It has been five days since I finished my solo trek in Switzerland, five days since I came down from the heights, five days since I recovered, five days since I rest and I reflect on this extraordinary experience. This solo trek with a backpack, I had been dreaming of it for years, I imagined it regularly and I didn’t know if one day I would be able to do it, if health would follow and if it was within my reach. Yet, on the days when I dared to admit it to myself, on the days when I was particularly confident in myself, I knew that it was my destiny in a way and that I would quickly become addicted to it. However, it took many detours before I could do it and I still can’t believe that the dream came true last week.
So I went on the Tour des Dents du Midi in Switzerland, in the canton of Valais and the Dents du Midi Region, at the end of August and the beginning of September 2019, a 5-day solo trek (which became 6 days for me!), with a backpack and in shelters (huts). I will obviously tell you about the details of this itinerant hike, the landscapes, the story of my trip and this incredible discovery in a future article, but first I wanted to write a more introspective article. Many of you followed me on social networks during this tour and I wanted to answer many questions and questions first. This article is intended for those who are wondering about solo roaming, about the preparations, about the physical and mental conditions that need to be in place before leaving, about what such an experience can bring, and for all those who dream of doing so, but who do not feel capable for various and varied reasons. However, this is my personal experience. I’m a beginner and not a mountain hiking specialist, so be sure to check out some more specialized sites before you start too.
Go on a solo trek with overweight and health problems
This is a subject that is important to me and that I absolutely wanted to address. For those who don’t know my background, let me quickly retrace it, to get a clearer picture of the situation.
I have never been a great sportswoman, except for my assiduous practice of karate for more than 15 years. I have always been a girl more comfortable in libraries than in the fields. You can learn more about my sports and hiking itinerary in this article. It was only when I started travelling, at the age of 19, which I started walking everywhere, especially in urban hiking. And it was only by going around the world at the age of 26 that I discovered the joys of hiking in nature, little by little, according to my physical abilities and the possibilities of the moment. It should be known that at that time, I was obese, my weight fluctuating around 100kg, I had been wearing orthopaedic insoles for years and I had many articulation problems, but I was determined to test all the possible and unimaginable sports when travelling. It is mainly on this subject that I wrote the articles, Traveling with overweight and Traveling with health problems.
It would have taken a lot more to stop me from pushing my limits, so I went on my first solo trek around the world, my first solo trek in New Zealand, on the Queen Charlotte Track, for 4 days, over 71 kilometres, with a small difference in altitude, no backpack and in hotels. That was quite a feat for me already! Since then, for various reasons, I had not really retained the experience, except for a small two-day trek with a group in Burma, another two-day trek with a friend in Argentina and a one-night hike in Austria with a group. Hiking was always part of my life, but mainly by the day and most often on undemanding, even flat paths. The greatest difficulties I had to face were walking very regularly, in changing climates (from polar to tropical) and sometimes unintentionally in contact with a somewhat dangerous fauna.
Walking has been part of my daily life for about three years now, the day I decided to take charge of my health while travelling. I started walking every day as much as possible, at least 10,000 steps when I have time, allowing me to stay fit while travelling and lose weight. I lost 15 kilos in one year, going from obesity to overweight and obviously making my outings and sports activities easier. And then, various events followed one another, various health concerns, a burnout, a rather serious back injury preventing me from walking for 8 months and I gradually gained weight (about 10 kilos). Morale was at its lowest, because my objective in recent years was to go to Compostela, to make long walks and to cross countries on foot. These projects have been delayed, but I got back in the saddle this year, gradually losing weight again and, above all, resuming my daily walks as soon as I could.
When I set out on the Tour des Dents du Midi last week, I was overweight, I still had some latent health problems, I had spent a very complicated year mentally and I had not been able to prepare myself physically as much as I wanted. I was physically and mentally exhausted after a complicated spring and summer, but I had been on the right path for a few weeks and I was determined and convinced that it would help me a lot. So, yes, it is possible to embark on such a trek in overweight or with health problems, but beware, even if I don’t look it, sport and walking have been part of my life for years and my mind is also well trained. So yes, despite your history and your specific health conditions, it may be possible to do such a trek and I want to show you that it is accessible to everyone and that we can indeed climb mountains with will and resilience, but do not be unconscious, consult your doctor and prepare yourself a minimum!