390km, 23600m ascent, 24’800m descent, 14 alpine passes and 6 cantons – that is the Via Alpina. It should become my Way of St. James, lead me into my first sabbatical even, which I want to use to move away from the head-heavy work to the more physically emphasized jugging away. To clear my head, to think about what I should and shouldn’t change in the next year of my life or so. What makes me feel good and what not.
What was actually intended as an introduction to my sabbatical is now becoming the main theme of my time away. Nothing grounds me better and faster after an all too often quite hectic workday than hiking, walking and jogging.
Initially, the Via Alpina plan seemed quite daunting to me. So many unknowns: Can I just hike for so many days in a row? Will I get bored? Will I catch blisters, sore muscles, strains or worse? But then I remembered that the first thing I need to do is stop concentrating on the doubts and what could go wrong. Instead, I visualized myself hiking – in different weather conditions – through forests and villages, across meadows, plains and alps to majestic peaks, enjoying the view and tranquility. And finding my way back to myself. And ever since I started doing that there is no stopping me. I look forward to my adventure with great joy and excitement, whether it succeeds or not. Every starting line is already a victory. Worth a little celebration. Because it means that I have overcome my own doubts – but also those projected onto me by other people – and set out on my journey in spite of them, or precisely because of them. And neither the prospect of failure nor the hardships and deprivations I am sure to encounter can stop me. That alone is already a success!
390km, 23600m Aufstieg, 24’800m Abstieg, 14 Alpenpässe und 6 Kantone – das ist die Via Alpina. Sie soll mein Jakobsweg werden, mich in einen Sabbatical führen, in dem ich mich weg vom kopflastigen Arbeiten zum körperbetonten Chrampfen bewegen will. Den Kopf lüften, Gedanken machen, was sich im nächsten Jahr ändern soll und was nicht. Was mir gut tut und was nicht.
Was eigentlich als Einstieg in meinen Sabbatical gedacht war, wird nun zum Hauptthema meiner Auszeit. Nichts entschleunigt mich besser und schneller vom allzu oft recht hektischen Arbeitsalltag als Wandern, Spazieren und Joggen.
Initial schien mir das Unternehmen Via Alpina ziemlich erschreckend. So viele Unbekannte: Kann ich so viele Tage hintereinander einfach nur wandern? Wird mir langweilig? Werde ich Blasen, Muskelkater, Zerrungen oder Schlimmeres einfangen? Doch dann erinnerte ich mich, dass ich aufhören muss, mir als erstes die Zweifel und was alles schief gehen könnte vorzustellen. Stattdessen visualisierte ich, wie ich – bei verschiedenen Wetterbedingungen – durch Wald und Dörfer, über Wiesen, Auen und Alpen hin zu majestetischen Gipfeln wandere, die Aussicht und Ruhe geniesse. Und zu mir selbst zurückfinde. Und seither gibt es kein Halten mehr. Ich freue mich ohne Ende auf mein Abenteuer, egal ob es gelingt oder nicht. Jede Startlinie ist bereits ein Sieg. Eine kleine Feier wert. Denn es bedeutet, dass ich meine eigenen Zweifel – aber auch die von anderen Leuten auf mich projezierten – überwunden habe und mich dennoch, oder gerade deswegen auf den Weg mache. Und weder die Aussicht auf Misserfolg noch die mir bestimmt begegnenden Mühsale und Entbehrungen mich aufhalten können. Das alleine ist schon ein Erfolg!
About a week ago for whatever reason I suddenly remembered southern buttermilk biscuits. Not sure what brought this on. When I tasted these the first time down in Texas I remember thinking to myself “Wow, this is like sour cream – there should be no meal without it!” I’m pretty sure many of you out there share that sentiment (though not necessarily when it comes to sour cream, that’s just my very personal taste).
Anyways, today I finally managed to get some done for myself and oh golly, are they delicious… not sure how I survived without them cold turkey for almost four years… I missed you guys!!
Not one to usually talk to food but this one just speaks to me.
I love copying drawings and sketches as a kind of slowing down method. Copying pictures keeps me from having to think too much. It allows me to simply go ahead and let my hands do what I see. This was tonight’s doodle of a beachy landscape. The colors could be improved by using aquarelle colors but I opted for my trusty ol’ Copic markers instead.
When time and creative passion hit, things start happening.
I love to do 1 minute doodles – I start off doodling for 1 minute and then have to finish from there. It is quite remarkable how basic you can start off and still get a decent result with an little detail work like shadowing and extra inking.
The reason I like these explosive exercises is that it takes the pressure away to satisfy my perfectionism.
As a matter of fact I know that I will never be able to draw as perfectly as I would wish to so perfectionism only stifles my creativity and I absolutely need to overcome it in order to enjoy the process of creation.
The 1 minute method is how I learn to let go and improve by only focusing on the big picture for one minute. This also improves my ability to quickly sketch on the go instead of mindlessly snapping photos.
So Saturday night I bit off my freshly polished nails. Still, Sunday came and with it a glorious day with many friends and family cheering my dear runner buddy and I on and an unforgettable, long-suffering (17km of stomach pain and cramps…) 42.195km later I was accomplished: I am unofficially but beknownst to my closest people a marathoner.
I’m terribly tired from the lack of sleep the night before the race and of course from the exertion, but also proud, exhilarated, thankful, certainly stronger and – accomplished.
A big shout-out to all dear ones who have supported us by cheering and providing us with sustenance. I certainly couldn’t have done it without you!!
In school I wasn’t a big fan of running unless there was a ball involved or some other higher goal than simply running around involved.
Then, almost 20 years ago, when traveling around the world my friend declared in Australia that we’s go and buy ourselves some proper running shoes as otherwise our beer consume might turn us into proper barrels. And that’s when my running career started. Thanks to my friend back then who made me puff and swear along Bondi beach.
Over that last three years one of my very dearest friends introduced me to another long loathed category, the races. I’ve completed between 20-30 races a year over the last 3 years. Never ever thought that would happen.
And the third big thing I always denied would ever happen came to pass this year when I thought I might have to step in for mentioned dear friend and actually started training for a marathon. It’s not that I ever doubted that I could do it if I properly trained, what hindered me was my other hobbies and interests. Since I’m a slow runner it takes me well over 2h to do a 20k training run. I don’t mind, my body doesn’t mind but after 2h I do start thinking “well, what else could I do now… this running around stiff is getting lame…”.
Well, enter 2020 and watch me while away a 4h run – my very first 35k ever!! And might very well be my last. That’s why I thought this was reason to celebrate – congrats to me for this huge achievement!!
Last night I thought I still had a Bitter Lemon in my fridge so why not have a gin with Bitter Lemon? So I poured in the gin and went to the fridge, opened it and – discovered that the Bitter Lemon was gone. I wrecked my head over when I’d drank it but couldn’t remember for the life of me.
So I started studying the other choices of liquids in my fridge which comprised of salad dressing, sparkling wine and milk. My mind wandered to the various scenes in the movie “The Big Lebowski” where Jeff Bridges is drinking a White Russian. I decide to look up what options I have as I’m pretty certain that pouring the gin back into the bottle is none… or doomed to fail. So I might just as well drink it some way.
On the internet I swiftly found the page “Drinking like an old man” that offered me a mixture of gin and mild with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top. Unfortunately, I was out of nutmeg so I simply poured the milk onto the gin. Not sure whether it’s the lack of nutmeg but that drink certainly needs some getting used to… After drinking about half of it and still not being convinced I decided the drink definitely lacked a certain tartness so I added a good spritz of lemon juice. This actually improved the taste greatly but it was not long before the lemon and milk decided they were never becoming best friends and thus separated… there went my experiment, only semi-successful. But once again I had to admit to myself that I’m pretty brave and seldom shy of a culinary experiment 😉
Today we went to the senior citizens’ theater. My auntie and uncle are still actively supporting the performances (my aunt with makeup, my uncle staffing the bar) while my mom stopped working with them (she was the master makeup artist before she left :-)) because of the commute that was getting too tedious for all the rehearsals and two weeks of performances.
The play was a hoot as usual and the actors put all their passion into their play. What an inspiring performance.