I’ll have to keep this brief. I’m currently hurtling along on my train to Birmingham Airport, where I will be spending the night before embarking on my first adventure of 2017 – Small Islands, Big Walk (yeah, I couldn’t think of a better name than that).
Where am I heading? Well, umm, I’m going to Lanzarote. Not what you expected? Allow me to explain (while trying to avoid giving you a convoluted backstory).
I’ve been dreaming of undertaking various adventures for years. I’ve got an ever-growing list in my head and as I’ve now finished my Masters I had the perfect opportunity to cross a couple of them off my list. As we entered into 2017, I quit my job and decided to put these ideas into action. To get out and create some new experiences.
Problematically, when the whole world is beckoning, narrowing down your choices is not the easiest task. Therefore, I set myself a few parameters (mostly without realizing):
I wanted to do something which was largely man powered, on either bike or by foot.
I wanted to visit the places in-between, those which are often overlooked by visitors – this led me to the idea of re-imagining destinations for purposes other than what people see them as.
I wanted to do it on a tight budget – I want to prolong my adventures for as long as possible.
With these in mind, I settled on wanting to do a long distance walk – naturally through somewhere beautiful and interesting – but also through somewhere which isn’t typically associated with walking. After a bit of googling, I settled on the Islands of Spain. The aim being to start in Lanzarote and traverse all 7 Canary Islands: Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, before circling / crossing the Balearic Islands of Menorca and Majorca. Altogether I should rack up about 1,000 kilometers of walking, with over 20,000 meters of ascent (the Canary Islands have over 40 peaks higher than anything in the UK – who knew?)
While this might not seem the obvious choice, I was brought here by both pragmatism and aspiration and I’m excited about the adventure that awaits. While these Islands are definitely more popular destinations for package holiday makers than hikers, I’m hopeful that serenity will not be hard to find away from the tourist resorts on the coast.
So here I am. Sitting on my train to Birmingham, sleeping bag and bivvy packed and ready to go. Well, I think I’m ready. Even though I’m on my way, I’m not entirely sure exactly how I’ll cope – and I’m not afraid to admit that. I mean, I’m pretty sure I can cope with the walking – I’ve always been a keen hiker and relish the challenging terrain. I’m also pretty sure I can cope with sleeping under the stars (literally, no tent is being taken), in fact, that’s the bit I’m most looking forward too. What I’m struggling to know is whether or not I’m ready for the solitude – the days spent by myself – especially since I’m leaving my wonderful and comfortable flat (and awesome life) which I share with the (ever-supportive of my bad/awesome ideas) MP. There’s only one way to find out how well I’ll cope with this and I’ve bought the ticket – now it’s time to take the ride. Hopefully I’ll make it to the end of the trail, maybe I’ll fly back after a week in the sun.
That’s about it for now. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t avoid the convoluted backstory.