Only one more week until the start of the Walking Home project and excitement is continuing to build up. Last week was all about preparation, preparation and preparation. The Olympus Stylus 1 camera was the final piece of equipment I wanted. I said good bye to a few good friends over a beer (or two). And before I gave my body some r&r with a massage and a visit to the spa (thanks to a birthday gift I received 11 months ago) it was time to test some of my most important pieces of equipment.

On Thursday I learnt about how my phonetablet and the app to record my tracks get along. After all Walking Home would be a whole lot less fun without continuous GPS recording. A friend and I went on a 11 km version of the way “home” in some beautiful corners of Berlin. We were greeted by sunshine and the gear did (bare some fine tuning – see the map) what it was supposed to do.

Click to see the full track record in Google Maps

Friday morning started official: For the first time in my life I am not a registered Berliner. After I got over the shock I walked another 11 km. This time to my sister’s flower shop in Wensickendorf. The equipment tested was my Vaude Brenta 30 backpackThe North Face zip-off trousers and Fizan walking sticks

Click to see the complete track record on Google Maps

But the real test about how smart my shopping tour was came yesterday: I gathered all the equipment and for the first time attempted to fit it into my backpack. Success! Even though I haven’t been able to confirm the weight it feels like it shouldn’t be above 10 kg (including water and snacks).

Five other things I learnt this week:

1. Walking sticks are extremely important

Even on the relatively short track from Oranienburg to my sister’s the difference for my knees was obvious.

2. Never, ever, ever forget to put on sunscreen (even if the day seems chilly)

What can I say? Sun stroke on Mount Cameroon – but still I keep forgetting time and again…

3. People are by and large friendly

Which was to be honest a little surprise (mind you, though, I haven’t asked them for anything, yet). The only damper was an old man who yelled at me from the distance: “Ey, dit isn Radweg, du Zippe, du!” (Yo, this is a bike pass, you c***!)

4. (My) tracking clothes aren’t sexy

Easy solution: I managed to sneak a dress into the backpack.

5. Panic is growing. Slowly. But steadily.

My stomach growls and come night thoughts start racing around my head. Luckily there’s an app for that: 40 minutes of rain on the magical Relax Melodies app and I sleep like a baby for at least a few hours.

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