What’s the longest way you have ever walked home just for the sake of walking? One mile? Five? And why? Were you walking to take your mind off of something, or just to do something healthy?
In the fall of 2007, Christoph Rehage began his journey by foot from Beijing to Germany. Yes, you’ve read correctly. In his personal blog, Rehage says, “The idea of walking home from Beijing got implanted in my head while I was studying at BFA. I had walked from Paris to my home in Germany once in the summer of 2003 – a little walk of about 800 km that took less than a month. But there was something special about that walk. I remembered being on the road, thinking: Where will I sleep? What will I eat? There were no metaphysical questions, no big worries, just pragmatic problems to solve. It felt good, and it felt meaningful.”
So yeah, Christoph in a way started his journey just for kicks — and most likely because he enjoys the adventure of meeting new people, experiencing new places and a chance to think throughout the journey.
Even though Rehage has walked home from France to Germany before without recording any of it, this time he decided to film his trek home from Beijing. He calls it “The Longest Way,” and one can see throughout the first video how his physical appearance begins to transform as time progresses. During the video it shows Rehage occasionally getting on flights back home to take care of personal business or bureaucratic issues back in Beijing, after which he would resume his walk exactly where he left off.
In 2010, Rehage resumed his walk from Xinjiang all the way to the border in Kazakhstan. At the moment he has stopped his journey so he can again take control over his life, but expects to go back sometime soon.
By Roberto Garcia