I've taken a week away from walking, it's a festival I've been to for three years now, my mum is very involved in the storytelling world and I didn't want to miss it. In the planning of the walk I felt it would be a good idea to go to a few festivals over the summer, about one a month would be a good break from the walk, help me to maintain a somewhat normal life throughout the madness of the daily mileage.
I've got to the breaks now and they feel wrong somehow. It's been two weeks walking since Glastonbury. It came to the time for me to break for Festival at the Edge, I was dirty, I was aching, I was tired and yet somehow it still felt wrong. I still felt as if I should be carrying on.
Carrot Quinn, one of my long distance walking gurus says "Do whatever you want on a long distance walk, as long as you keep walking". That's the thing, whatever you feel, don't break the walk, whether you drag yourself seven miles or fly, striding for 20. If you spend all morning in a cafe or all evening in a pub, walk a bit more that day, just don't stop walking. That's the only way to complete this.
But I didn't do that this week, I'm writing this from a festival. I have walked away and it feels like a bit of a cop out. I will surely regret this week when it comes to the end of October, the wind is blowing rain into my face and I still have 1000 miles to go, I surely will regret this week in the sunshine and think back longingly to strawberries and rose wine, ice cream and stories and sweat dripping down comfortably into the base of my spine.
As far as the walk goes.....well, I'm in South Wales for the first time. I've made it down to Tintern and turned right, to run a line across the south of the country, between the coast and the Brecon Beacons, all the way over to the monastery near Tenby. I'm not quite able to judge it so far, it's only been two days - but let me tell you that in this time I've seen more burnt out cars (and caravans) than in four months in the rest of the country. As for the people? It's too soon to feel the differences, let me hold this thought and tell you again in a few weeks. Or maybe I won't tell you at all, maybe my ideas about Wales are not of public interest.
I only know that I'll carry on; I'll keep trying to walk and I'll keep trying to take care of myself. The thing that is equally as hard as the walking is the self motivation and the self care. I may have strength in my legs but I need to have strength of mind too and the ability to push myself until I'm exhausted....but then to make sure I'm fed and washed and rested too. It's hard, is what it is.
There's plenty to work on, that's for sure. For now I will enjoy my weekend, hand out plenty of cards, hopefully collect plenty of donations and go back to work on Tuesday