Those people inspire me

Elderly people who walk… And I’m not talking about man and woman in their 50’s or 60’s, but older.  I met their a lot in my life and now already a few on my trail.  In short: they inspire me.  

First their was Susan Weka on the 5th day of my trail, a 72 year old woman who had been walking trails and long-distand walk for years, almost whole her life with her husband, but when he was diagnosed with Parkinson and couldn’t walk anymore, she kept on going.  Even after he passed away a few years ago Susan never stopped walking.  She still walks every day.  When I met here she said she was sad and alone, but she keeps walking because it reminds her of the good times and walking keeps her fit.  I thinks that’s really special.  Even more special regarding her age. 

Second I met Sally, she is from England and 67 years old.  I already met her on day 13 of the trail.  At that time she was having problems with her knee and she decided to take a lift and skip the forestwalk we were encountering.  On day 17 after have taken a gravel path on the road to Paihia I suddenly ran into her again.  So she is still walking.  She is incredibly inspiring as well, and the more because she does it a little bit her own way: she does not walk everything or everything in order, but she continues.  I have a lot of admiration for her.  We connected, telling how it went, asking each other some questions, sharing how to deal with things during the walk.  You also learn from each other.   

And third: there were the three older ladies who I ran into on day 23 when I hit my wall big time, again, climbing up the steep mountain near Whangarei Heads.  They’ve passed me before and I remembered thinking ‘yeah right, even these old ladies are hiking faster than me’…  That was a kind of special and hurtful at the same time…  When I passed these ladies a second time there seemed at first no contact possible, but a few metres further, it suddenly went up very steeply, I sat down, and we started talking when they catched me.  It turned out that they were all three in their 60’s and that, for 21 years now, they meet to go tramping every year.  Wouw.  Again an axaple for what I stand for with WITBM.  They also confirmed that walking keeps them fit, being outdoor brings good health and that it helps in every way.  

I remember meeting a couple in Nelson Lakes National Park in the Lakehead hut.  They stayed the night there after hiking a couple of days.  The man, I don’t recall his name, claimed he wasn’t as fit as he used to be or as he wanted to be, so he couldn’t walk that much anymore, doing those steep hikes, but he still enjoyed tramping.  He said: ‘it’s my long life’.  I think he was in his 80’s already.  What an inspiration!

Imagining the people I know in my home country (the Netherlands) and Belgium who are already 40, 50 or 60 and who actually live so passively…  It makes me sad as well…  I would say ‘take an example’.  Walking is the best medicine.  Not only proven by science, but by all this stories of these people.  Be active.  Go outside.  Get that inspiration.