That’s it! I need some time away. I’m pretty sure we all feel like that sometimes, I just decided to act on it. After several coffees I dangerously checked SkyScanner for cheap flights… 3 days later I was on my way to Switzerland.
Straight out of Basel airport and over to the car rental, easy as…
“…Yes, I’m afraid we do not have your reservation. You reserved a vehicle on the Swiss side.”
It was then that it dawned on me: They only accepted Euros in that café. I wasn’t in Switzerland.
“Then where the hell am I?”
After a few seconds of sheer panic I realised I was just in France. The lady at the desk directed me back inside the airport, I found the Swiss door and entered Switzerland, where I managed to pick up my hire car. It was an interesting 200km with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car and everyone driving on the wrong side of the road but I made it to Grindelwald.
Why Switzerland? It was last minute, granted. I needed some time to chill, train and explore. I had in my mind the idea of staying in a hut, way up in the mountains as far away from civilisation as possible. Just me… and the mountains. I could wake up early, stop to eat and then continue exploring into the evening, with the occasional coffee and apple strudel mixed in between. I could now find lost and unused running trails as I continue my Ultra marathon training.
Switzerland was about escaping from the beautiful chaos of the city; to jump off life’s train, take time to reflect and pause for a moment. There is nothing like running down a mountain to clear your mind. Heading to the alps was a much needed ‘time out’. I feel it’s important to take a step back and look at what’s most important in your life. It can be too easy to loose sight of your priorities. Then, with a fresh mind, you can head back and invest time into those things/people.
I arrived at my chalet and I was totally encompassed by the Bernese Oberland. Standing on the balcony of my first Airbnb, I could see for miles down into the valley and across the fields, then up another mountain. After spending a few nights in the incredibly breathtaking Grindelwald, I headed up to the top of First for one last hike before leaving for France. I think it was around 2000m alt. when I jumped out of the cable car. After a long run and hike, with the occasional stop for breath, I made it back and I was in pieces! My heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest. I crossed waterfalls, slipped down valleys and climbed up rocks. Reaching the summit, I looked down over how far I had come; It was so humbling.
The alpine air was fresh and clean; all was silent except the occasional ringing of cow bells. I couldn’t see anyone for miles. This would do just fine.
Take a ‘time out’ and escape the craziness of every day life. You won’t regret it.
Back in London, I can’t help but ask, where next? Things will slow down for a month or so as I start studying again. The next couple of months will be a bit of a juggling act: balancing work, training, travel and university. I’m pretty sure as long as I prioritise well and live for now, things will work out well.
Here’s a link to check out a couple of my runs from Switzerland: