I knew before we took the first step out the door in Hitzendorf … well actually, I didn’t know – not being a big fan of dwelling in the future – but I was certainly told by quite a few people that the Long Walk Home would be a tough test, not only of physical stamina, but also of emotional and mental strength. Well how true that prediction has proven to be.
At the top of the list of reasons for occasional low spirits is simply the fact that I miss my wife and children. I know it’s just going to be three months, but when there’s a seemingly endless road stretched out in front of you, those three months can, if you let them, seem like an eternity. Another reason might be the roughing it and doing without the creature comforts. I mean, how important can a nice big Guinness mug of Irish-blend tea be in the morning? Very … I can assure you. And that’s just one of the simple pleasures I miss. Then there is the worry that one of the various aches and pains I have might become so bad as to make it impossible to continue. This obviously hasn’t happened yet, and I’m not planning on it happening, but it does cross my mind sometimes, and I don’t want to let anyone down.
Anyway, the point is I do indeed, on occasion, find the walk emotionally challenging. But, when I’m pounding the tarred roads, or stony braes of Europe I just look to my left and there’s my Mum walking beside me, and then I look to my right and see my father-in-law, who also passed away recently also walking with me. Then I find myself smiling again.
It’s funny the way people who have died can be with you anywhere and at any time. Everyone else has to be contacted via Skype or WhatsApp or some other electronic means. And in the former case you don’t need to worry about the battery in your smartphone running out.
Just a thought …