Jul 252015

A week back I was in France with a group of friends, for a hiking vacation. We hiked part of the coast of Brittany, climbing over rock outcroppings, being astounded by the tides (a 6 meter difference!), seeing menhirs. And after the hike there was of course time for playing a game, having great food (awesome mussels!) and just relaxing. In all, the perfect vacation!

While hiking you've got to keep some rocks up at times as well...

While hiking you’ve got to keep some rocks up at times as well…

Though I do my very best to stay in contact with my friends, living on the other side of a sea (even if it’s a tiny one like the North Sea) makes that somewhat more complicated. So the first two days of the hike were spent catching up with everybody, sharing stories, learning what they had been up to, exchanging a bit of gossip.

After those two days I was basically “up to speed”. And I found that it was harder to keep the conversation flowing. Sure, we’d get into something personal a bit more in dept. Or we’d talk about the world, politics, the economy, etc. But there were quite a few silences as well.

As a student I would absolutely abhor silences; I would start to prattle just to have some sound around, much to the amusement of my friends. I’m not quite at that level anymore, but silence still can make me uncomfortable.

What I really enjoy about hiking as well is that it allows a lot of thoughts to be processed in the back of the mind. It seems the legs work perfectly as pistons for the mental machinery…
I think it took another 2 days, but then that feeling changed quite radically. The awkwardness disappeared and instead the silence became amiable: “We are both walking here. We enjoy looking around, moving through this landscape. And the fact that I get to do that with you by my side, makes this an even better experience.”

My friends are my friends because I like them (and I’m assuming they like me back). Having a good conversation most certainly is a part of that, but it’s actually just a small part. Being together, spending time, forging mutual memories, all of that goes towards a beautiful and dense tapestry of trust, understanding and a feeling of belonging.

Hiking with friends is the best! :- )

Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

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