On August 13th, two days before my planned flight to New York, I snapped my ankle in a Danish forest. And I snapped it bad.
Practically being immobile I had to let go of my flight and crawled back to Berlin to recover for 2 weeks until I could put some weight on my foot again – and another week later I landed in Mexico, Cancun. With my backpack and crutches, determined to not let this get into my way. But it did. My daily walking pensum was reduced to 5 km with a following 3 days recovery time. I kinda make-it break-it through central America until I understood this will not get any better. Let alone that this was not the kind of travel I planned it to be.
So I took the next flight back to Brussels, hiked a bit, gave up and took a bus and finally stranded in Bonn, Germany. The place where I storaged my boxes in a cellar. And this was where I stood. Desperate, defeated, frustrated and ashamed of my short lived journey.
I didn’t tell anyone of my friends that I was supposed to meet in the states. I pulled back from this page. All the doors that stood wide open just before this fucking millisecond of a moment in Denmark seemed to have closed. I felt like sitting in a dark and empty room and that the world was gone. Suddenly I understood the whole impact of all the things I have left behind and all the bridges I cut for the big adventure – and now without the adventure I was left with nothing.
What I will know later is that although my ankle thankfully didn’t snap any tendons, it was left heavily scarred and permanently swollen. The outer tendon has flicked out of place and hurt my knee as well as my hip, The bones inside my ankle went loose and drifted to places they didn’t belong, therefore blocking my movement nearly completely. In this my heel lost its balance and is not able to support my walking movement correctly any more, as well as 3 of my toes that shifted to another position to complete this fuckload of a mess.
It took long to get doctors appointments, longer even to get therapy and nearly forever to get MRT results to give my ankle proper handling. It got better, but it still isn’t good. Right now when I type this I can feel my ankle being sore, blocked and stressed out by a laughable amount of walking I did the last days. So I have to make another decision now.
My journey is hereby officially cancelled.
I will look for an apartment to stay for an unknown amount of time – basically until I feel better again. And I will give the ankle the time it needs to heal fully, which I can only do if I stay at one place throughout the whole therapy. I am scared now that this injury will last forever. This thought drives me crazy, I cannot even imagine a life without walking and hiking and the freedom that comes along with it. I am genuinely scared. And I am making plans to continue my travels on a bicycle because fuck you. But despite my decision to cancel the original journey this page will be resurrected. Setbacks are part of the game and right now my game has just changed (as has my foot haha). There are many stories still untold, and many experiences to be put into art and projects. I think this is the time now to put them all together.
Yesterday I had a dream, that I went to get my backpack. The sun was shining and I stood outside breathing the fresh air. And instead of following my plans to catch a train I decided to just go, to where the sun is and follow the road. Inthis momentI felt it again, the Wanderlust calling me to its beaches and paths, mountains with endless skies and scents of wild herbs. That night, of all the doors that closed for me in that dark empty room after my return, one of them opened again. My neverending love for the hike.
PS.: Yes I did walk up to that volcano in Guatemala with my ankle. It took me 2 days to get up, and 1 full day to get down. But it was fucking worth it! Look!