Strong winds to blow your worries away

Strong winds to blow your worries away

Todays weather forecast

Heavy showers of blessings,

Strong winds to blow your worries away,

Followed by warm hugs and kisses

To put a smile on your face 

This Sunday morning the rain is pouring down heavily. If it wasn’t such a special day today, I think I would probably turn around again and go back to sleep. That’s not going to happen because today is going to be the first walk of our new challenge for 2019. In 22 walks we’re going to walk all 12 regions of the Netherlands and we hope, by the end of the year, to raise a lot of money for Bloodwise, one of the charities supported by My Peak Challenge.

The weather forecast tells us there will be heavy showers today, but if we are lucky, they will not start until we’re done. And lucky we were, for as long as we walked, there was hardly any rain, not more than a couple of lost drops.

This month, January, is the month of the Peakstreak, or for those who are new to the MPC program, they can choose to do the Peak Foundation program. Those of you who are Peakers know exactly what I’m talking about. For those who don’t, the Peakstreak is a challenge, invented by one of the coaches of MPC, to fill the gap between the end of one year’s program and the start of a new one. This year we are asked do “The 100.” Every day you do something a 100 times. You read 100 pages, do a 100 sit ups, do 100 burpees, or walk for 100 minutes. Just be creative.

At first I thought, “I can do this.” I could walk 100 minutes a day, write 100 words a day or, as one of my Dutch Peaker sisters said, I could do a 100 sips (of whisky) each day. Uhhh, that last one sounds good but really, a 100 sips? I couldn’t commit to that, not during this month, (not any other month!) where I promised Bloodwise to lose the booze and I joined a challenge of doing a sugar free detox! And on top of that I promised myself, no honestly I kicked my ass, to get back to the gym, twice a week. The last couple of weeks I haven’t been there much. Shame on me!

So about Peakstreak, what am I going to do about that? Nothing! I am going to do nothing, I am going to be a rebel this month. I am not going to do anything, each day, for 31 days, a hundred times, minutes, miles, yards, kilo’s, sips, steps, bites and anything else you can come up with. I am going to the gym twice a week, lose the booze for a whole month and do the sugar free challenge, and that’s it! If I can do that, it will make me feel a hundred times better. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the Peakstreak. I love to see and read what everybody else is doing. I just don’t have the motivation of being creative. Doing the things I want to do and holding on to them satisfies for the moment.

As I told you at the beginning of this story, today we start our first walk. We begin in Hoorn, a region in Noord-Holland which has existed since 1840. It was then that the region named Holland was divided in North and South Holland. The city of Hoorn lies 24 miles north of Amsterdam. Not far from Hoorn lies a very tiny place called Schellinkhout (828 inhabitants) directly situated on the Markermeer. Why am I telling you this? Well, first of all this was the area that fellow Peakers Vera and Henry organized their walk and second, I thought after my last challenge I was done with walking dykes. Yet here I was, walking a dyke for a little more than 4 miles while a very strong wind was blowing and nearly blew us off the dyke. But after 13 miles we had seen some amazing views, historic buildings and even a Dutch mill.

At the end of 2018 Dutch Peakers Walking was born, and a lot of Dutch Peakers were enthusiastic to join us in walking all over the Netherlands. To do these walks with us, some of us have to drive almost two hours to get there. But every time we meet it feels like a little reunion, there is a lot of hugging and kissing. For those of us who walked frequently last year, we came to know each other pretty well. Others got to see each other for the first time. Positive as we are, and also a little bit crazy, we are determined the weather will improve as soon as we start walking. Apparently we are blessed with heavy showers of good luck. The moment we start walking it’s dry. Those of us who joined us today and wanted to get their heads clear, today was a good day for that.

I told you before, strangers are strangers until they meet. Every walk I meet new people and every walk I have such interesting conversations. Last year I made an appeal in the Dutch Peaker group if there was somebody who would walk with me, and Miranda volunteered. She responded, “I will but what’s the distance you are going to walk?” I said that I do 6 miles at least. And she said, I’m glad I can do half of them. She recently had two operations on her hip.And isn’t it amazing that this same lady walked almost 13 miles today? I am so proud of her!

I also talked to Saskia today. Saskia is a shepherd. She used to herd a flock of sheep around Rotterdam. And I hear you thinking, what does a shepherd do in the outskirts of a city? Well, I did.  It has everything to do with city’s grazing of the natural environment. Now she herds several flocks of sheep (about 150) on different fields in a bullpen near Maassluis. I thought there were only flocks of sheep in the eastern part of the Netherlands. Apparently I was wrong.

And after a lot of talking and laughing, we came back. And what’s more warming at the end of the day when your guides serve you a nice cup of healthy, homemade soup, and you look around and see all these people with warm rosy cheeks. That puts a smile on my face, and I’m looking forward to the next walk.

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