My pilgrimage path – the Walk of Wisdom by Yvonne Derks

Yvonne Derks walked the Walk of Wisdom as pilgrim 668 back in 2017. For reasons that we can only now see her report. We are happy to post it. Do you also have a report of your trip? Feel welcome and email us at [email protected]

My Pilgrim’s Path (the Walk of Wisdom)

Opens on Friday, May 27, 2016.
Finish on Sunday 20 August 2017.
By : Yvonne Derks.

And it all started a year earlier: July 2, 2015. For my birthday, the children gave me the Book of Hours: Seasons of Life . I was immediately sold: the personal stories, I read them in one breath. Walking, that’s part of my life anyway. Not so much about the fast and long distances, but about being outside, seeing and feeling the nature around you, experiencing the seasons.

We live in Beers in the countryside with its silence and space. I have become convinced that on your path through life you always get the chance to stop and make the choice which path suits you best at that moment. But none of this makes you a pilgrim! The experience of going out on my own, that became the challenge for me, that I wanted to take on. I feel accompanied by my daughter Klaartje, who died in an accident in 2000 at the age of 23, she always walks with me…

On Friday, May 27, 2016, the time had come: my husband proudly waved me goodbye. On to the Stevenskerk in Nijmegen, where I was warmly welcomed and registered as pilgrim 668. Lit a candle in the park Valkhof, in the direction of the Waal bridge. Over the pedestrian bridge into the Ooopolder….and it started right away: cows on the path, which I feared the most….and two very charming men, who were looking for Oortjeshekken on rickety bicycles, to drink a beer on the terrace. “You’re not going to walk the whole way alone, are you?” they shouted at me, “Jump on the back….!” Almost indignantly, I wave away that proposal, I am a pilgrim after all…! Much later I am greeted with loud applause on that terrace and that does a pilgrim good….

On to the ferry across the water. There I ‘coincidentally’ meet a father with his five-year-old son. “I regularly pull the ferry up and down,” he says, “because he likes it.” I can also come along and the boy is so enthusiastic that he asks if he can walk with me. “A little bit then,” the father and I decide.

And so my Walk of Wisdom begins, with many beautiful encounters. Throughout all seasons. Sometimes accompanied by niece Marleen, good friend Joke and Marielle. How good was that. For me, but also for them: Marleen, who then dared to walk to Santiago de Compostela. Joke, who finds her (own) way back after the loss of her beloved Rob and Marielle, who takes the risk to give up her job in nursing and now follows her heart: her own yoga practice.

And so ends my Walk of Wisdom on Sunday, August 20, 2017. Back in the Stevenskerk, the circle is complete, I am proud of myself and satisfied I light a candle at the end, for myself, for all those people who are so dear to me……