(I’ll be posting updates on my preparations to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail this next April through September. I’m attempting to raise money for several organizations that help others, inspire, and even save lives. The PCT is a 2,650 mile long trail that stretches from Mexico to Canada. Join me in this journey by offering prayers, donations, or simply by subscribing to my blog and following along! )
“Marriage–a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters written in prose.” – Beverly Nichols
Not even two weeks ago I was in one of my definitions of “heaven”: traveling through Europe with good friends, new friends, & my camera, documenting as many memories as my camera trigger finger would allow.
I was there to photograph the wedding of my good friends Jeremy and Nicole, in the bride’s hometown of Topolcianky, Slovakia, a small town of approximately 3,000 just east of Bratislava. Nicole and Jeremy planned an amazing visit for the families & wedding party, and I was there to capture as much of it as I could. Tours around the towns, incredible Slovak dinners, the wedding (in a beautiful chateau!) even a visit to a real castle for some after-wedding portraits…It was an incredible wedding, and I feel privileged to have been asked to photograph it. I made many new friends and look forward to going back to that region again.
Sitting here thinking of what to write, I thought how this trip could parallel, in a way, a thru-hike of the PCT. The planning, excitement, thoughtfulness to detail, pressure, daily fatigue mixed with constant amazement of where I am at that moment, the finish line coming close, and finally the joy that the journey was completed successfully, mixed with sadness that it’s actually over.
I’m glad to be home…but I want to go back. Is that how I’ll feel when I complete the PCT?
So I’m enjoying these moments of planning and preparation for my thru-hike. Hopefully, I am relishing these moments as much as I will the actual hike. Both are long, and both are/will be difficult. There’s a lot of work that is going into it…but one lesson I was reacquainted with from this trip is this: enjoy EVERY moment involved in the process equally…not JUST the actual hike. All the months of preparation and planning and fretting over details; these are all worthy of enjoyment and satisfaction, not just after the fact but as you’re going through each phase.
On a simpler note, I couldn’t help but think while I was over there, “How far across Europe would I get if I hiked the distance of the PCT?” The answer? Depends where you want to go! One route:
If I started in Bratislava, I would walk through Vienna, Austria and enjoy some awesome pastries and beer. Then I’d walk down to Rome, where I’d have some amazing gelato and lemoncello while sitting on the Spanish Steps. I’d walk over to Marseilles, France, where I’d down some pastis and fougasse before heading down to Madrid, Spain. There I’d catch some bullfighting, then grab some gallinejas and head down to the Manzanares river to eat, relax & people watch. From Madrid, a leisurely walk up to Paris, France. Not much to do in Paris I’ve heard, so I’d fly home from there. (An alternate route could be Bratislava –> Austria –> Copenhagen –> Paris –> London –> Scotland –> Ireland –> Paris). Both of those routes are approximately the same distance as the PCT, 2,650 miles. Where hiking the PCT you’d spend time primarily in 3 American states with a brief touchdown in Canada, in Europe you’d cross into 5 or 6 countries. I find that crazy to think about!
Anyway, glad to be back in California, and will have a way for people to view some pictures of my European Wedding Adventure in the next month or so.
And many wishes for a lifetime of happiness and success as a couple for the newlyweds. The first chapter of their marriage story truly was a thing of poetry, and here’s to a lifetime of solid prose to follow.
(above wedding photograph by Branky…click to see his work!)