Why am I walking? » Explorersweb
The documentary Why am I walking? follows Croatian filmmaker Nikola Horvat as he tackles the Colorado Trail and attempts to answer this existential question.
A veteran hiker, Horvat has hiked from Canada to Mexico, completed the Pacific Crest Trail and established the Croatian Long Distance Trail. After collaborating on two documentaries during the PCT and the CLDT, he decided to go back to school to study video production.
Throughout the course, other students repeatedly asked him, “Why are you hiking? He realized that over time his reasons had changed. He set out to learn the reasoning of other hikers.
One man effort
Although the film features many hikers, it is a one-man business. He walked, shot all the footage and carried all the equipment. His backpack included a camera, tripod, two lenses, a GoPro and a drone. Once all the filming was done, he edited everything himself.
“I wanted this movie to feel like a million dollar movie with at least 15 people involved. The truth is, my budget…was $0,” he said The trek.
On the trail, he reflects on what he’s learned on previous long-distance hikes. Walking from Mexico to Canada, he gained self-respect. By creating the Croatian Long Distance Trail, he did something for others while “uncovering the secrets of my own abyss”.
Horvat divides the film into five chapters. Each chapter is an answer to the question of its film. The first chapter is nature, followed by time, community, and sanity. The final chapter is a summary of Horvat’s thoughts and what he wants from his life.
This is not a documentary trying to convince others to hike. These are purely the thoughts of a man. In each chapter, Horvat intersperses his narration with comments from other hikers. What soon becomes clear is that there is a common thread that brings hikers back to the trails every year. In the first chapter, Horvat says “every time I venture into the desert, I feel like I’m going back to where I belong”. Other hikers reflect his feelings.
A community of hikers
Although many walk alone or in small groups, all participants have a similar community spirit. They are kindred spirits, bonded by their love of the outdoors. This community helps them become the best version of themselves. “In nature, people respect each other and listen to each other more,” says a hiker.
When it comes to mental health, many hikers comment on the therapeutic value of hiking. “A bad day of hiking is probably one of the best days of your life,” says one. It is a form of escape where one finds the joy of small things.
At one point, you see Horvat overwhelmed with excitement over a bottle of sugar water. He had been waiting for her for three days.
Sometimes the documentary attempts to address deeper questions about life and meaning. Horvat believes that humanity is “a collection of molecules that unite the chaos of the Big Bang”. That might not resonate with everyone, but most of the movie will.
With a backdrop of beautiful scenery and music, the documentary might give you one more reason to get out.
About the Author
Rebecca is a UK-based freelance writer and science teacher.
She is an avid traveler and has had the good fortune to backpack parts of Africa, South America and Asia. Trained in marine biology, she is interested in everything related to the oceans.
His areas of expertise include open water sports, marine wildlife and adventure travel.