Mare E Monti

Trekking in Corsica

The tears did not come

“Ok” I said to myself. “If you want to, you are allowed to cry now.” But the tears did not come. I had just hiked up a steep hill with a 20 kg backpack on the third day of a six-day trekking tour along the Nort-West of Corsica and I was frustrated. I had slipped a few times before because of the heavy backpack on my back but this time I actually ended up falling on my bud and cutting my elbow. Hence, I found it an adequate moment to let me frustrations go. But the tears did not come.


I had started the Mare e Monti trek with great enthusiasm and was well excited to embark on my own again after such a busy first quarter of the year. If you walk the whole Mare e Monti trek, it leads over 75 kilometres and 7800 meters altitude difference from Calenzana to Cargèse in about eight days. I diverted on the fourth day and stayed along the coast instead of going back towards the mountains and summited one of the most beautiful peaks, Capu d’Otta, near Porto on my last day.

Whilst sitting on the ground feeling a bit sorry for myself, I had a Déjà-vu of trekking around the Annapurna mountain range in Nepal in 2018. Back then I had planned to take about 30 days to trek in the area and I was close to giving up during the first few days. It was really hard to walk with such a heavy backpack and I was so slow. I could only focus on how fast everyone else was passing me and got really frustrated. It took me the first week to accept that trekking takes time and needs patience. From that moment onwards I got faster and learned that slowly and steadily you get where you want to go.

Slow down

After weeks of rushing from date to date and ticking of boxes on my to-do-list, hiking for eight hours on my own, alone with my own thoughts, was almost unbearable for me. I almost felt bad not to achieved anything o been productive. Something that I had been looking forward to for so long now could not be over quickly enough. I realised that with the amount of work, studying, and training as a guide over the last three years, I had almost forgotten how to simply enjoy the moment. Still a little frustrated I got up yet when the path split, I decided to park my heavy backpack behind a bush and take a detour to a little beach instead of continuing to the next village. I had debated whether to go to the beach or continue for the past hour and finally concluded that I may never come back to this beach, and I still had plenty of time to get to the next village. And wasn’t this why I actually started the trek? The beach was empty, as it was only accessible by boat or hiking, and I felt rich – rich in time and rich in nature.

In hindsight it surprised me that the tears did not come as there were many moments in the months before of uncontrolled crying because I felt completely overwhelmed by the decisions I had taken and its consequences. There and then a switch had flipped, and I realised  that the hardest part is over, and it is now for me to relearn how to enjoy the journey that I had decided to take.

UNESCO World Heritage in the heart of Corsica

The path continued to La Girolata, a small fisher town, from where the magnificent coast of “La Scandola” starts. The peninsula is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the 80s because of its beauty, rich biodiversity, and vegetation and tourists come in masses to explore the coastline, especially in summer. However, there is a lesser-known hiking path almost along the whole coast to Porto that I hiked for the remaining three days, and I was not disappointed. The mix of steep and rocky coastline interrupted by deserted sandy beaches along the crystal-clear sea and the mild spring temperatures make La Scandola a superb hiking destination.

Seize the moment

In a world that is so rushed long-distance trekking is for me the best cure to regain focus on what is important to me in life. Where time is our scarcest resource, it forces me to slow down and reminds me that achieving something demands patience. It forces me to think about everything I subconsciously repress. That is not always easy but, in the end, feels very liberating.

I have come back home with my batteries recharged, my ambitions reassessed, and my goals refocused. Whilst I was a little scared to build Shanti Treks at the start, I am now looking forward to the challenge. And after realising that I was way too busy proving myself to the world, I am now trying to simply enjoy the journey and see where it leads to.