Over the decades I have spent over 1500 days hiking, snowshoe-walking, skiing, and enjoying the natural glory of the Swiss Alps. I was brought up in the 70’s with my two lovely sisters, close to heaven at an altitude of 6000 feet, in a remote mountain restaurant and hotel.
Nature was our personal playground. Instead of shopping, we went fishing and woke up before dawn to help the alp farmer milk the cows and make cheese and butter. We had our secret rare flower plots instead of a back yard garden. We rode on the backs of happy pigs instead of toy tractors. We counted ibex and marmots instead of cars. We took care of our family’s animals, served guests and helped Papa in the kitchen. We were living in a wonderland.
I joined the Swiss Scouts as a teenager and served as a rescue soldier in the Swiss Army. After my school studies and various work experiences, I invested my heart and soul to build up a language travel agency with my cousin, which became number one in Switzerland.
Nevertheless, I always found windows to explore the world and have travelled through 70 countries. My experiences varied greatly—from volunteering for a senior recreation center in Santa Monica, living with the old Amish order Mennonites in Indiana to overcoming a life-threatening snake bite in a South American rainforest.
I always had an admiration for high altitude mountaineers; however, real perception can only be reached through personal experience. So after joining an expedition to check it out ‘up there’ myself, I had to admit that my world lies in the lower altitudes.
Over the years my interest in long-distance hiking became stronger. It feels good the first day, better the second and even greater, somehow meditative, from the third day on.
Life is full of its own peaks and valleys. Nature always succeeds in refreshing my thoughts, redirecting my goals, and rejuvenating my body. My adage is, “Pack as little as possible and as much as necessary and always keep in touch with the soil.”
If you ever think of taking a break from the structures of life, think of me and I will be right here for you.
Sabbaticals Over Switzerland