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Podcast „Wanderwach & Kaffee“

Mareike erzählt, wie man vom Wandern zum Weitwandern und zu „Wanderwach & Kaffee“ kommt
Mareike on the Rennsteig

The Rennsteig – for me, this 168 km long trail along the ridge of the Thuringian Forest was always the epitome of horror as a child. Like so many other kids, I was often dragged by my parents to go for a walk in the woods on Sundays, either on the Rennsteig itself or in its vicinity. Growing up in close proximity to the Rennsteig, I couldn’t wait to leave for college at the age of 18 and then to explore the world. In my mid-20s, I discovered cycling, and eventually, hiking. Who would have thought that I would transition from cycling to long-distance hiking?

Initially, I would go from one accommodation to another, often with my mother, in Cornwall, Ireland, as well as in Germany and Sweden;

then, I ventured extensively into hiking with local guides and camping across Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, and Ladakh in northern India. But the real turning point for me was the Pacific Crest Trail in 2017.

That was the first time I embarked on a journey completely alone and self-reliant for several weeks (originally planning just a section hike), which eventually turned into months on the trail. By the time I reached the Mexican border, I was far from finished. I continued my adventure through Australia (Great Ocean Walk), then moved on to New Zealand to tackle the Te Araroa, followed by hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, back to the PCT, and into the Appalachian Mountains on the Benton-MacKaye Trail. After that, I journeyed to Iceland for the Laugavegur Trail and finally reached the summit of South America’s highest peak, Mount Aconcagua. What started as a hiking sabbatical in 2017 turned into a two-year hiking world tour, profoundly changing my life.”

A job in China followed, and then the pandemic struck. Through a series of twists and turns, I found myself back in the Thuringian Forest, once again in close proximity to the Rennsteig. Working online at very early and very late hours allowed me to hike the Rennsteig multiple times, the Eisenach-Budapest Trail in Germany, and significant portions of the Green Belt. I also embarked on spontaneous hikes on new routes in the Thuringian Forest. I can’t help but say that long-distance hiking during the pandemic kept me from going crazy. It was the only way to endure the fact that my international life, with an international job and an international partner on a different continent, had been put on “pause.”

But something else saved me: When you couldn’t travel the world on the major trails for a long time and connect with your usual hiking community, I had to bring that community to the Thuringian Forest! I had been a big fan of podcasts for a long time, and how difficult could it be, right? I had time, and so “Wanderwach & Kaffee” was created relatively quickly! The idea behind the podcast is that I have conversations with different guests about their experiences and adventures in long-distance hiking: Why do people do “such a thing”? What do they experience on the way? How does it affect them? What comes next in life? The podcast aims to inspire, encourage, provoke thought, and tell the story behind the story.

Mareike has already dedicated herself to the North-South Trail topic twice.

I dived even deeper into the world of long-distance hiking. The more guests I talked to, the more inspiration I gathered.

With international travel still limited during the pandemic, I set off again: Wasn’t hiking and camping in a tent the ideal isolation? I hiked the GR131 across all the Canary Islands, circumnavigated Lake Tahoe on the Tahoe Rim Trail in California and Nevada, and finally embarked on a bikepacking journey from Germany through Finland and Northern Norway to the North Cape. Always driven by what defines long-distance hiking and bikepacking: the desire for freedom, self-determination, pushing boundaries, and the search for what we truly are and what I consider a rich life.

Upon returning from the North Cape, New Zealand finally reopened its borders, and I was able to move to where I had been working online for some time. Now I live in Auckland, in close proximity to the Te Araroa, and its call is growing louder. For now, I bring the long-distance hiking feeling home through many conversations with my exciting podcast guests, but soon it will be my turn again: Soon I will stand at Cape Reinga in the north of New Zealand and hike the North Island on the Te Araroa. There will surely be podcast episodes with reports from the trail as well.

So, that was a little behind-the-scenes look at “Wanderwach & Kaffee.” We consider Mareike’s podcast to be the best in the German-speaking world when it comes to long-distance hiking and thru-hiking topics. Here you can find the website and other useful links. Enjoy browsing and listening to the many captivating stories from the world of hiking. Note: Mareike’s podcast is only available in the German language.

Die Initiative Nord Süd Trail hat sich zu einem ausgedehnten Netzwerk entwickelt, das aus ehrenamtlichen Helfern, erfahrenen Fernwanderern, Wegpaten, Youtubern und Wanderführern besteht. Da wir nicht an einer finanziellen Vermarktung des Weges interessiert sind, liegt das Hauptaugenmerk weiterhin auf der Etablierung des Weges.

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