A ‘Life-Changing’ Adventure With Walking Ibiza

Posted on October 23, 2018

Words: Olivia Ebeling

Images: La Skimal

Additional Images Courtesy Of Walking Ibiza.

With its breath-taking natural beauty and a mysterious energy that is often credited with causing ‘magic moments’ that could only happen on Ibiza, the White Isle is without a doubt a place that can change you to the core. From the crystal waters of the sea to the rugged coastline, tree-covered mountains to flowering fields, connecting with the island’s tranquil countryside can really clear the cobwebs from your mind and help you disconnect from the stresses of modern life to find a new sense of self. And on a sunny Friday afternoon, a brave group of 12 intrepid explorers led by Toby Clarke of Walking Ibiza returned from such a ‘life-changing’ immersion into Ibiza’s nature that had seen them walk around the entire island in just under two weeks.

Starting from the sailor’s statue by the port in Ibiza Town before ascending into Dalt Vial and continuing on towards Playa d’en Bossa and Salinas, the group covered a total distance of 260km, walking between 25km to a maximum of 30km per day while making their way along sandy beaches, up steep inclines and through fragrant fields and forests. Inspired by Toby’s own solo adventure, which saw him tackle this considerable challenge with just a tent, 1 Euro in his pocket and his then puppy dog Cosmo for company some years ago, this was the seventh excursion of this kind guided by the Walking Ibiza founder.

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After crossing the finishing line for this year’s Around The Island Walk, Toby told us, “It’s been a long, but beautiful journey. We’ve been walking between six to ten hours every day and sleeping in tents most nights, so it’s tiring but it’s an amazing experience. We had a lot of powerful people in this year’s group, people who run their own companies and wanted to take charge, but in the end they realised they had to let go of that and let me take the lead or we’d get lost. At the same time, it was very much about people helping each other out within the group instead of just relying on me, and that was beautiful to see.

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“To see the growth of the participants has been incredible; some people have changed 100% in their ways. It’s amazing when you see them slowly drop their ego over the course of the 12 days and by the end they allow themselves to be who they truly are. That’s why I love doing these trips! Once you strip back all of the creature comforts of the Western world, and you’re sleeping on the ground by a campfire, you reconnect with Mother Nature, which is something our body needs. It sounds like a cliché but you truly realise what is important in life and what makes you happy.

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“Each day of the trip I gave the group a word to meditate on; for example ‘celebration’ or ‘love’. At first, they were rolling their eyes at ‘Hippy Toby’ but then they started to embrace it and began to talk about what that word means to them, or spent the long hours walking deeply thinking about it. On the day of ‘love’, we made the rule that we would give love to every person we pass; whether that’s by giving someone a high five, waving at them or asking them how they are doing. That was one of the best days ever, and even the people who admitted they find it hard to express emotions began to open up – and then they got the same emotion back, so it works both ways!”

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Watching the happy faces at the finishing line where participants europhically toasted the completion of this incredible challenge with bubbly and cake, hugging their loved ones who had been awaiting them with cheers and big smiles, it was impossible not to get caught up in the emotion! The youngest member of the group, Laura Greene, 20, told us, “It was a completely life-changing experience from start to finish. I heard about the trip through Instagram and decided I wanted to do it as a personal challenge. A few years ago I had an accident that left me unable to walk for a really long time. I had my most recent surgery at the end of May of this year, and I responded really well to it. When I saw that Toby was giving away a free space on the Around The Island Walk, I reached out to him and he agreed to let me come along. Before that, the longest distance I had walked was 25km – and this trip was over 250km, so it’s been a real achievement for me.

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“The toughest part for me was Day Six. I had blisters all over my feet and my body was just giving up one me. I felt really frustrated and angry that I couldn’t even make it to the halfway point, but then everyone around me started getting things out of their bags to help me and basically carried me up the hill. We started out as strangers but by the end we really came together as a family. My highlights from the trip included watching the sunrise in the morning, having people come to bring us amazing food and play music for us, and to watch the sunset at Es Vedra. And I really enjoyed exploring the unspoilt North of the island, where we had to go scaling down mountains and breaking our own paths through the forest. I just feel so happy and humbled, I can’t even feel the pain in my feet right now! It’s going to be amazing when I fly back home to look down on the island and know that I have walked all around that – I will be crying happy tears!”

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Patrick Klijberg, 47, an island resident who has previously joined Walking Ibiza’s weekly community tours, added, “In the beginning, I was most worried about the physical challenge, but the emotional part is equally big. Leaving civilisation for 12 days and being surrounded by nature really brings you back to your roots and gives you insight into what you want, and what you don’t want in life. It’s a beautiful experience. Feeling inspired? Walking Ibiza hosts two Around The Island Walks every year, with the next adventures slated for May and October 2019. Will you take the challenge?

Further Information
fb: www.facebook.com/WalkingIbiza
w: www.walkingibiza.com

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