(narrated by Vit – Northern Hikes owner and founder)
“I was having a pretty decent job in a big multinational consulting corporation. It was paying more than enough to have solid middle class life. There was no need to change anything, expect one tiny detail… the job was not fulfilling me that much.
And as we should not waste the time allocated for our lives, I had to make a decision and change it. To start new things, you need to quit old ones so I started with quiting at my job. With my undying passion for hiking the future plan was simple but crazy as well – take a backpack and alone only hike through the whole Carpathian mountain range spanning Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania. A hike through one of the last wilderness in Europe with wolves and bears roaming all around.
What was the goal and purpose of this? To be alone, leave behind all the stress we have in our nowadays lives, to realize who I am and what do I expect from life and sort out priorities how to reach it. A key decisions in my life I must say.
First three days of my trip I hated myself for taking that decision. With 20 kg backpack and all the fat in my body, it was an aching experience. But day by day, I was discovering the beauty of overcoming fear, enjoying spectacular scenery and meeting friendly locals in Slovakia. I draw a line on the map, from east to west and was sticking with it, taking every hill or mountain that crossed my way and leaving pain and all the bad feelings behind. It was starting to be clear for me, that my feature lies somewhere and somehow in nature and hiking.
It was the 38th day of my trip and I have covered so far some 400 miles in mountains, solo on foot. I was 60 miles from Ukrainian border hill “Kremenec” where Slovakia meets Poland and Ukraine. Then my phone rang and my brother told me our dad just passed away. Out of no serious illness, unexpected. The end.
Life brings situations that are hard to understand but that’s also the key to move forward. What happened to our family took me a while to digest but I also understood it as a signal that nobody is there forever and some things just can not wait for “now it’s the right time”. It may never be. And I always wanted to have my own business.
After few months of drawing crude ideas on a paper block in Canary islands where I escaped to, in search of peace, I finally realized that the answer to it all lies just in front of my eyes. And as it usually happens – it was there all the time, silently waiting for me to notice it.
I was born and raised in a small town “Decin”, a gate to beautiful tiny piece of land called Bohemian Switzerland national park. And I finally understood – this is it. Combining my passion for traveling with solid knowledge of the area with an urge to show travelers that there is way more than just Prague in Czech Republic, this all was enough to finally found Northern Hikes travel agency that will take you to Bohemian Switzerland, give you a chance to relax, leave the stress behind and feel… just real and content with what you do.
So this is it. This is the story of founding Northern Hikes. From an office job through crazy hiking in mountains and leaving the loved ones behind to creation of opportunity to share joy in marvelous outdoors.
Thank you for reading this and for understanding what makes our hikes special.”
– Vit, NH Founder & Director