The idea behind a pilgrimage walk is to get in touch with oneself and leave the troubles of the world behind for a short while. The pilgrimage gives you time to decide what is important and what is not. Getting one’s priorities in the right order.
Yet amongst all this self reflection there is also the opportunity to discover new interests, places, knowledge and friendships. I tend to get so bogged down in the day to day activities and the roller coaster of life, that I forget to appreciate the amazingness of nature. Being away from home, although always good to be home, sometimes I need to leave to give myself space to just be. Having a few days in which to be ‘irresponsible’ and not having to think or make decisions is truly good for the soul, heart and emotions.
I recently took part in my second Sungazer Trail along the Historic Route. It’s one of the shorter trails, but incredibly interesting. The first day gave me a chance to really unwind. 22 kms of gravel road, with incredible Eastern Free State scenery. Arriving at Holhoek it was liberating to take off my hiking boots, have a hot shower and put my feet up. A communal braai and home made Gluwein rounded off an incredible day.
A Free State breakfast, of a gastronomic nature, started the day off before we left to explore the dinosaur footprints and eggs. I cannot begin to explain the awe that I felt being in a place where millions of years ago the giants of the world roamed. To be able to be right up close to all this evidence was a treat. To tread where this mighty giants roamed was humbling. I want to know more, I want to be part of this excavation. I want to be part of this amazing discovery. We even came across a wonderful Bushman Painting.
Getting back to Holhoek, we finished off a second round of breakfast, thanks to generous catering. We then set off to our next destination at Uniondale. Uniondale was like landing in heaven, with soft beds, hot baths and showers and catering to absolutely die for. Do not expect to loose weight when on a Sungazer Trail. That aint ever gonna happen. Ending a short pilgrimage in a place like this was so special and the kindness of the staff was wonderful.
Where is my next adventure? Who knows? I take them as they come. Hopefully I will post more often as I really would like to keep a diary of my journeys that I am blessed to be able to participate in.
#Walking4Woman has given me many opportunities to reflect on how grateful I am for so many aspects of my life.
According to The Secret, Daily Teachings, by Rhonda Byrne, ‘To change your life fast, use gratitude to shift your energy. When you put all of your energy into gratitude, you will see miracles take place in our life. To change things-quickly, commit to writing 100 things you are grateful for each day, until you see the change. And FEEL the gratitude. Your power is in the FEELING that you put into the words of gratitude.”
Today’s walk took me to the Mandela Capture site, where I was able to walk through the forests and grasslands surrounding this famous site in South Africa. Every time I have the opportunity to walk in nature, I get the time to reflect. I allow my mind to relax, not have any conscious thoughts. I just allow my mind to be open to the silence, the sounds of nature. Clearing my mind is a type of therapy, whereby the creativity of my mind can take over. How fortunate are we that we have this opportunity to walk in freedom and in the open spaces to reflect, to meditate in a sense, and be able to go home at the end of the experience. Unlike Nelson Mandela who was locked up in the Prison at Robben Island. He didn’t have the opportunities that I had today until he was released. And when he was released he showed gratitude in so many ways. An amazing man who was a superb role model.
Through grasslands and man made forests I trailed. Enjoyed the sights, smells, sounds and freedom. I have the privilege of walking as a hobby. Many women in South Africa don’t have that option. They have to walk to work and back. They may have access to public transport but they still have many kilometers to walk to get to the taxi ranks from home and from work. The #Walking4Women campaign is endeavouring to raise awareness amongst employers to be empathetic to women who have long distances to walk and who have to stand on their feet all day at work.
This plant is possibly the smelliest plant I have ever had the displeasure to smell. Yet it attracts hundreds of insects, which are its food. Aseroe rubra, commonly known as the anemone stinkhorn, sea anemone fungus and starfish fungus, is a common and widespread basidiomycete fungus recognizable for its foul odour of carrion and its sea anemone shape when mature. Wikipedia There is amazing diversity in nature. Thank goodness. Can you imagine how boring life would be if everything was the same.
Back to gratitude. Be grateful every day for all the good things (small and large) that you have in your life. I’m glad I’m not that shongololo.
So often we walk/run without noticing the small things around us. We always looking for the obvious, and yet the small little things in life are often as interesting if not more so. All my life I have walked in the Umgeni Valley but only last year and again this year did I notice the fungi growing out of an ant hill. Not knowing what it was, the fungi became affectionately known as Thingie Fungi. On a hike during the course of last year, in discussion with a fellow hiker, I discovered that ants farm fungi. It helps with their food storage and breaking down of the food into edible units of food.
Made me think about how oblivious we, as humans, generally are. We look for the obvious but don’t investigate the not so obvious which quite often solves a problem or offers an answer. Like the ants use fungi, why don’t we as humans co-exist and help one another. In the current COVID crises we are looking at the virus and seeing death, destruction, financial ruin and devastation. Yet if we just take the time to look, investigate, try something new we may find the answers to the success we so desperately seek. Look away from the obvious and look into what’s not so obvious.
Add to that the beauty around us like the sunsets and even the scary snakes in our paths we can appreciate life and what it has to offer. In the obvious we take for granted that snakes hibernate in winter. Yet this winter I have seen more snakes than in any other year. They cross our paths and we cannot be held to ransom for this block in our path, go around, jump, hop or skip over the obstacle. Again don’t look at the obvious there is always something to be grateful for even if it seems like a block in our plans. The winter cold brings with it beauty as well as obstacles, but that should never stop us from reaching for our goals.
My goal to complete minimum of 10 kms a day for the month of July to celebrate and raise awareness of those who have to walk to and from work. Lets not let the cold, snakes and daily chores stop us from getting out there and enjoying what life and nature has to offer us.
Each day we need an incentive to keep going to achieve an end goal. A friend and I registered to wander around Rome (virtually). 100,000 steps was the challenge. We both thought it would take a lot longer than it did. Now we done. So what’s the next challenge? Who knows. I’m sure Facebook and Google knows what’s next as they both have an uncanny ability to make suggestions. Let’s wait and see what the next adventure will be compliments of suggestions via social media.