In the spring of 2018, at the age of 57, Kathy Elkind walked the Grande Randonnée Cinq (GR5) with her husband of 27 years. The 2,286K (1,400-mile) journey starts at the North Sea in The Netherlands and goes through Belgium, Luxembourg, and the whole length of France through the Alps to end at the warm Mediterranean in Nice.
Kathy always longed for an epic adventure, but the time was never right.
Finally, her children had flown the nest, and she had shifted from a fertile body to a not fertile body – What could this new body do?
It was the perfect time for a quest: to pause, reflect and explore. Could her marriage sustain and thrive on a long walk?
After two months on the GR5, they entered the mighty Alps—five weeks of alpine views, mountain refuges, and exertion. Her walking became more than meditative; she fell into an ethereal pace where she became the air and the landscape. In her own words: “Life was not about me. It was about the beauty of the world. This truth was what I had longed for but did not know.”
At home, she stepped into the last third of her Life, more in love with her husband, accepting the unknown, knowing her power, and brave enough to write a book one step at a time (she has dyslexia and did not learn to read until I was in 7th grade).
Kathy has come to believe it’s necessary for women entering the last third of their life to experience a quest or challenge. It can be anything they love – going to 25 art museums, swimming or dancing 50 days in a row. There is a unique challenge for every woman.
Kathy is an Eating Psychology Coach, a Teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion, and owner of Elkind Nourishment.
Kathy helps women feel their emotions instead of eating their emotions and feel comfortable in their bodies. She is writing a memoir about her adventure.
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- Who is Kathy and what she does
- Wanting to go on a big adventure
- Finding the right time to go travelling
- Wanting to take a pause in life
- Being married for 27 years
- Stepping into the next phase of her life
- Being exposed to the outdoors from an early age
- Never having the guts or the time to do a big thru hike
- Struggling with overeating
- Having trouble with reading and struggling in school
- Using food to numb emotions and to calm her nerves
- Struggling with shame and food
- Becoming a teacher and raising her kids
- Becoming an eating psychology coach
- Paying attention to the emotions underneath and learning to be with them
- Studying self compassion
- Being mindful
- Placing your hand on your heart and chaining your voice
- The power of speaking to yourself and being gentle to yourself
- Learning how to be compassionate to yourself
- The GR5 Trail
- Making the decision to go on the hike
- Going through menopause
- Moving from running to walking
- Planning and preparation before the trip
- Making the adventure your own
- Deciding to bike the 1st week in the Netherland
- Starting the GR5 at the end of April, beginning of May
- Doing a preamble in Italy for a few weeks before
- Wanting to slow down
- Listening to her body and using her intuition
- Learning how to sleep in a different bed every night
- Being concerned about hiking in the Alps and dealing with the elevation
- Staying mindful and being in the present
- Connecting the rhythm of your breath to your walking pace
- The magical moment and the beauty of the walks
- The lessons learned from walking the GR5
- Ready to do some backpacking and camping
- Feeling strong and powerful
- Writing a book about her experience
- The impact of the walk on her marriage
- Knowing each others strengths and weaknesses
- Daily Routine on the walk
- Top tips for taking on the GR5
- Adjusting back to normal life in America
- Final words of advice for other women who want to go on an adventure
- Why it’s never too late
- The power of brainstorming