear em? They went off all around in my head and of course the red flags were extremely obvious BUT I was on a mission and according to my life philosophy, Im probably going to find common ground with anybody. Everybody has their reasons to do what they do and the setup they had in mind was probably just as much a failsafe for them as it was a barrier to me. 

While pondering my options, Romanian B managed to tell me in the most broken English – its a chance, its a chance. Yes it is my friend, yes it is. 

After shortly weighing the options I decided to take them up on their offer, put my sleeping mat in the back of the van of Romanian B and got in the van with Romanian C. I wasnt allowed to smoke my own cigarets and the guy insisted that I’d smoke his. Marlboro’s ya know, No time to not cowboy, no time to roll my own. I texted my brother the license plates of the vans along with my current location/the direction we were traveling and saying that I would check-in every hour or so to make sure I wasnt on the side of the road, face down in the mud somewhere.

Red flags aside, these guys were fucking interesting. Romanian C told me that he did a million kilometers in the last year alone and we were only 10 months into the year. His itinerary was that he was going to drive to Hull (Northern UK) by Friday evening and then he wanted to be in Bulgaria by Sunday. Their driving represented this statement and it became very clear that the vans they drove, even if they had very heavy industrial equipment in the back, were an extension of them. They literally were their vans. Driving these heavy ass vans across Europe to them was like operating an electronical toothbrush or flipping through TV channels for us mere humans.

To me it felt like getting on the rollercoaster or an airplane, you already made your choice and now its out of your hands. You might as well enjoy yourself a little while youre at it.

As we flew over the Pyrenees the guy looked at me, radio in one hand, map on the steering wheel, steering the car with his knee and talking in Romanian to his fellow wolves. A flash in the distance signaled the beginning of rain. The guy looked at me still holding his map folded out over the entire steering wheel and his radio in one hand and he said to me; “Are you scared?” with a slight Russian pronunciation. I told him that I wasnt and that I had faith in him. 

‘This is your captain speaking’. Were going to fly this aluminum cage to your vacation destination. Maybe the plane has been checked, maybe not. Maybe the pilot is doing cocaine in the bathroom, maybe his co-pilot is some suicidal maniac thats going to park the plane on that mountainside over there.

Nah, I already made my choice as soon as I got into that van and now I lived or died by that choice. A warm sort of relief swept over me that I didnt have to worry about it anymore. Could have been the feeling of a prey going limp in the jaws of a predator but I didnt feel like a victim at all. Nor did they treat me this way, Romanian C asked me asked me at some point what if he grabbed a knife and stuck it deep in my belly, opened the car door and just left me on the side of the road and I explained to him that he could and that it would fully be his choice for a handful of quarters and dimes, not to mention a doG. He took a liking to that answer. 

Romanian C and me got along just fine, we talked about politics and the state of the World. Romanian A & B popped in over the radio every now and again to ask him some questions about how its going and at some point they asked why the fuck would I ever walk across several countries. They were slightly impressed if not blown away, it gave me a sense that I felt along the way many times where people are just in awe of how fucking crazy it is what youre doing, I find these reactions priceless although hard sometimes to give a good answer to that.
A wolf can be a solitary animal but they form packs because it exponentially grows their opportunities, wolves as a packhave a clear division in roles and hierarchy as well as some above average, problem solving capabilities, this while tempering each- and looking out for each- other. These 3 people were a pack, they rode together, dodging tollbooths like a log left over a river to cross it, riding the highway like it was a river and howling to each other and discussing strategies and plays. Living on the fringes of society, being on their own for their own but much sense of self – they did not need or have.

There were multiple reasons why they wanted to dodge any form of authority, maybe they had something sketchy in their van (which I dont believe) or maybe because all authorities, anywhere, always gave them shit for just being Romanian, Wolves be Wolves.. Its the stigma and the fear that stigma causes that really fucks em. These guys to me were straight shooters if not a little bit rough around the edges, living out in the forest of highways is hard enough as is and ofcourse youre going to get rough, Wolves adapt. HUMANS ADAPT!

We had a couple of pitstops where they offered me coffee and I got to checkup on Lucy and ofcourse checked in with my brother, I would say this was an exhilarating but pleasant experience overall. Romanian C explained to me that all his money basically went to his family in Romania straight away. That and the cigarets he was chain smoking constantly. To get something like a cigarets or coffee or a fucking ride across the border(!) from people like this really makes you think about luxury and the needs and wants in life. Life wasnt easy for them and they were getting shat on every other corner they drove around. Still grinding on, still trying to do good in this world (at least from my perspective).

I found common ground with these scruffy, hard working people and they helped me along on my way immensely. That day I had 3 rides and I shaved almost 700km off my journey back home. Today had been the 4thof November and I had a very good shot at reaching home just in time for my grandmothers birthday. They dropped me off in Bordeaux and then made dinner, they also insisted on giving me Romanian asparagus (?) soup (photo) and I felt like a pup in the pack for a moment, one of the most memorable and nicest ride Ive ever hitched. Daunting at first but then overcoming it and having a rare sneak peek into a world thats normally hidden from us, not to mention they were pretty nice cooks. They nicotined me, fed me and helped me on my way tremendously. Funny enough I was also their first hitchhiker ever. I hope I left a positive impression.

I slept upright with Lucy on my lap at the side of a gas station since it was my middle name anyway and since putting up my tent would have only put attention on me. Even with a long-line of survivor Wolves like Lucy guarding my stuff.

Safety first people..


Sitting alongside the major highways for an entire week huffing on fucking traffic pollution was exactly the kind of rebalancing I needed after going on a spiritual walk across the most pristine mountaintops that I had ever experienced. See Spanish people are like Dutch people in that regard where theyre not going to stop somewhere, going out of their way to help you get on your way (and thats fine). Going to the different roads leading out of Santiago that in turn led to the major highways into the mainland every day for 7 days in a row was a fucking pain. Did I tell you that my grandmothers birthday was also coming up? That I had a sort of deadline? I liked working with deadlines back in those days..
So sheesh, words.. At this time my grandmother (God rest her soul) was ~86 years old and one of the things that drew me back home was that continuing meant that I would not be able probably to go to her funeral let alone share time with her at the end of her life. Also didnt have that much funds. At the end of my Camino it was the 21stof October and I planned on being back in The Netherlands on her birthday, which was the 6thof November. 

After sitting by the road for 7 days straight, sleeping illegally in a shower compartment on a campsite in Santiago (police eventually caught me at my wild camping spot, its a long story..), I ran into this woman through a mutual friend that I met along the way and once again, France was here to save my ass. 

A woman that I met through a French fellow bum was named Estelle, she was driving back from Santiago de Compostela to Lugo. Now Ive been to Lugo and it was all mountain folk up there, no way I was getting a ride from there so we agreed that she would drop me off on the way. I found that when you needed an Angel there was always somebody offering something to you that helped you on your way. Be it pity, be it service, Im really not picky in these things. The road went alright, she drove like an animal but then again I smelled like an animal and we got along just fine. She decided to drop me off in smallville Spanish town just at the bottom of a mountain. I spent the day there and related to some professional bums that made it their damn purpose to live on the Camino. I mean I was there for about 5 months, walking from the Netherlands. These 2 gringo’s were there for 12 years. One of em had made a flat stone into a necklace that he gave me. Fuck the rope is what I always say so I took only the stone. A most amazing finely drilled or rather scratched hole into a flat stone, its whatever. While I drank wine with them they got 20 bucks from some random Spanish lady. They explained to me that this was doG taking care of them and at the end of my journey, believe me, this made perfect sense. 

Hitched a ride the next day with some hunter to the smallest little mountain town you ever saw called O’Cebreiro. Walked into the tavern like it was nobody’s business and even though it was touristic as hell I still met some nice people there. First sat at a table with a handful of Russians that I didnt understand but a golden smile both ways – goes a long way. Of course I had Lucy, the icebreaker with me and a doG with crooked teeth is just anybody’s friend.

An Italian couple invited me for dinner which I gladly accepted. Ofcourse I never kept in contact with them and I STILL BEAT MYSELF OVER THE HEAD FOR IT! They even had a daughter.. Didnt think I wouldnt make use of any daughters being advertised to me ever but c’est ca.

I slept next to a church of St. Frances, patron Saint of Nature (I proclaim) and a Saint that has been good to me along the way. It was crazy cold but then again, it was almost November. The next day there were rumors of snow and that meant I just had to get out of the town, didnt matter how rainy or cold it was. Getting stuck in the snow means having to endure winter there and to be honest, nobody has the money for that kind of shit.

I woke up, met some pilgrims on their way to Santiago, some were doing it barefoot and I offered them some of the sheabutter that Ive been using, it makes your feet harder but I am in no capacity to talk informative to someone who already did 500km+ on his barefeet being fucking Biblical and shit. So I didnt present it in that way obviously. They were on their way as was I, now on my way back. Breath in, breath out..

As I was walking by the road through the rain I held up my shell and my thumb to every car that passed, there were few, but still enough. At some point a car stopped and they offered me a ride to Sarria, where they dropped me off at a gas station that they knew was kind of inhabited during the night. Of course I also didnt keep in contact with these people and OFCOURSE I STILL BEAT MYSELF OVER THE HEAD FOR THIS!@!#

A girl that worked at the gas station saw me breaking into a backroom that nobody ever used but was still warm and connected to the whole of the gas station. I accepted her ride with glee and she dropped me off at some roadside restaurant, perfectly on the way but holy shit, unpleasant and truck drivery (thats not a word) as fuck but I made due. Sleeping in an upright position became my middle name..Paul J. ‘Sleeping Upright’ Wiertsema..

The next day someone in a suit and a Mercedes offered to take me down the road towards wherever and (whois saying no to that). He dropped me off at a gas station on a toll road. Not a lot of people coming through but enough to give me a ride was what he said. He was fucking wrong.. Thank God some nice English people turned up in a camper eventually after I took a nap and I just walked up to them and asked where they were going. They were going to Santander but they were going to take the highway through Burgos which was a very, VERY good steppingstone for me to take. Kind of forced myself through my endless Charisma into their backseat and I, social as I was, slept the entire way, Lucy on my lap and all. In Burgos they dropped me off at a gas station that was inhabited by all kinds of “degenerates” and we drank a cup of coffee and we shared a nice moment. Apparently I was their first hitchhiker ever but they appreciated me, the coffee and felt like they helped me on their way.(WHICH THEY DID, ALSO LOST THEIR NUMBER DAMNIT, PLEASE BEAT ME OVER THE HEAD FFS!). 

Late in the afternoon, I was either going to sleep there or try my luck. Not a whole lot in between. I felt lucky and I put Lucy on a leash. I walked up to 3 white Mercedes vans with Romanian license plates, driven by the shadiest motherfuckers you will ever come across. Then again, I am probably the shadiest motherfucker that you will come across as well and it kind of felt on par. Camino shell around my neck, sparkle in my eyes, a fucking doG thats just adorable and a little bit of go fuck yourself aura. 

“Romanian, your voice sounds so odd, is something the matter?” he asked.
“Oh I just chainsmoke cigarets all day” squeaked the Slav adding a cough at the end to prove his point. “But Romanian! What big ears you have.” as he stepped a little closer towards the van. “The better to hear you with, lonely hitchhiker” replied the Kosak. “But Romanian! “What big eyes you have”. “The better to see you with, little pilgrim” replied the Carpath.

“But Romanians! what big teeth you have!”

Introduction to the blog

Its been at least 5 years since Ive written anything about anything. Maybe some of you read something by me here and there but Ive never actually taken the time, felt the need (or had the guts) to just run my big fucking mouth for all to see. 

In that same sentiment I would like to start this journey with the ending of my last journey, not just to satiate my beloved regulars but also give a little bit of a hint of what this website is going to be about. A sort of little taste of things to come, inshallah.

So after being a month in Santiago de Compostela I kind of had enough of the whole living-like-a-homeless-person. I had already decided on going back home after this since the cup of adventure had been adequately filled if not overflown a bit. Just as I got pulled on this crazy thing called the Camino de Santiago, I felt like the same force was also pulling me towards HOME.

Returning home is easier said than done however, ya know, you can talk about stuff but its very hard to sometimes implement the practical thing to that as well. Fucking getting out of Santiago back to the Netherlands was that practical part. The bus wasnt an option, airplanes were out of the question since then Lucy (my doG) would need to go into quarantine for an amount of time and that barely left any other options than hitchhiking.

I present to you < 3

The Way Back