Challenging, rewarding, fun, beautiful, varied, painful, delightful are just a few inadequate descriptors of a recent long-distance walk that I completed with my husband. It was to fulfill a long held ambition of completing Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk from St Bees Head on the Irish Sea to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea. During the course of 16 days walking (and well over the stated 192 miles) there were many ups and downs both physically and mentally – although it was mostly ups!
The Walk allowed plenty of time for thinking, reflection and there were also many, many hours spent in a truly mindful and present state. During the thinking moments, it became clear how this adventure reflected not just a holiday but one’s own journey through life. This first ramble/blog through my Coast to Coast experience reflects on the whys, whats and hows.
“One should always have a definite objective in a walk as in life – it is so much more satisfying to reach a target by personal effort than to wander aimlessly. An objective is an ambition, and life without ambition is … well, aimless wandering” A Wainwright
Purpose, Planning and Preparation
Let’s start with the Why? Both of us are keen walkers and, although I walk with clients as part of my work, we, like you, have many other commitments that get in the way. So when the opportunity arose with a 3 week gap in our diaries we grabbed it. What were we looking for? A break with the norm, time together, a physical and mental challenge, the opportunity to see places we have not been, a clear sense of purpose and direction. The Coast to Coast seemed ideal – a clear start and a definite objective.
Some people plan the whole route on a day to day basis, hoping that accommodation will be available at their daily destination or at least somewhere to pitch a tent. Good for them, that is their goal! We took the quicker and easier solution of having a company make all the arrangements for us, including baggage transfer – after all this was a holiday and we acknowledged that they were the experts. A fair amount of research was done beforehand, checking out other people’s experiences and taking advice and guidance on what to take, what not to take, what to expect. We made sure that all our kit was in good condition and took a couple of long walks in preparation. Somehow we made time to ready ourselves physically and mentally.
Ok – so we knew what our end objective was and were very excited to be on the journey where every day presented particular challenges but many more delights. We usually celebrated our daily achievements with other walkers over a beer at the end of each day. After this welcome refreshment, we sorted out ourselves, our kit and planned the next day prior to settling down for a robust Northern dinner and a good night’s sleep. We therefore woke up every morning knowing what we were going to do for the day (walk), where we were going (the next B&B), how we were going to get there (follow the map/guide) and what the challenges might be (haha!).
Every day took us in the general direction of, and many steps closer to, our final destination. It was a tremendous sense of freedom from other distractions of our lives and gave us a real sense of progress.
Needless to say, it wasn’t always quite that straightforward and there were many ups and downs! Do hop over to my next ‘ramble’ which talks about some of the many challenges and delights of walking the Coast to Coast.
In the meantime – How does planning for walking the Coast to Coast reflect in your life journey?
- What is your aspiration / goal?
- What is your why?
- What opportunities and options do you have?
- What needs to happen to get started?
- What support do you need?
- How can you set the groundwork?
- What is the first step you need to take?
- What distractions do you need to remove?
- How will you monitor and celebrate progress?
These are the sort of questions that we address in my life coaching while walking sessions. If you need help to work out your whys, whats and hows then please do contact me to arrange a chat about how coaching (with a much shorter walk!) might help.
If you just want a chat about walking the Coast to Coast then also feel free to contact me!