After a full week with 26 international students in Barcelona and a weekend route with 13 fearless caminantes in Vimeiro, I was looking forward to walk the next program, a special format I have been doing since 2017 – The Solo Walk. This is a week were mentor, mentee and the road become one.
Just before the beginning of our “long stroll” I was wondering how I could adapt quickly from looking and caring after many to dedicate my full attention to just one person, a thought that disappeared after the first few minutes into our walk.
My mentee is a rising politician, a brave young leader that crossed half of the world to gain perspective not only on her personal life but in her own words to walk towards a better society.
One of the first things we agreed, was the possibility to share some lessons learned. The following paragraphs are an honest attempt to show that despite our role or responsibility in society, we are all very much alike. Across the globe humans have the same fears, ambitions, emotions, desire to love and to be loved. Curiously we also share the same pain in our feet.
Our first exercise, the 0,00km, is a quick “Polaroid” that describes your current moment. This picture, doesn’t need to be perfect but should be clear enough to identify where you would like to focus.
Here I faced my first challenge. The focus question “my politician” chose, consider not only all her current constituents but also the voters that went into different candidates. I started to wonder if our “road” would be able to welcome such a crowded “pilgrimage” into, what seemed to me, an unknown destination.
I noticed that when you spend most of your time measuring every word that comes out fo your mouth, the need to vent and release accumulated pressure becomes even more relevant.
Still, easier to say than do.
Our first hours of walk were loaded with very long silences. I don’t even remember to hear my walking partner finish complete full sentences, instead, she mumble and whisper words, somewhere between a mantra and a prayer.
When men cannot see the road ahead, nature usually takes over and leads the way.
At a certain point we had to stop for a sip of water and to rest. It was raining and we end up under an oak tree. Slowly our minds become aware of the place we were and words assumed a different form.
Leaning against my backpack, I start making an attempt to guess the height of the colossal forest in front of my eyes. Now like before I quite my effort after few seconds. Now like before the same idea came to my mind.
Grow where you’re planted.
In the coming kilometres, silence was gradually replaced by a fascinating conversation about what does it mean to be a politician in todays world. It was the very best way to start this long walk. We were both back to basics and ready to grow up from here. Tomorrow we continue.
The Solo Walk is the best format when you need to be totally alone and simultaneously with room to receive your best thoughts and ideas. This is a program specially craft if the “logistics“ of your life do not allow you to be a famous unknown “celebrity”.
Check the coming programs in 2018 here