He was not satisfied with his life. From the decisions he made and the future he saw for himself. He decided to act. 20-year-old Michał Bradel from Gliwice embarked on a walking tour of Europe in May. He wants to circumnavigate the highest mountains of the old continent and cover a distance of 4,500 kilometers. More than half are behind him. He is also richer in experiences, adventures and already knows how much this challenge has changed his life.
He saw with his own eyes Charles Bridge in Prague, Olympic Stadium in Munich, Notre-Dame de Fourvière in Lyon and the Dragon Bridge in Ljubljana. He had walked to all these famous places. From mid-May he does not use any means of transport. He mainly sleeps on campsites and in the agriturismo. Although he admits that he also sleeps in the wild, he tries to avoid it.
He publishes travelogues on his social media blog – Travel in travel.
Magdalena Wojtoń, RMF FM: Why did you decide to go on such a journey?
Michael Bradel: I needed a change in my life. I wanted to do something big and on my terms. Something that will take effort and time from me. I wasn’t satisfied with my life – with the decisions I made, with the future I saw. Then I planned this trip and moved on. The hardest part on the road is fighting with yourself. Along the way we come to moments when we no longer have the strength. Bad weather is bad, it’s either too hot or too cold. We walk along a narrow road along a busy road. In addition, the body loses strength. We must deny ourselves, hold our heads and move forward.
What was the most difficult moment of your trip?
It was the Czech Republic, Pardubice to be exact, that’s the very beginning of my tour. My phone broke. It started to get dark and the night began. I was still 15 kilometers to the campsite, so the situation was pretty dull. It was also the first time I was all alone at night. The only light I had was the headlight on my head. I was walking through a rather uninteresting neighborhood and a shady guy sat down with me. I was followed for quite a distance. Then I went into the woods – it was pretty psychological too. I reached what turned out to be a junkyard. The campground was 200 yards away, but I was so tired I completely ignored it. All the times when I was extremely exhausted were the hardest. Then the man wants to go home.
You have probably had many adventures. What will you never forget?
The whole route is one big adventure. The day I will remember forever is my birthday celebrated in Munich. I had no plan. I was about to leave town when I met an American who was going to the Rolling Stones concert that day. I thought maybe I could go too. We walked together in front of the stadium and shouted that we wanted to buy a ticket. We met Hungarians from whom I bought a ticket to the Stones before the concert – for 20 euros and a pack of peanuts. It rained all day, there was a storm. When The Rolling Stones started playing, the clouds parted and the whole concert was fantastic weather and sunshine. Fifteen minutes after the concert the clouds started to gather again, it started to flow and thump with lightning. It was amazing. It’s just that The Rolling Stones wanted to give me a birthday present and found they couldn’t with this weather.
What this journey has already brought you. What did she show you?
Above all, I am a happy person. I smile a lot and remain optimistic even in difficult times. This is a fantastic change because at times when I would normally be frustrated I smile and keep fighting, keep going. This tour showed me that there is nothing you can’t do. If we believe strongly in something, we can fight for it. Give up a lot of pain for it, but in the end there will be satisfaction.
More than 2,000 kilometers behind you. How many shoes have you damaged already?
I still go in the ones I started with and they still stick. Although they look worse every day, I hope they will make it to the finish line with me.
Michał Bradel shows that it is worth taking a step to enrich your life. It covers 4,500 kilometers, but mainly its weaknesses. Diary of 107 travel days leads here.