The days since finishing the Via Dinarica have passed by much slower than anytime on trail ever could. It seems like another life time that I even did the trail. A very familiar feeling that I also experienced after the PCT. I still wonder how you can do something so special, accomplish something so big, and yet so quickly it just fades. It just seems like a story I’m telling people, not like I actually did it. Going back and looking at all of the pictures as well as rereading my journal reminded me of the hardships and beauties of the trail. The VD was far different from anything I could have ever expected. Within the first couple days I was already complaining. Complaining about road walks and unmaintained trail. Little did I know, that was just what it was. And if I would have realized and accepted that way earlier, I would have enjoyed the trail so much more. The last 2 weeks I loved it, because my perspective changed. I didn’t expect great trail, and so when it wasn’t great I didn’t get frustrated I just went with it. I think my biggest mistake was thinking it’d be similar to the PCT. Instead of embracing the differences between them I just endlessly compared. Always claiming one was better than the other. But now that it’s finished, now that I can look back with a different mind, I loved them both. I actually now enjoy some trail where I get to blaze a bit myself or one that has some fun rock climbing/scrambling as a part of it.
I am very grateful for the journey, I got to see so many special and beautiful places and pieces of nature that left me speechless. It was so special to get to go to small villages that far few other travelers will ever get to see. I met beautiful people from all over the world.
I got tested every single day. And although it sometimes sucked and got annoying, what’s a better way to grow and learn about yourself?
The VD still has a lot of work to do if it wants to become a major thru-hiking trail. For sure by making more trail and not so much road walking, and then hopefully getting the funds to be able to maintain sections of the trail that are dangerous or don’t exist at all. I wouldn’t recommend the trail to most people for now, maybe someday in the future.
Right now, I just miss the hiking. I miss looking to the top of a mountain and knowing I just have to walk straight up to get there. I miss sleeping between the jagged rocky high mountains. And sipping cold water from the fresh fountains along the way.
That’s why I’m so excited for my next Journey that I will get to experience and share. As tomorrow I begin the Camino de Santiago. Starting from St. Jean pied de Port, France and heading across Spain to the Camino de Compostela and continuing on to the sea before heading south along the coast of Portugal for about 200 miles. Another journey, far different than the other 2. But I too am different, and will not compare, but just accept and live in the experience that surrounds me without trying to change any part of it.