Sep 1, 2023
If the recent podcast episodes about walking didn’t inspire you to take a walk this episode might. My guest and her husband decided one day to go for a walk. Ninety-eight days later they’re still married, possibly more fit and have things to share about what it was like to learn to adjust and adapt along the way.
If camping isn’t your thing, you’ll like this too as its an inspiring way for a non-backpacker to consider an adventure.
KATHY ELKIND is a writer, long-distance walker, and speaker who shares her love of walking adventures. Along with her husband, Elkind has walked the GR5, the Andalusian Coast-to-Coast Walk in Southern Spain, and parts of the Cammino Materano in Italy. She lives with her husband and walking partner in the Mad River Valley of Vermont. To Walk It Is to See It is her first memoir.
In 2018, Kathy Elkind and her husband decided to take a grown-up “gap year” in Europe and walk the 1,400-mile Grande Randonnée Cinq (GR5) across The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France.
At 57, Kathy has chosen comfort over hardship: Unlike the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Coast Trail, the GR5 winds from village to village instead of campsite to campsite. She and Jim get to indulge in warm beds and delicious regional food every night and croissants in the mornings. The GR5 is not all comfort. Walking day after day for ninety-eight days bring sickness, accommodation struggles, language barriers, and storm-shrouded mountains in the Alps. Meanwhile, Kathy finds herself reflecting on difficult topics—primarily, her struggles with dyslexia, overeating, and shame. But she also finds that the walking becomes a moving meditation and the beauty of the landscape heals; she begins to discover her own wise strength; and as the days unfold, she comes to the gratifying realization that a long marriage is like a long trail: there are ups and downs and it takes hard work to keep going, but the beauty along the way is staggering.
Written with raw honesty and compassion, and rich with dazzling scenery, To Walk It Is To See It will inspire you to lace up your walking shoes and discover your own path.
Questions We Answer in This Episode:
What made you decide to take on such a daunting adventure, despite being in what you describe as the “last third of your life?"
Why do you suggest older adults should consider taking a gap year?
What things did your long journey bring into focus?
How did you adjust when needed or did you find reasons to change plans? .
What became important for your personal definition of eating well while on vacation (some would not call walking 1400 miles a vacation)?
You open the book with a scene standing in a river naked, and many women would find the idea of standing in broad daylight even with their partner of 27 years, naked, a little precarious or embarrassing. How did the 1400-mile walk change your body esteem, if it did, or were you always so confident?
I sincerely hope you’ve taken a walk while you listened to this one.
Connect with Kathy Elkind:
Hot Not Bothered: http://flippingfifty.com/hnb-challenge
Flippingfifty Protein: https://www.flippingfifty.com/protein
Never Be the Same - Marc Leblanc
Other Episodes You Might Like:
21 Answers to Walking Questions: https://www.flippingfifty.com/walking-tips-
Benefits of Walking: https://www.flippingfifty.com/Walking Tips