Not just an ordinairy walk
This experience is a translation of a Dutch experience which can be found here.
Last weekend it was time to do my first Kavadi walk. Why this ritual? I cannot really answer this question. I had, of course, seen some pictures and browsed the net for some more information but I guess I just wanted to try it, to feel what this experience was like. It's obvious that you don't get an opportunity to try it every single day, so when I saw it on the events list I didn't hesitate for a second to sign up. neetnek and the Truth Seekers Syndicate would organise it - I already had some beautiful suspension experiences with this group, so I knew I wouldn't have to worry and that good care would be taken of me.
Two and a half week before the event I had my last alcoholic drink, took a little extra care about the food (started eating vegetarian, not much sugar, fresh vegetables and fruits...) and that's about it. Mentally I didn't get prepared, just because I had no expectations. I decided to wait and see what would happen that day.
It would be an hour and 15 minutes drive to Venlo, so I left home 1,5 hour in advance. Of course there were some road constructions in the last miles that made me arrive at the meeting point more than an hour late. Luckily Kor, Malicia and dust were still there waiting for me. Helasdottir and Bluezy already left to the walking grounds to prepare. After a little while we've joined them.
We had lots of luck with the weather as it was a sunny day, not what you would expect at the end of October in this part of the country but we didn't complain at all. When all the gear was unpacked, it was time to start building the frames. Because it was Anyi's first time too, I just copied her while she was following Kor's instructions.
Then I got inside the frame to get it fixed to my body. At first all pressure was on the belt and that's not the way it was supposed to be. But after some changes I put more pressure on my shoulders and got comfortable with the feeling. From then on it was just waiting until the others would be prepared, too.
I got out of the frame and ate a little, helped Kor with his frame and by then Anyi and Lydia were ready. Jan and Tom, the photographers, also joined us, along with ragged. Now it was starting to get serious and we were ready to place the spears. I was able to get mine first while Bluezy was helping Lydia. So I got into my frame again and Rule and Kor came over with the first spear. It surprised me how sharp it was (I could have known, but it still was more then I've had expected). It was placed on my chest and you can describe the feeling a little like play piercing, with the same endorphine rush as a result. 25 more spears followed the first one; eventually the frame contained 10 in front and back, and 3 left and right. This process wasn't that hard and when all was in place I did my first steps to get used to the feeling. In the beginning you're a little in doubt, but after a while you walk around like there's no 12 kilograms resting on your body. Now it was waiting again until everybody was set up to start the walk.
Because we were in a public wood, we had some surprised views from people who were running or walking their dogs. The nice part about the Netherlands is that people are already used to unusual sights, so you don't get negative comments, just some weird looks. I can imagine that you're surprised when you go for a dog walk and see something like this; I know I would be years ago.
We were ready for take off : Kor in front, followed by Anyi, myself and Lydia in the end. Bluezy was supposed to follow us while pulling a truck tyre but he suffered from an ache in his foot and unfortunately couldn't join us.
Some time already passed between placing my first spear in the gear and the start of the actual walk, so I got totally used to the feeling. The surroundings we walked through were beautiful but we had to be careful not to hit some low hanging leaves with our spears. When it happened, the spears got pushed deeper in the skin and we definitely noticed that. It was nothing we couldn't handle but there are more pleasant things to experience.
As I already said, I had no expectations from this experience and I was looking forward to seeing what would happen but deep inside I hoped that after walking for a while I would enter some kind of rush, some state of mind or maybe get some kind of kick. It never happened though.
While walking I heard the constant moving of the spears in the frame. Once we were halfway, the sound has changed a little and I thought there was something wrong. This was correct, because I've lost one screw from the frame. Fortunately, our photographers were walking with us and they found the shiny missing part real quickly. If they weren't around, it would be far more difficult to find it and pick it up, because the last thing you want to do with those spears in your body is falling down.
After about an hour we got back to the place we've started from and it was time to take everything out. Because of the weight of the frame and the movement while walking the spears were pushed a little deeper in the flesh. While removing the spears it felt a little like they tore out little pieces of my skin. As far as aftercare goes, I didn't do anything special. I just used neutral soap to wash and that's it. I had no problems whatsoever.
When everything was out I could walk around free again. It was getting colder and darker real fast now, so everybody helped to clean up and we ate some self-made super apple pie.
Would I do it again? Yeah, I think so. But I would start preparing more in advance and I would try to get mentally prepared as well. I think you can get a lot more out of it, but for the first time, with no expectations, it was a nice experience. And this is something no one can take away from me!
Big thank you to Anyi, Jan and Tom for the pictures, Kor for organizing the event, Bluezy and Lydia for the company and harm-Jan and Rule for the help! And last but not least, my wonderful secret editor, who helped me with the translation and the html stuff : You know who you are!
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 22 Dec. 2005