The sun is setting and I’m on the side of an untraveled country road outside of Bourges, France. I’m alone. My phone died about 10 minutes ago when the GPS clearly indicated for me to make a right. All I saw was a field of wheat and poppies—no road. I had to turn around and make a left turn. It’s still light outside, but not for long. It occurred to me that I have my beloved laptop in the 30 L backpack I’ve been lugging around since 11 am; that’s when I had to check out of my hotel in Bourges.
It just struck 9 pm. I suppose I’m lucky my laptop is fully charged. I won’t make it to the hotel without the laptop charging my phone. Nonetheless, I know I have at least 3 km to go. I’m certain it will be dark by then. What if I am incapable of finding this hotel in the middle of what seems to be nowhere?
I suppose that if I must walk with my laptop in hand with my phone attached, I will live. Instead, I decide to put my laptop in my backpack and just walk with the cord attached to the phone.
The phone just turned on. 3%. The walk was so beautiful I couldn’t help but take photos. Who knew that your camera eats so much battery?
The GPS is still being mega beyond stupid and telling me to walk through fields of wheat, some poppies (maybe? probably?). I refuse. I did not intend to set out on a 10 km journey at dusk, but if I must walk the D73 to N142, then I must walk it. Otherwise, I’m sleeping in a field. It’s been raining every other day here in France and I think that’s a very bad idea.
In addition to my backpack, I have a hefty across-the-shoulder purse with a liter of water inside. I tie it to the backpack to avoid any possible extra setbacks that could slow me down. It helps. A deer prances around in the field and I think it may be the most precious thing I have ever seen. Moments like this and fields upon fields of green and poppies make this adventure so much more worthwhile.
I need to make it to the hotel before it’s absolutely dark and cars can no longer see me. At the moment, I’m not so much worried about getting hit, I’m more worried about getting a heart attack every time a semi honks at me. It is startling.
All the sudden, I find a piece of something that looks like a bone or maybe a branch. I pick it up and decide it’s an antler. Piece of wood? No, it’s an antler. I take it as a souvenir. Now I’ll have an antler in addition to the postage stamps for my collection.
My feet are killing me, I’m tired, and the crescent moon is above me. Few more minutes and it will be completely dark, but I am closer and closer to the goal.
I start seeing buildings with lights. Like the captain of a ship lost at sea finally spotting an island, I celebrate and rejoice.
I have finally made it.
I meet some hitchhikers outside of my hotel. They’ve only been on the road since 9 am this morning. They tell me everything is booked around here. I wish them the best of luck from the bottom of my heart and am relieved not to be in the same predicament.