Today is April 20th, today is the day where we were meant to set off, out onto the road, into the wild, the unknown, the BIG adventure I’ve been planning and looking forward to for over 1,5 years. I fought for it, I gave it my all, I sold some of my worthiest belongings so I could go on that fundraising trip, the trip of a lifetime.
But it all came different. I hoped and wished, fought and worked until the very last second, but exactly a month ago, on March 20th I had to admit defeat and got repatriated back home.
The decision was not an easy one. The journey was so close, I could almost reach it. Only one month, 31 days, until the start. We were all there already, ready to set out, walking, training everyday. I had all the utensils I needed together. But within a few days, or actually a few hours, it all slipped away from me, out of sight. I was reaching out, trying to grab the last piece of the string of hope, but the more I reached, the more it slipped away from me and into a distant, unknown future, almost as if it all disappeared into very dense mist. I couldn’t see anything before me anymore. Where was I going? What was the purpose of this? What was I going to do?
I remember as if it was yesterday. Thursday, March 19th, the worst day this year so far. So much uncertainty. Will I be able to be repatriated? Will the horses be alright? Will their transport still be going? What if there were any troubles in any of the countries or borders they had to travel through? What if they got stuck and I wasn’t there to help or solve things? Nightmares.
I was phoning embassies, ministries, transport agencies, going back and forth with decisions, mailing contracts, texting family. It was mental, absolutely mental. But in the end, I got a place on a plane back home – yes, a plane. As much as I hate polluting the planet and it’s actually not what I stand for – sometimes there is no other way. And this time, there was no other way for me to get off the island in time, back to the safety of home. No train, bus or car would have taken me on board anymore in these surreal circumstances.
So the repatriation plane it was. I left Friday, March 20th. The ponies left the next day, arriving in Belgium on Sunday, waiting there for 10 days for their connecting transport.
I was in quarantine for 2 weeks in a small flat in Vienna. 2 weeks of not seeing anyone but the neighbors in their windows or their terraces. What a relief. What a chance to calm down after all that had happened. A chance to regather my strength, meditate, focus on what’s important and how to overcome the challenges I was facing now.
I was watching the news everyday, watching the world sink into chaos. While I was making new plans. Camino de Santiago, Brighton to Inverness, 1000 Kind Acts, thousands of ideas, plans and dreams started popping up in my head. And then I got out of quarantine, reunited with my ponies who arrived safely and felt stronger and more determined than before.
Times are tough right now for most of us. But I’m sure we’ll make it through! Humans always have, so why not us – now – too? Let’s keep making plans, let’s keep dreaming and fighting. Because if we don’t dream and work towards making our dreams come true, what is life worth living then?
I won’t let this be the end of this journey. It is the end of the Journey to Light 2020, but there will for sure be a Journey to Light 2.0, a phoenix version, rising out of the ashes of this dream that has gone up in flames.
Stay strong everyone out there! If I can, so can you!
And don’t give up on this page! As I said before, THERE WILL BE A JOURNEY and I will blog on here. Maybe not this year, maybe not exactly the same journey, but there will be news and updates regularly, so stay with me!