By Molly Browning, staff writer
Potomac State College professor Eric Slivoskey hiked for four weeks across Spain, impacting him mentally, physically and spiritually.
Slivoskey hiked 1,104,513 steps over a period of 27 days, which equated to 776.2 miles.
Slivoskey had originally heard about the famous trail from a colleague in 2010, and over the past five years he thought about hiking the trail.
The trail is famous and is known around the world as a religious experience.
At the end of the 2015/2016 school year, Slivoskey decided he should take the free time during the summer to go. After receiving his wife’s, blessing he was on his way.
Slivoskey prepared by watching YouTube videos, reading online blogs and posts, and studying specific guidebooks about the trail.
He also spoke with the friend who had traveled on the trail before to find out what necessities to pack and what to expect.
He stated he was nervous about not being trained enough and not having the proper gear.
“You always kind of wonder what you’re going to encounter; you just hope that you’re prepared for whatever you face,” said Slivoskey.
When he started his journey, he tried not have too many expectations and “let it be what it’s going to be.”
The trip impacted him more than he had anticipated. He said that when he returned home he felt as if “everything was enriched.”
He told a story of how he spoke to a Syrian refugee at a café. The refugee told Slivoskey about his family and how he didn’t know if his family was alive.
The man had been traveling by foot for almost two years.
Slivoskey said this experience changed his perspective. From that point on, if he saw someone in need he did what he could to help.
Slivoskey said one of the greatest takeaways from his experience was the realization that human beings across the world are more alike than they are different.
“People by and large are mostly the same,” said Slivoskey, “and they want the same things out of life: health, family, a dream, goals.”
Slivoskey also said that he was surprised at how far he could push himself mentally even when his body was physically exhausted.
Slivoskey pointed out that we lose sight of how much mental power we have.
Slivoskey said that if he could change anything he would have slowed down. He felt that he missed a lot of little things because he was on a time schedule.
For those who wish to embark on a journey of this size, Slivoskey gives this advice: plan ahead, train yourself, research your route, know what you need and do not need, and most importantly “just do it.”
“Don’t look for the reasons not to do it, because they are always there. I think if you go out and you get started, you will be glad you did,” Slivoskey said.
For more information on Slivoskey’s journey, visit his blog www.coachingoutofbounds.blogspot.com where he posted daily entries on the trip.
He will also be speaking on Potomac State campus in January 2017 about his experience.