Walking the Grebbe Line3 min read

I should’ve done this way earlier. This afternoon, after a couple of hours of online research and general uncertainty if I was making a mistake or not, I went out to start walking parts of the Grebbe Line (Grebbelinie, in Dutch) for the first time. An old defence line, based on inundation (flooding parts of the land to protect yourself from enemies) that’s still largely in tact. The idea started to form in my head when I cycled past a large part of it on my ride along the Valleikanaal a few weeks ago. Riding a bike is way too fast to focus on picture-taking though, so walking is a more suitable type of exercise when taking photos is your goal.

The plan is to walk more and more sections of the Grebbe Line over time, until I eventually have walked all 91 kilometers of it. Though we’ll see how far we’ll get with that goal. Until then, I’m enjoy photographing these sights of significance in my area and hope to be able to do little write ups on the experience as I progress. The combination of words and images really help me capture my memories and preserve the story for whatever cause that might prove useful in the future. I enjoy it so much that it makes me a little sad I only started doing this now.

I remember mountainbiking through the hills of Northern Mexico, hardly taking any photos and I sure didn’t write anything to capture my thoughts and experiences. A shame, the human memory fades slowly but indefinitely. I hope I’ll get better at this writing and photo thing and keep doing it for the rest of my life. The goal of my Monologues 365 project was never to write for a full year but rather to become a writer. The daily writing this year is merely to kickstart that habit. Something I think I’m succeeding in so far.

This also leads me to play with the idea of writing larger essays with a little more — research backed — background information. I don’t think I’m ready to do that type of work yet but perhaps after this year ends, I’ll have more room and writing dexterity to start thinking about a way to do this. A larger write up on something as historically significant — but also as largely forgotten by younger people around me — as the Grebbe Line makes sense in my head. I believe you need a good balance of things that are interesting enough but also not covered endless times before. This doesn’t mean I want to write history lessons but using a route like this as the connecting entity is, in my opinion, a very nice way to have some direction as you go along (much like Craig Mod writes about Pizza toast while walking the Kumano Kodo, for example).

The ultimate goal with this would be to have my story published by other outlets, though finding those will be a challenge in itself. A good place to start would be at a travel website like hatlastravel.com whom share images and stories from travel photographers so people can get inspiration for their next trip. They already use some of my images I shot in my hometown as well, so working with these kinds of publications doesn’t seem too far fetched for me. Eventually I’d love to write for publications like The New Yorker, The Atlantic or maybe keeping it a bit more local. I don’t know. Nor do I care that much right now. First, let’s just get these walks in, take those photos and write those stories.

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Hey, I’m Mitchel Lensink. I’m a photographer and writer from The Netherlands. Want to know more than that? You can find out on my about page.

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