• Marie & Nil

Long distance hiking with many causes: a personal view of an active observer - An Article by Aleksan

A little intro…

I love to hike. I just love it. Period. Most of the time it is Mother Nature calling me. The feeling of morning walk through a dense forest, scent of pines and fallen leaves, sounds of animals and rain, mountain top views, rediscovered, almost forgotten trails… It calms me down, it boosts my batteries.

I respect natural environment. I always have, at least as long as I can remember. There is nothing special about it, it is just common sense to me, like brushing your teeth today to be able to eat tomorrow, or opening the door if you want to step into a place.

I love meeting new people, people with different thoughts, ideas and backgrounds. I let myself get inspired by others and I hope I inspire somebody, I think I am a good listener. I try not to be judgemental.

I am getting there…

These three aspects of my personality are very important to me. I try to practice them as much as possible, each on its own or even better, together. That said, I never thought of this combination in a way that could contribute and have an impact on the community. That was until I discovered 2PVA project.

2PVA taking it to another level

What the minds behind the 2 steps towards each other project, Marie and Nil, are doing is far from just walking, camping, meeting people, observing nature and taking pictures.

The 10,000 km hike is not about breaking long distance records and visiting 16 different countries but rather connecting them with an invisible thread, trying to find their common ties.

It is not just about conquering the peaks and crossing the rivers, but rather understanding their symbolic, historic or any other meanings are. This takes a lot of preparation and will to understand.

It is not about passing places and waving at the people but rather stopping and getting to know them, trying to overcome the traditional clichés, without the excuse of "language barrier".

It is not just about passively admiring the nature but taking action to preserve it. 1KG FOR THE PLANET is the best example of that: motivating people for a good cause by being a role model – picking up the trash and by presenting it in the way that is easy to understand for today’s world – as a challenge.

Photos of natural beauty, monuments, ordinary people, abandoned places… ,videos with different perspectives and angles, social media posts with honest, sometimes poetic and involving captions and daily stories that keep you up-to-date. It all gives followers a feeling of being there, at the places they experience and with the people they meet.

But there is much more to it. It is a chronicle of our time; it is a witness of human relations, traditions, globalisation, climate change, social differences, links, and adaptation, pollution, primal human kindness…

To an honest observer this gives a deeper understanding of the world today, making it impossible to stay unaware and ignorant. That said, I hope 2PVA evolves into a social movement.

How come I joined…?

The opportunity to join Marie and Nil on a stretch of Kom Emine trail in Bulgaria was a wish come true. Following them on my phone for more than a year and a half, quite early I somehow felt I need to meet them and join them in person.

We spent nine days on Stara Planina or Balkan, as we people of Balkan call it. Walking through vast forests on countless types of snow we found peace and tranquillity only to be interrupted by a few heart-warming human encounters in huts and villages. We experienced moments of intensive talking and moments of total quietness. Camping, making fire out in the open and watching the starry sky made me realize once again how little do we need to seize the moment and to be happy!


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