Martin Horacek decided to go on a journey of a lifetime trekking and volunteering his way from Germany to Israel. Martin trekked by himself and on foot to the Old City of Jerusalem where he is now volunteering at the Desert Eco Building Project. After being in Israel for a few weeks, we interviewed him to learn more about his adventure.
GoEco: What led you to the decision to trek from Germany to Israel?
Martin Horacek: The idea started four years ago when I walked from Germany and did a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compstela in Spain. I met so many great people and had such amazing experiences that I decided to do another pilgrimage – this time from Germany to Jerusalem.
When did you start and end your trek from Germany to Israel?
Martin Horacek: After researching hiking trails that ran from Germany to Israel, I realized that 90% of the trek would be on main roads. When my journey started, I decided to walk on little streets that ran through villages. This experience gave me the opportunity to meet locals in the community, which challenged me to work through the language barrier. The trek took me a total of 170 days and ended in the Old City of Jerusalem.
How was your experience of meeting other travelers and locals on your journey?
Martin Horacek: I traveled on my own most of the time and only met a few other travelers along the way, but none of them were hikers. In the evenings, I usually spent my time connecting with locals and learning about their cultures.
What are some milestones that stand out from your trip?
Martin Horacek: My biggest milestone on the pilgrimage was looking at my map after walking for so long and realizing how far I had gone on foot. Some of these highlights occurred when I reached Budapest after following the Danube River, standing at the top of the Carpathian Mountains, reaching the Black Sea, stepping foot in Istanbul, and touching the Mediterranean Sea.
What has this journey taught you?
Martin Horacek: The biggest lesson I have gained is that there are great people everywhere you go!
Why did you pick the Desert Eco Building Project?
Martin Horacek: For the last 15 years I have worked in a factory building tables and furniture. I am interested in working with different materials and am particularly interested in learning how to build outdoor furniture.
What has volunteering with GoEco given you?
Martin Horacek: I have been able to meet amazing people at this eco village and spent time with the local families who live here. I, along with other volunteers, have also gone on beautiful day hikes, which I have really enjoyed!
Now that your trek is over, what do you plan on doing after your volunteer project with GoEco?
Martin Horacek: After I am finished with my time at the Desert Eco Building project, I plan to continue traveling around the Middle East and familiarize myself with the surrounding countries. After the winter, I will head east towards India with no specific time frame to return to Germany.