The road of life twists and turns
and no two directions are ever the same.
Yet our lessons come from the journey,
not the destination.
Don Williams Jr.

At the age of 19, I walked a long-distance path in the UK called the Pennine Way. It sets off in the Peak District located between Manchester and Sheffield, and ends up in Kirk Yetholm just over the Scottish borders. After a couple of weeks walking, came the day that would spark my interest in the Great Wall of China.

Hadrian's Wall close to the Scottish border

Hadrian's Wall close to the Scottish Border

It was a rough day, and I ended up at a Youth Hostel by Hadrian’s Wall. After a much needed nap and some food, I had a look around the fairly empty hostel. On one of the walls there was a large picture frame with the text: “The other wall”. The frame contained 6 pictures of The Great Wall of China. I studied the pictures for quite some time, dreaming of how it must be to walk along that “other wall”.

The other wall

The other wall

There was no big revelation, I wasn’t struck to the ground, but rather the quiet whisper of a dream to be. The next day, as I continued walking along Hadrian’s Wall, the memory and adventure of those pictures stuck with me.

Since this experience, I have dreamt many dreams. Most of them have been forgotten after a short while. Some of them, I have been most fortunate to live out. Now almost 22 years after the experience at Hadrian’s wall, I have sold my house, quit work, and am spending all my time preparing for this lifelong dream.