What was it like? – Comparisons
The second thing that people always ask, after “why?” is always “what was it like”? Well this section will give you a bit of a feel for what it’s like to live in a tent and out of a rucksack, for 79 days on the run. This is a fairly random collection of thoughts that I accumulated along the way, and as I reflected on it afterwards.
I suppose that it was not really “like” anything else I’ve ever done before. In some ways, of course, it was “like” backpacking the West Highland Way (which I did in 2012), but incomparably longer.
I actually thought of it more as my job for three months. Just as I would normally get up, go to the office, do a day’s work and come home, in a process that would repeat itself endlessly, on my walk I essentially did the same. Got up, put the tent away, walked, put the tent up, got something to eat, wrote my blog, and went to bed. Then repeated the next day. It was such a long undertaking that the end was never really in sight, it wasn’t really helpful to think of it in any short term sort of way.
Before I set off, people were generally supportive – or incredulous – but some of the blogs i read were a bit less encouraging. One remarked that his body was totally “wrecked” by the time he got to the end. Another recalled being ill through exhaustion all the way up the Cape Wrath trail, near the end. And yet another rather sobering blog pointed out that if you put one teaspoonful of milk into a pint bottle every day, it would take as long to fill the bottle as it would take you to complete the walk.
In the end, I rather stopped listening and reading – with a thing like this you can get over-informed to the point that you never set off. So I just prepared as best I could, picked up what useful hints I could, and ignored the rest.
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