Calais Malais


1. a condition of general bodily weakness or discomfort, often marking the onset of a disease.

2. a vague or unfocused feeling of mental uneasiness, lethargy, or discomfort.

We all get ‘those days ‘ once in a while. Days when we feel uninspired. Uncomfortable. Listless. Exhausted. A little sick. Mildly depressed. It is these days that we lose perspective. It is these days we need to remember that will soon pass.

Yesterday marked the seventh day of the pilgrimage and our day of rest. We were able to sleep in, catch up on washing and communications. It was a day of rest in Dover before we started our European leg and to say goodbye to England.

The general mood was quite relaxed tinged with a sense of melancholy. We were saying goodbye to fellow walkers who ended their journey in Dover, to return to their normal lives. Additionally, two walkers fell ill with food poisoning so the morale was quite low.

As we boarded the ferry to Calais I felt for the first time along the journey a sense of exhaustion and doubting my will power to make it all the way to Jerusalem. I was offered a seasick tablet for the short voyage across the English Channel.

Combined with the swaying motion on the ferry I felt myself fall into a trance like state. Arriving in the port of Calais  in the mid afternoon it was deserted.

We walked through the town and I felt totally heat dazed. Hazy.

Still nursing a cold, itchy eyes and sneezing, I suspect I may have hay fever. Something I hadn’t experienced for decades.

Heartist's Journey
Walking along the dual carriageways to get to our accommodation in Calais.

Calais in my lacklustre state looked bland. Walking in the hot afternoon sun, very slowly we inched our way towards our accommodation on the outskirts of town. We walked along dual carriageways not designed for walkers. Past barbed wire fences set up to stop refugees from Europe from entering the Channel Tunnel and into Britain.

Heartist's Journey
The Burghers of Calais by Rodin in Calais.

I felt an emptiness. A forlorness that reflected my surroundings. We stopped along the way at the Burghers of Calais public statue by Rodin. We were told by Justin the story of the Burghers as they agonisingly volunteered to surrender themselves for execution to spare the townsfolk of Calais. King Edward of England demanded that they walk out wearing nooses around their necks, and carrying the keys of the city and castle.

Heartist's Journey
Fellow pilgrims at the Burghers of Calais statue in Calais.

No doubt there will be more days ahead where I or fellow walkers will feel a little ‘flat’. These are days to push on through, to remember that the next day promises new reinvigored energy and willingness.

As I sit here under a tree in our camping grounds in Guinnes after a short 14km day today I am reminded that tomorrow is another day. The cold I am nursing will no doubt some day soon pass, as will days of malaise.

The sculpture of the Burghers of Calais was reminder to keep things in perspective. To see one ‘off’ day as a drop in the ocean, a minor discomfort in the blip of our lives.

Heartist's Journey
Coming grounds in Guinnes – Day 8 of pilgrimage – 14km from Calais.

In the words of Buddha, ‘this too shall pass’. There are days where I will feel uninspired. Breatheless. Out of steam. We all have ‘these days’. Remembering Buddha’s words will hopefully get me through.


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  • Rachel Herzberg

    Once you have had some gorgeous French food, expect that feeling to disappear!
    Keep going David!

    • David Cuschieri

      Hi Rachel it is Day 10 – we are half way to Arras. Linch s in the shade earring lots of local bread, cheeses and other produce. I think I’m going to eat less if all this great food as I’m sure I’m piling on the kilos even though the walking is challenging. 🙂

  • Var Smallwood

    Well done – great to hear about the down days as well as the good days! Best wishes for tomorrow! Say hi to Justine 🙂

    • David Cuschieri

      Thank you Var for the words of encouragement. Didn’t want to depict a one dimensional view of the journey. Just like life we have our ups and downs. Today was great – every day we all are bonding closer as a tight knit team. I will send your love to Justin.