Walking in a post-apocalyptic world, your footsteps are the road. There are no roads. There is no particular path to follow. The way is made by walking. This is the struggle my heroes are facing. It’s a different kind of walking – not for relaxation or cleaning your mind. My heroes are descending into the dark depths of their being, the places where wounds, self-doubt and shame dwells. They learn who they are, by retrieving the lost parts of themselves.
In my graphic novel „Queen of Hearts,“ the heroine describes many memories of her past, walking through her neighborhood. She explores new spaces on her journey to the city. To survive she has to trust her senses and constantly adapt to the changing environment. Sometimes she gets lost. But she meets people on the way, which help her to navigate the inner terrain. Many of us will never get that far. She is very much stepping off into the dark unknown and it is as exhilarating when she walks on rooftops as it is terrifying to leave San Francisco.
Walking is an important aspect of my life. I like to explore the city by walking. I often go off the trail to get more in tune with my environment in national parks. Many people walk in the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit. I try to stay in the moment. I take note of the weather and surroundings, how my body feels and moves, what kind of moods I’m in or any memories I experience on my walk.
I recently walked the Camino de Santiago. Packing your backpack for the journey is a little bit like preparing for the apocalypse. You have to make sure you pack light and carry only the essentials. Water is the most critical resource on your way. It’s an exhausting journey. Your feet are the primary mode of transportation. Blisters can be extremely painful to walk on, especially when you are not used to walking long distances. So it’s important to take care of your feet. Everyone’s journey is different. The path is literally made by walking. My personal journey was full of humanity’s past and possible futures. Especially in the small towns of Galicia, it feels like the future is the past. I was surprised to find so many abandoned buildings and concrete structures on the way. With the absence of people, it was almost like walking in a post-apocalyptic scenario – a pretty surreal environment. The only things that remain after humans disappear are stones, vegetation, wildlife, and the mystery. Why were these places abandoned? Why did their occupants appear just to have vanished, leaving everything behind? What did they pack? And where did they go?