Walk of Wisdom: Saskia’s own way


SAskia van den Brand (30) is an avid hiker. She likes to write about her experiences during the many hikes she makes. She recently walked the Walk of Wisdom.

“The first morning light shines through my bedroom. On my alarm clock I see that it is 05.30 am. My adventure will start in an hour. I fill my backpack with water, quickly change clothes and put on my hiking boots. I walk via Plein 1944 to the Stevenskerk in Nijmegen. The departure ceremony starts at exactly 6:30 a.m. Together with fellow pilgrims, I listen to a reader read a passage from the contemporary book of hours and pilgrims ‘Seasons of Life’. The lyrics are about gratitude. You can be grateful for the past, for the now and for the present. A little before 7 o’clock we walk out of the Stevenskerk in silence and the pilgrim lauds have come to an end.

Journey inside
Since 2015 it is possible to walk the Walk of Wisdom . A route of 136 kilometers through an often beautiful nature with a great diversity of landscapes. The start and end point of the WoW is the Stevenskerk in Nijmegen. I had known the WoW for a number of years, but it was not yet my time to walk the route. In the spring that changed and I decided to set a date to make the trip indoors. I have chosen to walk the route alone, but I have also come across pilgrims walking together. The distances and sleeping places are all up to you. I decided to walk the route consecutively. If you want to experience what it’s like to let go of certainties in life and make your journey within, you can only achieve this by walking for days at a time.

In total, I completed the route in 4.5 days. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity of minimalism. My backpack contained everything I needed. It gives peace, space and freedom to experience that the most important experiences and encounters are stored in my heart. Along the way, I collected a bird ring in each of the eleven congregations. It is very nice to pick up the bird rings. Every time I looked forward to being able to take a bird ring from a jam jar or birdhouse. This also makes it tangible for yourself that you already have the necessary kilometers in your legs. During the route you will pass through the Reichswald (Germany), Mookerheide, Hatertse fens and past old villages such as Ravenstein and Leur.

White butterfly
No matter how beautiful nature is, in the end this journey is about the path of your own wisdom. Which experiences you take home with you is different for everyone. Personally, I found it special that during the trip a white butterfly continuously flew with me. I walked more than 125 kilometers alone. Only at two crucial moments did I meet fellow pilgrims. There is no such thing as coincidence, and I believe it must be for a reason that I met them at that moment. In my ‘own way’ my feet bring me back to where I want to be, namely in the Stevenskerk in Nijmegen. From now on, I can call myself not only a hiker, but also a pilgrim!’

Additional Information from Saskia
– During my WoW it was difficult to find sleeping addresses. This is partly caused by the fact that many Dutch people spend their holidays in their own country.
– You can request a starter pack through the WoW foundation, where you will receive the route description and pilgrim’s lace, among other things. Click on this link to sign up.
– Beforehand I downloaded the route on my phone. It is imperative to follow the directions in the booklet and the markings both. In the Reichswald and in Hernen the markings are missing and you walk on the description of the booklet.