I’ve been reluctant to write ever since I finished the tour du mont blanc and came back to Aix. I am still surprised, when I think about it, that I did and finished the TMB, that I call it the TMB, that I was there at all. These days I’ve been thinking a lot about time and how two dimensional it is starting to feel – things that happened three years ago and six years ago now feel like they live on the same plane, where it’s almost as if 21 years of memories has squished them together onto one flat ground. The tour du mont blanc was tough, it was probably one of the hardest things I have tried, done, and was definitely not as prepared for as I should have been. From rain, to snow, to falling rocks, I had no trekking poles, no crampons, not quite enough clothing, and definitely insufficient sunscreen, but I made it out alive with battle wounds, and a handful of new friends I intend on keeping.
I was often asked when I would reach the summit of Mont Blanc, and in fact the TMB is the tour de mont blanc, where we walk all the alps around it, which takes 170 km around and 10 km up and down through three countries. The Mont Blanc itself has taken a record 4 hours ans 59 minutes to go up and down. So in my week of hiking, where I crampes in 11 days into 6.5, I found my body in a lot of new soreness and also strength. At the end of the hike, I decided instead of busting my knees on 1500 meters of descent to paraglide down with a guy I met and it was an incredible 40 minutes of flying like I have never experienced before, and what a way to end a glorious hike through the alps.
But now I am in Aix. Back home. It feels good, but this morning I spent all my time hiking and lookin for the TMB in this home. And I know when I go home I will try there too, and in New Haven as well. There is something about hiking and walking and travelling by foot, meeting the people on the road, that makes me feel so alive and incredibly invicible and strong. I ate for my body to recover, I slept to gain strength, and I walked with my two legs to take me to higher and newer places. I met Jan, who helped me walk two days’ itineraries in one twice in a row, who helped me with my sunburns and rallied me on, even getting me a new walking stick he found on the trail. I met an entire family of French people who invited me to their home next week, who lent me trekking poles in the snow and fog, and fed me when I had nothing to eat in my backpack. I have never been so grateful for the kindness of strangers.
But I have also been reminded of home in Aix, and who I am as a home body. That I enjoy and love eating at home, spending time with people I love at home, resting, laughing, reading, writing, taking time to not constantly move around or away.
I am happy to be back, and it feels like a good transition to going back home to Hong Kong too. I miss home and the food at home a lot. Sharing food with family is so wonderful and I miss the people at home. The summer is going by so quickly I am a little afraid it will continue to pass, time that is, faster and faster. I don’t ever want it to end.