I’m hiking up a hill 200m over the town of Les Houches. It’s steep and my breath is heavy, but I feel alive. The grass on both sides of the road looks greener than I can remember seeing in a while. The sky is bright blue, a stark contrast to the rainy skies of the past two days.
I turn around and look down. The houses and churches of the town below me are partly hidden behind a trail of clouds resting in the valley. In the distance I can hear church bells, even though it’s a Monday morning.
Suddenly I’m aware that I feel something I haven’t felt in a while: I feel happy.
I’ve been planning this trip for months, and now I’m actually here, on the Tour du Mont Blanc. It might as well be the Camino the Santiago: this is a spiritual experience, to know that many before me walked the exact same route that I’m walking, and many will follow.
Even though I’ve prepared, I don’t know exactly what lies ahead; I don’t even know if I’ll complete the 170km journey around the Mont Blanc massif. But I’m getting closer with every step.