My name is Anders Stävhag and is for many now both nationally and internationally known as the pilgrim and Adventurer from Jämtland in the north of Sweden. I’m a father of two grown up sons and earlier I worked at MidSweden University as a lecturer but today I´m CEO at Bonum Kompetens, a competence building company. My adventures has taken me up on high peaks, down in deep water and along pilgrimages around the world and some of these have I done as the first Swede but also first in the world and now I´m honored to been elected as a member of The Explorers Club.
It all started when I was invited to travel to Santiago de Compostela five years ago that attracted the hiker in me. Somewhere along the 800 km long hike along the Jacob’s way to Santiago de Compostela something happened. After that I call myself a pilgrim. Adventurer and Pilgrim. When I started walking, I was mostly an adventurer. But I have been more and more to the spiritual side. When I wandered Canterbury Trail to Rome so I searched for example the answer to a personal question. I had a great job offer, a top service job but along the way, I came to the conclusion that the job was extraordinary and I should do a good job but I realize it was not me, so when I came back home I’d said thanks but no thanks.
As a pilgrim you talk a lot about the outer and the inner journey as a wanderer goes through. The outer journey is all about the places and the nature you see, the people you meet . The interior is about the reflections that various meetings and impressions develop. But there is no simple walking even if lot a people think that. I have walked in climates between +42C down to -36C with different physical blister etc but I have been lucky because they have always healed.
Every step is an adventure in itself. When I joined Paulus road to Jerusalem , I was the second person who walked the trail in modern times , it’s just an Italian who has walked the trail before me, but there was a lot of strange and faulty information from him so I needed to do the trail again as the first. I walked the 470 km long trail all alone of which 100 km was in the desert, the trek became the book “The pilgrims footsteps” which soon will be translated into English. Before that walk I had a map tacked to the wall in a year and a half before I came off because it was not like walking in Spain where everything in services etc exist . I studied and prepared myself like. But a pilgrim arrives. After the goal. Years of planning and the actual hike investments in tired feet, blisters, long days, hunger and thirst , doubt and faith has ended.
Once I have reached the end I feel joy and sorrow. Joy to have reached the goal , no more blood, sweat and tears. While one feels sadness that it’s over. When I arrived to the St Peters church in Tel Aviv after Jerusalem or when I arrived to Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim I was very devout, oh, I’m here! It’s over. But people can probably recognize themselves in it. It’s like when you put a puzzle of 3,000 pieces, when the last bit has been added you can think ” it was a beautiful picture, but now the puzzle is over. But after some time you are on your way for a new puzzle, like adventurers or pilgrims are on their way to next adventure or pilgrim walk.
I would like my next journey to be me doing Highpointing Sweden (the highest peak in every county) with my two sons, we have done 19 of 25 so far, and then I would like to walk the St.Olavs trail again and write a book about it. But otherwise I´m open for everything that’s sounds funny and crazy…I think that’s the explorer inside me talking!
Anders Stävhag is a CEO and there is no religious vocation in his footsteps , although he usually says that the pilgrim prays with the feet. However, he found wandering in a rare time for reflection. He is a new member of Explorers Club. Read more about his walks at www.stavhag.com