There is a smile that plays at the corner of my mouth; a twinkle in my eyes as I walk in wonder and fascination of the world around me. Recently, in my grit and determination to push out miles and speeds that defied the pain my body was feeling, I hadn’t realised how much my spirit had dulled. I’m having fun again now.Walking with Thibaud is good for me. He laughs freely and frequently. He laughs when the sun is shining, when a good song plays on his phone, when he calls me ‘Woman’. We both laugh when he makes tortillas with crushed potato chips, cheddar cheese, spinach, pickles and almonds. And laugh again because they taste good! (Or maybe our standards have lowered that much..?)
We had planned on doing 35km today because yesterday had been shorter. I’m tired, though. I feel like I’m still catching up from those three days off in Hikertown, from my bad feet, from trying to catch the others, from so many small factors that all add up. We’d done maybe 25 of the 35 when I started dragging and feeling it. Don’t get me wrong; I was up to do it all. I could have pushed out the distance, and just gotten in later and tired – I just didn’t want to. After yesterday’s luxurious early finish, I had had a taste of truly enjoying a day of hiking, and I didn’t want to go back to a gruelling trek.
With that in mind, I tentatively asked Thibaud how he was feeling…
“My mind feels good, but my legs tell me today is finished.”
Um… We can listen to our bodies out here? We don’t have to do a certain number of miles each day even though we’d planned on it? It’s okay to stop when we want to?
How have I not been doing this?!
It was still another few kilometres until we found another tree with flat ground out of the wind to sleep under, but his nonchalant attitude and fresh perspective put more than enough pep in my step to get there in high spirits. It was relatively early, too, which was also nice.
T’s a deep thinker. He asks me some good questions. And also gives me more sass than anyone else here. Tonight, after a gourmet dinner of mac and cheese with tuna, we had a pretty big, pretty thought-provoking talk. We talked about past loves. We talked about current frustrations. We talked about future dreams. He asked me if I know ‘the real me’. I reckon I do. But he has got me thinking.