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Mindful walking and writing: Walk of thoughts

Notebook by the sea at sunrise
I leave our summer house at 5.30 am. It wasn't planned; I was awake, and the beach and my notebook were calling me. Walking and writing is like meditating. I love the movement of my feet and my mind. Thoughts come. I write them down, then they can leave. I am practicing this mindfulness walking and writing combo on one of the most beautiful beaches of the world: Dueodde on Bornholm. Within the next couple of hours, I will be walking 14 km from Dueodde to Arsdale on the Kyststi, the coastal trail around the island.

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At 5:36 am I step onto Dueodde Beach, just minutes from our summer house. The sun is making its way up and through the clouds. The first half hour I am running, dancing forward. I cannot believe how beautiful this morning is. I carry my notebook with me, easily accessible. Suddenly I am slowing down. Nothing has changed; the waves come steady. The sun is up. I pull out my notebook and walk and write. I am free. My family won’t be up for another two hours.

5:36 am - I am stepping onto Dueodde Beach
5:40 am - Dancing with the sunrise

I carry my thin notebook in a money belt made from blue plastic – it is watertight, and I had bought it for taking the Stand-Up Paddle for a spin. I am on one of the most beautiful beaches of the world and the sun is rising. 

Through the movement of my feet thoughts come to my mind. I follow my „walk of thoughts“ by taking notes. My thoughts are like the waves, they come and go. By writing them down they can withdraw with ease. 

The waves are like an orchestra. The strings hum gently next to me. Behind me the deep sound of the bass. Hundreds of tiny black shellfish crunch under my feet.

5:48 am - I am a giant!

6 am, it is getting warm, I am taking my light wind jacket off. Did you know they grow wine on Bornholm?

The seagulls are entertaining me with their early-morning discussion.

5:51 am - I am on a walk of thoughts and pull up my notebook
6:19 am - I involuntarily stir up mama duck and her little ones

A man walks further along, pulling a cart behind him. What is in the cart?

In a distance I see smoke over Snogebæk røgeri, the smokery is preparing the fish for the day. 

I pass a little boat on the beach. Does the man in front of me pull freshly caught fish in his cart?

Oops, I almost stepped in water. Occupational hazard of writing while walking.

The man stops, turns around and speaks to something in the cart. Is he talking to the fish?

I am hungry. That feeling doesn’t go away by writing it down 😊

As I catch up to the man, I hear a voice coming from the wooden cart. I pass the man and see the child in the cart; we exchange a few words. He turns towards the pier, and I continue into the smoke.

6:39 am - The man and the child in the cart enjoy the sunrise on the pier
6:41 am - I pass through Snogebaek and leave the smoke behind me

A few minutes later I step onto Balka Beach. A crow carries a piece of plastic wrap in its mouth. It reminds me of the goats eating plastic in Djibouti. 

6:45 am - I take my boots off. Stepping on the wet sand feels so soft without shoes. Love it! A bit cold

7 am, I am standing in front of the café I visited a couple of days ago. It doesn’t open till 8.30 am.

I reach the end of Balka Beach. It feels good getting my boots back on my freezing toes. I haven’t been past this point before. Exciting!

My walk of thoughts leads me to my friend Islam. He relocated from Boston to Vienna yesterday. I haven’t seen him for 15 years. I will text him later (he is jetlagged).

My feet are a good combination of warm and sandy.

I am hungry.

7:22 am - I enter a nature reserve. A sheep stares at me amid purple bushes

I text my sister.

She writes: Wow, you walk along the beach?! How long is the trail?

I write: Over 100 km

She writes: Oh, you could do the trail in 2 days.

I think: Ahem. No, I could not.

She writes: And then you’ll walk back?

I write: No, I hope that Johannes and the kids will pick me up. I am walking in the direction we planned to head today. It was a spontaneous walk.

She writes: So, when he wakes up, he doesn’t know that you are gone?

I think: Exactly!

I reach the bakery in Nexø. Suddenly the red-haired glassblower from matter house of crafts stands next to me. The day before the entire family was drawn into watching her handling hot glass and creating stunning vases and plates.

When I pass her atelier, I see her standing there. I greet; she gives me a small wave. 

8:09 - After walking 10 km I finally get to bite into my breakfast

I stop just outside Nexø to eat my sweet Danish.

I see on the map that I am in the Nexø sculpture park, but I don’t see any sculptures. I think of my friend and writing coach colleague Rosa Pessl, with whom I spend a couple of great hours walking and writing in the sculpture park in Graz.

The Danish was a mistake, my stomach hurts. Did you know that the Danes call a Danish Viennese bread (wienerbrød)?

8:34 - I find a sculpture, it is called: The Tree (2017)

My husband texts me, he is up. I laugh as I think if the conversation with my sister. My husband isn’t only able to get himself and two kids dressed and ready without me. He also does it without that grudge that some men exhibit when left alone (for a bit).

I could go on a walk of thoughts here, but I WON’T. Instead, I take off my sweater and inhale the scent of pines. 

8:53 - My "me-time" is almost up, I enjoyed every step of the way!

9:30 am. Johannes and the kids pick me up and we drive to Svaneke to visit the Saturday market.

I left the house for 4 hours ago and walked 14 km. Besides enjoying the meditation-like experience of walking and writing, the walk of thoughts has given me inspiration for at least two scenes of the book I am writing. What a great way to begin the day!

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