I turned the Internet off and started walking
...well not quite, I also did some planning—checking for weather and snow conditions, buying supplies and some new clothes. But then I started walking.
I informed my clients on short notice that I'll be completely offline for at least two weeks and the only way they have a slight chance of reaching me is via SMS, and only in the event, their websites went offline. I deleted my chat apps, email client (I did keep one personal email addresses to communicate with some of the huts), disabled notifications for Slack et al. and was on my way. The goal was to walk from Walchensee (in South-Central Bavaria) to Königssee (in the far-East of Bavaria). 220 kilometers trip, 11 800 meters elevation gain in 11 days (plus one stage before and after my tour together with my mother).
When you are all alone, far away from bigger cities and on some small and narrow trails before the hiking season starts you get a lot of time to think about yourself, your work, your clients and a lot of other things as well. I went for several hours without meeting or seeing a human soul on several occasions. Whenever I met people—at least off the beaten tracks—they were kind and open-hearted, and everyone had a lot of time on their hands. I had some great conversations about all sorts of topics with great people I met on the trails or in the huts.
Spending several nights in huts—sometimes without showers or even warm water at all—also brings you closer to what counts in life. After the day tourists had left the huts and only a handful of people that stayed the nights remained, everyone including the innkeeping families turned into more honest and respectful people. The absence of luxuries and essentials of our daily life (especially internet access) forces us to talk to each other and notice the people sitting across from you.
Experience is not something you have, but something you gain
Walking alone for more than 1.5 weeks makes for some dicey situations—although I never sensed something really dangerous—also lets you observe and reflect on your reactions better than in your daily grind. When I talked to some alpinists while planning my tour, everyone mentioned my lack of experience as I've not been in the Alps for ten years. Experience is not something you have, but something you gain. Don't listen to voices denying you experience (in whatever field), if you want to get into something—do it. Try to figure out what you are capable of and how much risk you are willing to take. It is a lot better to go down a black diamond trail and turn back and realize that you still need to gather more experience than to never try in the first place. It is way more important to get a realistic sense of what you are capable of doing than hiding behind a ubiquitous "Imposter Syndrome".
Instead of constantly degrading oneself, everyone should take every experience gathered and gain self-awareness through it—regardless if the current task (or trail) ended in success or failure.
- Benediktbeuern – Benediktenwand – Tutzinger Hütte
- Tutzinger Hütte – Latschenkopf – Brauneck – Lenggries
- Lenggries – Schönberg – Tegernseer Hütte
- Tegernseer Hütte – Blauberge – Gufferthütte
- Gufferthütte – Schinder – Taubensteinhaus
- Taubensteinhaus – Großer Thraiten – Brünnsteinhaus
- Brünnsteinhaus – Kiefersfelden/Kufstein – Vorderkaiserfeldenhütte
- Vorderkaiserfeldenhütte – Pyramidenspitze – Stripsenjochhaus
- Stripsenjochhaus – Lofer
- Lofer – Gasthof Hirschbichl
- Gasthof Hirschbichl – Ramsau b. Berchtesgaden – Königssee