Bethany Schumacher, 128 TCCS
I relish slow travel, but after twenty-seven months in Thailand, I’ll be ready to be back on the road! As much as possible, I plan to stay on the road. My current COS plans are several decades’ worth of hikes.
Classics such as the Camino de Santiago, Kilimanjaro, and the Inca Trail are the more obvious destinations on my list. The Camino (a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago in northwestern Spain) would allow me a homecoming to the south of France before I start. I’m trying to recruit my sisters and mom to join me! I’d pair Kilimanjaro with a safari, but otherwise the details are hazy. As I’ve never been to South America, I’ll need at least three months to explore the continent – particularly Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia, and Colombia (countries in which my family has connections).
A few of Europe’s Grande Randonées (literally “big hikes”) have been calling to me, too. In total, the 100+ GRs cover over 60,000km across mostly France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Three stand out in particular. The Tour de Mont Blanc circumnavigates Mont Blanc, the highest summit in Europe. The GR 20 bisects wild Corsica, and the GR 10 follows the French/Spanish border from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean along the Pyrénées Mountains. The GRs are tempting enough, but then there are the European Long-Distance Paths, too! Twelve E-paths cover 55,000km through about twenty countries. The GRs and the E-paths do share some of the same trails but manage to offer plenty of variety.
America’s Triple Crown is a staple, of course. I’m guilty of traveling more abroad than at home, but our country is stunning. I want to enjoy my own country by thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trade.
Granted, a year of working holiday in New Zealand, backpacking Iceland, and hiking/biking/climbing the Scottish highlands are still up for consideration. Of course, I’ll explore more of southeast Asia before I leave, too!
For now, March 2018, 128’s COS date, still shrouds itself significantly enough in the future as to free post-COS plans from the realities of budgets or time constraints. I’ll continue to enjoy my carefree daydreams until COS looms closer.