Monday, August 16, 2010

Hadrian's Wall

My 65th birthday was coming up and I decided I wanted to walk Hadrian's Wall - an 85 mile stretch of rock wall built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the year 122 AD. It stretches from coast to coast in northern England - from Newcastle in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west. It passes through urban Newcastle-on-Tyne until it reaches the gentle uphill sloping of the suburbs along the river heading toward fertile farms. At the summit it climbs up and down the craggy headlands, the path always following the wall, ultimately winding through the fields of Cumbria and Northumberland to the sea beyond. Many of the rocks have been pilfered to make churches, fortresses and farmhouses after the wall was disbanded in about 400 AD. No wall is visible for the first and last walking days, but in between, its sturdy form connects us with Roman history.
Choosing to walk the wall for my birthday was definitely marking a moment. I wanted to share this experience with anyone who wanted to join me. I put out the word a year ahead to friends and family. I said I would do the arranging for the trip, but they would have to pay. I set tentative dates, wanting to be along the wall on my real birthday. Since I was arranging the adventure, I designed it for my comfort level. I chose to walk the 85 miles in 8 days. A "self-guided" tour company made arrangements for our accommodations and took our luggage to the next night's lodging. We had only to carry day packs with rain gear, bug spray, lunches, maps, etc.

Many people showed an interest in joining me. When it came to deposit time 18 people had signed up - including my 3 1/2 year old granddaughter and her 5 month old sister. Ultimately three persons had to drop out due to a death in the family leaving us with 15. Two were riding bikes instead of walking because of foot problems.

I am sharing this story, because for me, this was an ultimate way to mark a moment. I decided what I wanted to do and the asked the world to join in. I turned out to be a trip of a lifetime - with perfect weather, constant glorious vistas, good exercise (I had a hip replacement several years earlier so I could actually do the walking), great conversations and interesting accommodations. Everything was better than in my imagined dreams. The little kids were fabulous - as were their parents - being carried mostly in backpacks.

You too can set your goals and make your dreams a reality. They need not be as grandiose as this one. When you search your heart for what you want to realize, you can make it materialize. Don't be afraid to set your intention and move forward, allowing your life to be full of zest and energy!