#1 Walking hardens the physique
Let’s start with the banal. A long walk keeps the body in perfect function, walking at a normal pace for long stretches, according to numerous researches, burns more fat than jogging. But the benefits are manifold. On the. You sweat a lot. Consequently, you are inclined to drink lots of water if you have the opportunity. This continuous exchange of liquids is good for the body. You learn to breathe properly. When you are under stress, if you want to find your pace and maintain it, you need to adopt a correct breathing regime. It seems like a secondary aspect but it is not at all.
#2 You learn about yourself
Having to line up, one after the other, thousands and thousands of steps, leads you after a short time to have a different perception of your body. You learn to know him better, you focus on what your limits are, you understand how far you can go. You learn to suffer, you learn to grit your teeth on some climbs, you learn to understand when it’s time to push and when instead of stopping. You become aware. Knowing how to manage is something that strengthens a lot, especially over long distances.
3# You can appreciate the silence, the real one
We live in the age of noise, we live in the society of noise. The frenetic motion of the city, the horns, the rings and the phone notifications. All of this remains out when you find yourself immersed in a path. What remains are the voices of your traveling companions, the continuous rhythm of the steps and long silences that are appreciated. It is a relief for the head and ears.
4# You reflect like few other times
Linked to the previous point, there is a strong possibility of thinking like few other times. About yourself, about others, about the highest systems and about the silliest arguments. The mind starts moving with the legs.
5# Live for the day in an extreme way
A long way, inevitably leads you to think about the very short term. The goal in the lead remains the final goal, towards which the efforts are directed overall. However, from day to day you have to stay on track if you want to complete each stage without being reduced to a rag. As the fatigue takes over and the stages completed increase, all your attention is turned more and more to the next step, and then to the next and the next. And so on. Every moment is lived and stripped to the maximum degree. A stop for lunch automatically becomes the only thing that matters, a simple fountain in which to cool down an elixir to be enjoyed until the last drop. A break to rest the soles of your feet turns into the best moment of the day. Not to mention the sunsets, washings and lookout points. All pearls that make up your necklace of marking memories.
6# You learn to organize your things
When planning a route to walk, you have to take into account many variables. What to put in your backpack, how to get food, identify the water points, where to sleep, the climatic conditions, the necessary equipment, are all thoughts that circulate in your head during the preparation of the trip. The organization is at the base of everything both in the previous period and in the moment in which you undertake the path. This of course if you want to do something serious. But the beauty of the organization behind a project of this type is that it will certainly bring you satisfaction. When you reach the desired goal and look back over time, you can only think with pride of the efforts and commitment made from the beginning, when the goal was conceived.
7# You learn to look after yourself
In contrast to the previous point, by walking you learn how to adapt to the most varied situations. You never know what unforeseen events – and for sure they will happen – you will face. A deviation of the wrong path, a sudden disturbance, a fierce fog bank to obscure the view, the lack of food shops along the way. These are all circumstances that inevitably lead you to grit your teeth and adapt. Very often in such conditions sides of your person come to surface that you didn’t even think you had. Pleasant surprises.
8# You always have a goal to achieve
This is perhaps the most beautiful point of all. When you launch into an intense and full experience as this can be, you always have a goal to chase in front of you. The best thing is that these goals are often the most concrete one can have: a hill to climb, a refuge to reach, a town to shop in, the next water source, an open space in which to stop and eat, arrive in the evening without particular pains. Then there is the main objective, represented by the final goal of the journey: the arrival of the last stage. That doesn’t matter, you feel shamefully happy when you can literally reach it on your lap. Seeing is believing.
9# You have real life stories to tell
Once you get home, you just don’t know where to start talking. Anecdotes are wasted, you find yourself with a lot to tell those who ask you. The places you have seen, the encounters you have had, even the misadventures, are things that remain inside you and that can partially change you. A week’s walk is enough to take you with you a baggage overflowing with lived experience, with testimonies worthy of being passed on.
10# You learn to appreciate the little things
A long shoe-on path consists of many little things. Things that in other contexts you would not notice at all but that appear amplified there: a stranger who offers you something to eat or a glass of water, an encouragement phrase from a travel companion in the moment of greatest difficulty, a particular scenario, a hot shower that wicks away sweat and discontent, a freshly washed shirt. You realize with rare crudeness how many superfluities and uselessness are surrounded our lives, and that the beauty ultimately lies in the simple. Yes, even in the stench of hiking shoes outside the tent.
Ultimately, a journey undertaken on foot becomes a training ground for extraordinary life when you find yourself there. The sensations, the impulses received, certain encounters, are all elevated to an absolutely higher degree than the everyday events that you usually face. Insured. The necessary and inevitable effort often leaves room for a very sweet aftertaste of satisfaction, every time you manage to reach some small goal that you set yourself a few kilometers earlier. A trip like this makes you feel damn alive, through thick and thin. There is always something to test yourself with. It can offer you more experience a week of trail than a month of routine.
The fear of jumping is the biggest obstacle you can find in your path
once that is overcome, it’s all downhill. So why don’t go? Are you afraid of going home shamefully happy? Come on, good adventures! We learn to seize opportunities, even when the path that brought them to us has proved to be as dramatic as for the Covid-19 pandemic. Never like this year a journey on foot to discover one’s own lands could be the right opportunity to relaunch the territory and blow off some steam (when it will be possible again, of course!)