First Night in the Forest

First camping spot on our trip 🙂 after we walked 23 km on the first day. Damn, my feet hurt!!! This morning they hurt a little less, then 5 min into the hike they started hurting again. All well though and anticipated. Soon, it should get better!

Our sleeping spot was fun. Meadow with cows close by so we heard their cow bells all night long. Then got woken up by a deer that decided to trample straight through our little camp at 6am. Today we are 3 hikers 🙂

An Ancient Tree

Found this amazing tree along our route yesterday. According to a sign next to it, this tree was first mentioned in the year 1668! It was so beautiful I wanted to stop right there and just stay.

Time to Head Out

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It’s time to head out! This morning, I’ll start my long-distance hike along the E4 in Brugg, Switzerland… Amazingly, I am not heading out alone. 3 old friends have spontaneously decided to join me. Stefan will join for the first day only. Andrea will join for the first four days. And my good old buddy Dave is open-end for now. Might be as much as a month…
If at any point in time any of you feel like joining in for a few days/weeks as well, just let me know! Any time!
Alright, here we go…

The Last Odds And Ends

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Boo is helping me pack the last odds and ends. So tempting to pack her too while we’re at it… But it’ll mean an additional 4 kg, so I guess I better not 😉 I’ll miss her to bits but, gladly, my dad is taking great care of her.

All The Stuff

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2 more days! Still packing… This is all the stuff I’m planning to take. Need to ditch a couple more things though. I’m still about 4kg too heavy. Altogether, I’m at 14kg but should have no more than 10… What to leave behind? (I have to take my iPad mini and a solar power bank so I can write while on the road).

Be Prepared

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Packing!! Only 3 more days until the start of this adventure ☀️
I am properly nervous and excited. Making sure I don’t overpack, but also being sensible regarding safety. Pepperspray, just in case. A well-stocked 1st aid kit, an emergency blanket and whistle, and a Spot Gen3 satellite tracker with which I can broadcast my location from anywhere, plus send off an SOS signal to rescue services if I need to. More tomorrow, gotta run, pack a bit more!

Writer’s Block

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In 4 days, I’ll begin what might be the adventure of a lifetime. Before I head out, I had planned to write some articles, to take with me and publish on the road (then I’ll also keep writing whilst on the way). Currently, my head is so full with packing, planning, last minute changes, ideas, and projects, that I’m experiencing what can only be described as a big ol’ writer’s block! Just now made myself a steaming hot Amarula coffee which will hopefully get me into gear!

Aromat

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What do you crave when you are far away from home? For me (don’t laugh) it’s Aromat. It’s a Swiss-ism. A quite unhealthy, artificial salt thingy. Most Swiss can’t live without it. Neither can I. And I’m not even Swiss. I’ve only lived there, off and on, for 17 years. Wherever else I went during the last 30 years, an Aromat was always with me. Making hard-boiled eggs and not having Aromat to go with it is a major emergency. Very sad.
So, even though I need to keep my backpack weight as low as possible, this Aromat shaker WILL have to come with me 😂☀️

Little Challenges

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Only 6 more days until I’ll be on my way! I’m getting quite excited and a bit frazzled. As always, the closer the date comes the more it seems like time is racing way too fast, and there is still quite a bit to prepare and test.
One of the toughest things in organizing this trip has been to find a solution for carrying my meds. Being transgender, I need to give myself an intramuscular injection every 20 days. Testosterone doesn’t grow on trees unfortunately, and it can’t just be bought over the counter either. On top of that, it should be kept in the fridge so it stays stable. Yet, I’ll be hiking in mid-summer in France and Spain, with temperatures most likely spiking up to 30 and 40 degrees Celsius…
Almost all travel refrigeration systems I looked at were useless to a hiker since they involved little ice boxes which were way too heavy and large.
Then, friends of mine (thank you Maggi and Abel!) alerted me to pouches for travelers which are being sold in Australia. There are crystals sewn into the sides of these pouches and when you put them in cold water for a couple minutes, the crystals turn into a cooling gel, which stays cool through evaporation and keeps meds safe at 8-10 degrees Celsius for up to 50 hours… by which time I’ll need to find a cold creek again to re-dunk the small pouches and re-activate them.
I wasn’t able to order these fantastic little (and also light-weight!) travel essentials in Australia, but ended up finding out that, nowadays, they are being produced in every country. As you see, the pouches have arrived and are ready to go. Nothing’s gonna stop me now 😉

The Irreplaceable Magic of Live Entertainment

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Since the Covid19 lockdown began in Germany, on March 16th 2020, I am couchsurfing… and trying not to go mad.
Here, the borders have opened again on June 15th. But, mostly, I am still on that couch, until next week, when another chapter begins…

Have you been splurging on culture as well during Covid19 lockdown? During the day, I try to be productive. I write, read and watch webinars. In the evenings, I splurge and relax. I watch shows, circus, ballet, operas, theater, and concerts, (as well as tons of movies, and TV series). It’s been my lifeline.

The creative process is so important. As is the collective experience of live entertainment (I do count movie theaters in that, too, even though, of course, actual live shows are the full monty).

When I watch a recorded show online, I try to forget everything else around me. As I begin to watch on my little MacBook Pro screen, I turn off the lights in the room where I’m sitting, put my earphones in, and turn the volume up high to shelter myself from any real-world interruptions. Then, my eyes glued to the screen, I try to forget that I am sitting on a couch all by myself. I try to feel the uncomfortable auditorium seat (preferably in dusty, vintage, red velvet) underneath me, wriggling around to find the right position to be able to enjoy the next two hours without needing a butt or spine replacement after. I try to hear the excited chatter and whispers in the auditorium before the curtain lifts, try to envision the stage, try to see the technicians and performers hiding in the wings, ready to go and do what they love. I try to transport myself to the actual performance. I soak in the vibrations of the concert hall or show venue and smile when the magic on stage unfolds and the virtual audience around me applauds.

In the end, during bows, when a full house of spectators jumps out of their seats for a standing ovation, when applause is rolling through the venue like thunder, I laugh, with tears in my eyes, hoping with all my heart that sooner rather than later I’ll be able to work backstage again. I can’t wait to stage manage shows again to do my little part in contributing to the magic.

And in my private life, I want those concerts, shows (and sold out movie theaters) back, too. I want to throw myself into cultural life, dress up, make an evening of it, feel those goosebumps again, and the elation that always comes when witnessing greatness, heart, and soul on stage.