On October 15th I will leave for Crete. The time has come to define the point of the journey. I love the idea of walking for about forty days, first accompanying a group Boscaglia. Then, sometimes I will be alone and sometimes my dear friend Stelios will join me to walk together for a while.
Sometimes I will meet and walk some distance with other people who live in the island, such as the Scottish couple who breed donkeys. Or the italian ladies who went to live in Crete and manage an Association that helps disadvantaged children to take free holidays, in collaboration with SOS children. Then, for a week, Matteo from Turin will join me from Italy. He is a friend who works as a photographer and will walk and take pictures of the walk and the meetings and even film them. I like the alternating moments of solitude and sharing.
I am organizing my backpack. I will bring a sleeping-bag as I mean to sleep either in the open air when the weather permits or in emergency refuges. There are shepherd shelters into which I can slide. From time to time I hope I can rely on some free hospitality. I am registered onto Couchsurfing although on my road there’s hardly nobody offering couches. In the villages though I trust on the old traditional hospitality. Every few days I will allow myself a good shower, a bed and a supper in a tavern. At other times I will eat in a simple way. In the kafenion everybody is presented with a village salad and I can easily survive on Greek salads. I will not bring with me supplies or a camp stove, just some emergency snack food. It is possible to find bread, olives and cheese in every village.
I will not bring the tent because it is too heavy. I am going to take the risk. If there will be a storm in the mountains, I will go on walking until I find a shelter: I am ready to walk for twelve hours without interruption. I will have a parka, gloves and a wool beret. But I will have swimming trunks as well, as the air near the sea will still be warm as will the water. In my backpack I will carry some technological instruments: Gps to map the itinerary, rechargeable batteries, battery-charger, camera and videocamera, netbook to send messages and photos and a recorder to take notes. As you can imagine this part of my luggage is really heavy!
I will leave three bags along the route, at Kastelli, Askifou and Agia Roumeli. So I will be able to change my clothes, leave things I don’t need any more and ship them little by little to Chania.
In those bags I will also put the equipment that Patagonia and Scarpa have given me as a contribution for the journey: parkas, Regulator batteries, Osprey backpacks and hiking boots. These two firms have offered this equipment not to me personally, but to people doing good deeds for Crete environment, young people fighting for nature conservation – a small contribution which I will bring them.
I will leave with a rough schedule but keep an “uncertainty margin” to feel free. I will be connected with all those people who want to reach me thanks to an Internet key and will read all their messages.
In fact, everyday or two, if I don’t have the line, I will send the travel dairy, the pictures, the Gps tracks and, if we manage, also the videos – to make a live report of this special journey. Let us hope that technology will assist us!
What matters though is the journey. Its philosophy is: “I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free”. It is the epitaph of Nikos Kazantakis, the author whose works I am going to read along the walk and it is equal to the Buddhist philosophy of living for the moment, without fear of the future or anxiety about the past. Therefore it is the perfect philosophy for my journey !