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"What am I doing?!"

Story of a Knapsacker

Roos and I have known each other for about twelve years now. At first I wanted to join a trip because of the positive stories I heard from Roos. Being outside for a week, enjoying Spain and a nice holiday with my friend. It sounded pretty good. But I still had to convince myself a little bit. Group travel – not really my cup of tea. I’m more of a solo traveler. Hiking for a whole week? Do I really want that? And coaching, that’s definitely not something I need, right? But still, if Roos says these trips are so special…

For weeks on end, I’d ask Roos anything. “Should I buy these shoes?” “How do you prevent blisters?” (and most importantly: “What if I cannot make it, what if it is too heavy?”). With the trip approaching, I became increasingly enthusiastic. I had my tiny backpack, a pair of tested new shoes, and mini-soap/-shampoo/-anything.

And then all of a sudden, we’re doing this. Hiking through beautiful forests, fields, villages. Sometimes chatting, sometimes in silence. Thinking about new insights, stories from other participants or about nothing really. In rain or shine.

All doubts that I had prior to the trip, proved unnecessary.

As soon as I met my first co-Knapsackers, I knew I wouldn’t have to worry whether or not I’d be fine in a group like this. It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed so much. I believe that Knapsack attracts fun and sweet people. Since the atmosphere was very supportive and sincere, I felt encouraged to keep walking, to open up and to be myself.

And then there was the hiking. In daily life, I’m not the most sporty person. Before our trip, I went on a 15-kilometer test hike in the Amsterdamse Bos. I could really feel my feet, hips and got lost a couple of times. Interestingly, everything went pretty well in Spain. Of course, there were some harder moments, but at least we could share the suffering :) Or we’d stop in a bar or next to a vineyard. And Roos was always there to treat our blisters. Without a doubt in her voice she’d say: your body is capable of doing this. She was right. After 117 kilometers I’m pretty proud of my legs.

So then that other thing: coaching. The thing I was convinced I didn’t need so much. Sure, I knew I could work on my insecurities a bit more. Well, then I would focus on that during the trip. I supposed a coaching session every now and then could be somewhat useful. Surprisingly, these coaching conversations and exercises exposed way more. During some of the first talks that went a little deeper, I realized I was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable. The thought that I could have “issues” made me defensive. But how glad I am that Thomas advised me to explore this discomfort. As soon as I let go of the need to control things and started to trust the process, Thomas, Roos and my co-hikers helped me see so much about my relationships with others and most importantly, with myself.

Although it wasn’t always easy, I’m 100% happy and grateful that I went on this adventure with these people. I arrived in Santiago a stronger person: with plenty of steps to take still, but confident that I’ll be able to take them.

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