Memories on the Move – Merlijn Smeele

Merlijn Smeele
May 29, 2021
Nijmegen, Netherlands
May 29, 2021
Nijmegen, Netherlands

An exploration and collection of stories that connect us with each other, our surroundings and ourselves.

On May 29 I will run a 107 km social expedition through nature and history on a beautiful regional loop path around Nijmegen, the oldest city in the Netherlands.

Finding crossroads
It’s the city where my mother was raised. I moved here to give care to her and my uncle without really knowing the city or anyone. As their world grew smaller, so did mine.
But through running I discovered the many faces of this beautiful city and region and its diverse natural and cultural memory. These explorations reconnected me to life, to people and their stories.
So that’s why I’ll run this route around Nijmegen, to enjoy and celebrate connections.

And by sharing photos from my training journeys with my mom and uncle, bygone ages and never told stories about their youth sometimes float to the surface. This makes it a joint adventure full of precious moments even though we can’t walk the path together.

“Without people to tell its story, a trail is just a line left behind.”
Robert Moor, author of On Trails

What’s your story?
I invite you to share your favorite place or trail and why it’s meaningful to you. It can be a drawing, photo, inspirational quote, poem or wish.
It can be Nijmegen but also other places and other countries.

The stories will be marked on a story map, so we can explore all favorite places and moments and connect the world together.

Join me?
I ran the 107K route on May 29 in less than 14 hours; an incredible crew of family and friends made this possible and their support and encouragement made it a lot of fun!
I roughly followed the 117K Nijmegen Streekpad route but I adjusted it a bit to stay within the Netherlands because of the Corona restrictions and also to make it accessible for the crew and supporters by bike.

More details about this project, the route, my preparation and how you can join or support next challenges, I will share here shortly.


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