To round things up

It’s been just over 1 week since I completed my vivrunseurope challenge. It’s still all sinking in.

Before going through my highlights I thought I’d share some footage of the final day, I think you might be able to tell how happy I was!

Why run 3,850 kilometers?

There have always been two main reasons and drivers behind this challenge. The first, supporting the work the Red Cross does for refugees across the world. I believe that everyone deserves a place they can call home. My amazing grandmother, the inspiration for this challenge who I loved dearly, was a refugee at the end of WW2. She survived a plane crash and a 300 kilometer walk resulting in severe malnutrition. Not only this but she didn’t know whether her family had survived the Soviet invasion. It really is difficult to imagine the circumstances.

Sadly, over 46 million people find themselves in similar situations today having been forcibly displaced from their homes. I wanted to do something that I felt passionately about, raising funds and awareness for the plight of refugees around the world, many of whom have lost everything. Thank you for all of the wonderfully generous sponsorship which is going towards such a worthy cause.

The second driver has been pushing my limits and seeing what is possible. Fascinated by people who do slightly crazy things, I thought, why not me?

I really believe that most of our limitations come from ourselves. Fear, over analysing, finding reasons why we can’t do things, can’t try new projects or launch new ventures.

Vivrunseurope was about creating a project that both terrified and excited me. A project that provided both a physical and mental challenge.

I believe that everyone has the ability to achieve more than they can even imagine. When I started out in Poland and was telling people that I was heading towards Spain, it felt a little bit absurd! I didn’t know how far I’d get but I was going to give it my best shot and the crazy this is, I made it!

Where did the idea for vivrunseurope come from?

It grew quite organically over time. I knew I wanted to take some time out from my professional career as a consultant and go on a journey. That’s when I started thinking about my grandmother’s story as a refugee. After a few changes, I settled on starting where my grandmother grew up in Unieradz, Poland (previously Neurese, Germany) and covering her route as a refugee (approximately 800km) and then continuing on down to the southern tip of Spain, Tarifa (a total distance of 3,850km).

The strange thing is that I was utterly convinced that I needed to do this, more than I have ever been about anything in my life. Something I can’t really explain.

What were the most challenging moments?

There were a number of challenges along the way, varying in severity. The hardest one was probably the decision to change my route in Spain. I was caught in terrible weather in the mountains near Pamplona. Not having any real experience of mountains especially in the winter I knew that continuing on my planned route through the centre of Spain would be dangerous. I needed to make a decision. So instead of abandoning or postponing, I decided to take a train to the coast and head south towards Tarifa from Barcelona. I was incredibly torn at the time but in hindsight, it was the right decision.

Decision day.

IMG_1439

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other challenges and difficulties involved general loneliness, getting stuck in a sandy forest, any hilly terrain which involved pushing a 35kg buggy uphill (ouch!) and some strange encounters with men in southern Spain (more about that later).

But actually, the things that freaked me out the most were my achilles tendonitis (which I had for the last 1,300km!) and this will make you laugh but hair loss! The physical exertion and not always being able to eat the right foods meant that my hair was falling out more than ever. I was convinced I was going to finish vivrunseurope bald! Fortunately that wasn’t the case! It’s sometimes the more trivial things that send you into a tailspin!

What were the highlights?

The highlights far outweighed the low points. This has for sure been the most incredible, amazing and challenging experience of my life so far.

The amazing kindness of strangers is what will stay with me forever. I met some wonderful people along the way in every country and was fortunate to be offered free nights of accommodation and meals from people that I had never met before. This very real contact with people opens the heart and provides a lovely warm glow. I am so grateful for this.

Wonderful Guido, Guido and Almut in Hiltrup, Germany.

IMG_2578

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philippe ensured the safe crossing of the Pyrenees.

 

IMG_1393

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Experiencing nature in such a pure way was another major highlight. Seeing the world in panorama, experiencing colours and smells, stopping to admire the view. Not always easy to do in busy city life. Crossing the Pyrenees was a special moment along with many others by the sea and in beautiful forests. Nature in all its purity.

IMG_1220

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1202

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1385

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1331

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Achieving milestones was also very special. Flensburg and Celle in Germany (both important in Gran’s journey and quite emotional for me), each 1,000km mark, Paris (where my family is and where I grew up) and each country border. Reaching Spain was pretty incredible especially as I had to cross the Pyrenees to get there and of course, reaching Tarifa!

IMG_2638

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spain!

IMG_1405

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,000km!

IMG_3300

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paris with British School of Paris students 🙂

IMG_9174

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, Tarifa!

O58B3219

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, seeing family and friends along the way, especially spending time with my incredibly welcoming and loving German family. During the second half when I experienced more loneliness, both of my parents made it out to see me as well as my friends Olivia and Jo, amazing, thank you!

What kept you going?

Honestly, not wanting to disappoint myself or others. There were definitely a few points along the way, mainly in Spain, when I genuinely didn’t want to continue. My body and mind were both hurting. But I’d always said to myself that unless I had a genuine reason, I had to continue. If I knew I could keep putting one foot in front of the other, however slowly, I needed to keep inching my way towards Tarifa. One step and one day at a time.

The bigger picture was also important. What refugees endure every single day across the world is tragic. What I was experiencing paled in comparison to their daily struggle.

I also had incredible support from family and friends. Always sending messages and words of love, support and encouragement. The difference this makes is difficult to put into words. I have never in my life experienced anything like it. At times, my heart wanted to burst with love. Thank you.

Were you frightened?

This is probably the question I have been asked the most especially because I was a woman alone. My honest answer is that I never felt truly threatened. It’s largely a state of mind, I made a conscious choice not to be afraid. I have to admit though that I avoided camping as much as possible which I’m sure helped.

If I did feel uncomfortable, I would listen to my fear and move away as quickly as possible.

There were a few unwanted encounters with men in southern Spain that gave me the shivers but nothing serious, although I was offered 10 Euros by one of them!!! Only! (not something I have mentioned on this blog, didn’t want to worry my nearest and dearest!). I think I was fortunate not to have had more. My theory is that having Bob with me either made me look homeless or crazy, people gave me a wide birth!

Oh yes, and then there was the murder investigation! (again, I kept this quiet). Not long after leaving Bordeaux, I was in the middle of a huge but very beautiful forest, suddenly a car comes into sight, stops and a man gets out. Stay calm I tell myself. He then shows me his police badge and asks if I’m from the area. Saying no and explaining my project, I then proceed to ask him why? Only a murder investigation, someone had been killed a few kilometres away. Certain things make you run faster! (location of questioning below)

IMG_1275

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What have you learnt?

Vivrunseurope was a journey of self-discovery for sure.

I’ve learnt that I’m more determined and stronger (both physically and mentally) than I ever thought. That people are generally good and want to help you (confirming what I believed already). That breaking large projects into manageable and achievable goals is essential to avoiding that overwhelming feeling. That cultivating a positive mind and thoughts is crucial to everything. That I love learning (podcasts and books were my saviour). That I love working (!), I genuinely missed the responsibility, team work and problem solving. That I love people and being with them (I will never again take this for granted). That the struggle makes the achievement all the more meaningful. That it is worth taking big risks and even risking failure.

Mostly I’ve learnt that by putting ourselves out of our comfort zones we are able to achieve more than we ever thought possible. While hugely uncomfortable at times (I’m not going to pretend otherwise), this is genuinely where the magic happens.

BE GREATER THAN YOU THINK POSSIBLE.

FINALLY, THANK YOU!

I would not have reached the end of vivrunseurope without the love, encouragement and support of my family, friends and people I have never met. It brings tears to my eyes (in a positive way).

I will never be able to fully express how grateful I am to you all. I hope to be able to do so individually but for those who I am not able to see in the near future, you have honestly played a vital part in me experiencing the most positive and life affirming journey of my life so far.

From an eternally grateful Viv.

Every day is an adventure. Now for the next project 🙂

43 thoughts on “To round things up

  1. merci Viviane pour ce beau résumé
    nous serons toujours là si tu as besoin de nous ou juste pour te dire toute notre affection
    bruno et claire

  2. You are truly amazing, beautiful, hilarious… (love the vid).

    I am in complete awe. Your journey has been inspirational beyond belief…

    I really enjoyed reading this last post and share your delight.
    All I can say is “Watch out ‘next project’ Viv is on her way x

    xxxx Love love

  3. I have noticed you don’t monetize your site, don’t waste your traffic,
    you can earn additional bucks every month because you’ve got hi quality
    content. If you want to know how to make extra money, search for:
    best adsense alternative Boorfe’s tips

  4. I have noticed you don’t monetize your website, don’t waste your traffic, you can earn extra cash every month because you’ve got hi
    quality content. If you want to know how to make extra money,
    search for: Boorfe’s tips best adsense alternative

  5. I simply want to say I’m newbie to blogging and site-building and definitely enjoyed your blog. More than likely I’m planning to bookmark your website . You absolutely have perfect writings. With thanks for revealing your website page.

  6. Faytech North America is a touch screen Manufacturer of both monitors and pcs. They specialize in the design, development, manufacturing and marketing of Capacitive touch screen, Resistive touch screen, Industrial touch screen, IP65 touch screen, touchscreen monitors and integrated touchscreen PCs. Contact them at http://www.faytech.us, 121 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013, +1 646 205 3214

  7. I really need to inform you that I am new to writing and absolutely admired your report. Quite possibly I am going to bookmark your blog post . You simply have stunning article material. Admire it for swapping with us your main site webpage

  8. MetroClick specializes in building completely interactive products like Photo Booth for rental or sale, Touch Screen Kiosks, Large Touch Screen Displays , Monitors, Digital Signages and experiences. With our own hardware production facility and in-house software development teams, we are able to achieve the highest level of customization and versatility for Photo Booths, Touch Screen Kiosks, Touch Screen Monitors and Digital Signage. Visit MetroClick at http://www.metroclick.com/ or , 121 Varick St, New York, NY 10013, +1 646-843-0888

  9. It’s in point of fact a great and useful piece of info. I’m satisfied that you just shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your site is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this website. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for more articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found simply the info I already searched all over the place and just could not come across. What a perfect web-site.

  11. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or advice. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read even more things about it!

  12. My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  13. Good – I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related info ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, website theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Excellent task.

  14. certainly like your web site however you need to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very troublesome to inform the truth however I will surely come again again.

  15. I like what you guys are up too. Such smart work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my website :).

  16. Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your web site is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you’ve on this website. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched all over the place and just couldn’t come across. What a perfect site.

  17. Thank you for sharing excellent informations. Your website is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you’ve on this blog. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the info I already searched all over the place and just couldn’t come across. What a perfect website.

  18. magnificent issues altogether, you simply won a emblem new reader. What might you suggest in regards to your publish that you made a few days in the past? Any certain?

  19. MetroClick specializes in building completely interactive products like Photo Booth for rental or sale, Touch Screen Kiosks, Large Touch Screen Displays , Monitors, Digital Signages and experiences. With our own hardware production facility and in-house software development teams, we are able to achieve the highest level of customization and versatility for Photo Booths, Touch Screen Kiosks, Touch Screen Monitors and Digital Signage. Visit MetroClick at http://www.metroclick.com/ or , 121 Varick St, New York, NY 10013, +1 646-843-0888

  20. Faytech North America is a touch screen Manufacturer of both monitors and pcs. They specialize in the design, development, manufacturing and marketing of Capacitive touch screen, Resistive touch screen, Industrial touch screen, IP65 touch screen, touchscreen monitors and integrated touchscreen PCs. Contact them at http://www.faytech.us, 121 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013, +1 646 205 3214

  21. Good morning there, just started to be mindful of your blog site through Google, and found that it’s really informational. I will value should you maintain this approach.

  22. I just have to tell you that I am new to online blogging and utterly cherished your website. Quite possibly I am likely to remember your blog post . You undoubtedly have memorable article materials. Acknowledge it for swapping with us your blog page

  23. Great – I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your website. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related info ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, site theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Nice task.

  24. I got what you intend, regards for putting up.Woh I am pleased to find this website through google. “Don’t be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against not with the wind.” by Hamilton Mabie.

  25. You could definitely see your enthusiasm within the work you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all times follow your heart. “If you feel yourself falling, let go and glide.” by Steffen Francisco.

  26. I will right away clutch your rss feed as I can not to find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly let me recognize in order that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  27. Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great, let alone the content!

  28. Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people think about worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Website