Christopher Rehage decided to take a photo of himself each day when he started his walk in the fall of 2007. His plan was to walk from Beijing, China to his home in Germany- a distance of five thousand miles. He didn’t make it to go that far, but managed to walk for nearly 3000 miles and grow an impressive beard.
It was not his first long walk. In 2003, Rehage walked from Paris to Germany, his home. This 500-mile walk took him less than a month and inspired him to attempt the five thousand mile walk.
He started his journey on his 26th birthday, November 9, 2007, with a freshly shaved chin and head. By November 13, 2008, his hair and beard had grown to scraggly lengths before he cut it again.
His photos have him solemn faced and happy at times. He either has a straight face, or is pulling a silly funny face. He is pictured in the snow, in the sun, on the street, on a plane, in a black waterproof coat and all the while, his beard and hair keep growing longer. When he decided to stop his journey, he shaved off his beard and hair.
Rehage says that walking connects him to all the places he visits and that’s why he loves it.
“It makes you own your way. Whenever I walk somewhere, not only do I remember the way, but I also feel like I have a legitimate reason to be there,” he says. “I visit a place by train, and I’m a tourist. I walk to the same place by foot, and the place is suddenly mine. We belong together, and I don’t feel like an alien anymore.”
In the end, he walked a total of 2,796 miles -which amounts to 7.5 miles a day. From Beijing, he stopped at ürümqi and after an year of blazing hot deserts, Rehage realized he had grown a very long beard. He claimed that during the walk, his state of mind was like that of any other day.
“Sometimes you think. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you worry about passports, dangers, pains, relatives and loved ones, and at other times your steps are light and you sing songs in the desert. Sometimes it is boring. And sometimes you feel at peace.”
Rehage didn’t make it to his home in Bad Nenndorf, an issue that poses a lot of questions on his website. People want to know why he stopped short of his plan.
“I wanted to gain back my life. I had to regain control over myself and eliminate the inner boss that was telling me what to do. A lot of people look at the video thinking, ‘I want to be free like that guy!’ But they don’t realize that I was driven by something, and maybe I was losing control over it.”
Maybe he just got worn out after walking 3000 miles and his feet hurt. Who wouldn’t?