Get The Holy Trail as early bird + walk yourself in The Holy Hike + Botrange Base Camp revisited

Project visual THE CHALLENGE
End date
Out of €5,000
107 %




What if Rik would hike with young offenders of Seuil or Alba on the Camino de Santiago to discover what todays youth really thinks of that walking therapy stuff?


What if Rik was to visit the Swiss Die Nacktwanderer photographer Roshan? Is via ferrata as exciting if you do it naked?


What if Rik was to meet Joanna Rohrback and tried her Prancercise, a bizar walking-fitness method, in order to prepare himself for the Belgian Championship Speedwalking or the 100 km Dodentocht of Bornem? 




After The Holy Trail (publication in May 2018), Hitchhiking Everest-writer Rik Merchie is currently pre-producing The Holy Hike as a second book in The Challenge-series of Lannoo Publishers (Belgium).



The Challenge-series is available in a Dutch and English edition. 


We would like to ask KissBankers to help us cover the unusual high production and travel costs of this second book, in return for interesting early bird & package deal promotions of both The Challenge-books and the opportunity to be a literal part of the story.


Special sponsorship deals and partnerships for corporate companies and outdoor industry. 




For The Holy Hike writer Rik presents a list of 12 mythical hikes around the world, with 12 hikers sharing their story & tips. No need to travel to interview these 12 hikers on their personal experiences. Thank you, Skype.


As in The Holy Trail, Rik mixes these 12 The Holy Hike-interviews up with 12 separate long reads with facts & gags, human interest and own experiences. As the long reads of The Holy Trail are written from a retrospective ‘coming of age’ point of view, he can’t repeat this trick for a second book in the same series. Therefore, he wants to hit the road again. Just like the good old days of Hitchhiking Everest. In his own playful way, including by while hiking interviewing  interesting locals, experts and famous creatives with a heart for long-distance hiking, walking therapy and rewilding. The quest is to take a different and playful look at how we usually perceive walking, hiking and the outdoors.




1. Choose a theme: rewilding, long-distance hiking, walking therapy, nomadism, survival, pelgrimage, man versus nature, ancient walking paths, pastoralism, outdoor industry, disconnection & reconnection, bushcraft…


2. Choose a creative expert who loves walking/hiking: writer, painter, musician, philosopher, comedian, dancer, director, poet, photographer,…


3. Select a route to be walked/hiked with the creative expert of choice.


4. Spice it up with some playfulness, rock-'n-roll or Belgian surrealism.


5. Walk the walk, talk the talk & film the film. Shake it firmly.


6. Write a long read about the experience. Edit the footage.


7. Repeat these 6 steps 12 times.


8. Publish it at Lannoo Publishers  in Dutch & English by winter 2018.




Travel writer & long-distance hiker Sylvain Tesson (FR), The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei (JP), Berlin-Moskau. Eine Reise zu Fuss writer Wolfgang Büscher (DE), The voluntary route markers of the “Grande Route” long-distance hiking paths (EU), 73 years old modern nomad Manolo from hiking docu Donkeyote (SP), Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail writer Cheryl Strayed (US), A philosophy of Walking writer and philosopher Frédéric Gros (FR), Blind hiking guide & founder NGO ARK Armenia Armen Kazaryan (AM), Who Stole My Spear writer & docu-maker Tim Samuels (UK), My Walking is My Dancing project of dance companies Rosas / P.A.R.T.S. (BE), Internet comedian & life coach JP Sears (AU), Being a Beast writer Charles Foster (UK), Die Nacktwanderer photographer Roshan Adhihetty (CH), Co-founder (walking therapy for young offenders), writer & long-distance hiker Bernard Ollivier (FR), Over The Top: a journey to the highest point of every European country (BE), The Human Mountain Goat writer & designer Thomas Thwaites (UK), Silence In The Age Of Noise writer & explorer Erling Kagge (NO), Tomas 'Henry Thoreau - Walden' De Gregorio (BE), The North Face endurance athlete & writer Lizzy Hawker (UK/NP), The Old Ways & The Wild Places writer Robert Macfarlane (UK), Founder & Te voet naar Jeruzalem writer Sebastien De Fooz (BE), Into the Wild & Into Thin Air writer, journalist & alpinist Jon Krakauer (US), Photographer Jacqui Kenny aka The Agoraphobic Traveller (UK), Pilgrims of the Mount Kailash Kora, Tibets most sacred mountain (CN), NGO Border Angels (harm reduction through water drops for migrants) (US), Explorer & rewilding coach Bert Poffé (BE), Andy Cairns, walking enthousiast & frontman of Therapy? (UK), NGO Alba (time-out hiking project for youngsters in difficulty) (BE), A walk around the World writer & rewilding expert Fyona Campbell (UK), Travel writer & British MP Rory Stewart (UK), Participants of the Belgian Championship Racewalking (BE), Prancercise, a bizar walking-fitness method created by Joanna Rohrback (US), Twee ezels writer & photographer Michiel Hendryckx (BE),...


*Disclaimer: this is a non-exhaustive wishlist. Final selection depends on travel costs, willingness and availability of interviewees during spring 2018.




What if Rik mixed contemporary theory & scientific research on walking therapy as counceling with a traditional barefoot pelgrimage to the sacred hilltop of Croagh Patrick in Ireland? Who else than walking enthousiast and leadsinger of the Irish rock band Therapy? Andy Cairns as a local guide for Rik?


What if Rik took Tomas 'Henry Thoreau - Walden' De Gregorio on a snowshoe hike in the French Alps, in order to dig a snow cave high up in the mountains to observe what silence really means. Maybe the book Silence In The Age Of Noise of Norwegian writer & explorer Erling Kagge will give them a few insights? 


What if  Rik was to participate in the My Walking is My Dancing-project of dance companies Rosas/P.A.R.T.S. with explorer and rewilding coach Bert Poffé to find out where his skills meet with choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker?


What if writer Cheryl Strayed en Rik did community service at the Mexican-American border with the NGO Border Angels and talked with incoming migrants and eachother about suffering, fatigue and fear while walking long distances?


What if Rik hooked "Great Himalaya Trails" walker/runner & writer Lizzy Hawker up with some old, grumpy route markers of the “Grande Route”-paths on the GR 5 in the Swiss Alps?





Cover: hardback                                                                                             

Size:  260 x 200 mm

Pages: +/- 240 p.                                                                                             

Print: 4 colors                                                                                                  

Edition: 1500 in Dutch, 2000 in English (translated by native speaker) 

E-book: available in Dutch and English

Illustrations: + 100 full color pictures                                                     

Distribution: worldwide shipping   

Publication date: The Holy Trail on 8.05.2018 / The Holy Hike in winter 2018

Publisher: Lannoo Publishers (Belgium) 

Price: €29,90


Everybody who helps crowdfunding this project for €45 or more, will find his full name printed in The Holy Hike




*The Holy Hike will use the same format as The Holy Trail*



12 human interest INTERVIEWS  with 12 participants of 12 mythical trail races. Our grand cru selection with +100 FULL COLOR PICS, for absolute beginners to badass die-hards. From 28 km to 300 km, from D+ 2000 to D+ 26 500: 


Tromsø Skyrace, El Cruce Columbia, Barkley Marathons, The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail, Leadville Trail 100 Run, Zegama-Aizkorri, Salomon Cappadocia Ultra-Trail, Tarawera Ultramarathon, Vibram Hong Kong 100 Ultra Trail Race, Ultra-Trail Cape Town, Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (PTL) and Mustang Mountain Trail Race. 


20 LONG READS full of trail running facts, gags & training advices. A bildungsroman-road story about why we run those trails. Or at least try. A must-read for curious athletes, mountain lovers, music aficionados and bar hangers. 


Read one of the long reads (in Dutch) here.


11 full color PHOTO SPREADS with quotes of pro trail runners on: 


Ultra Tour Monte Rosa, Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run, Tor des Géants, Marathon du Mont-Blanc, Western States Endurance Run, Everest Trail Race, Matterhorn Ultraks, Festival des Templiers, Marathon des Sables, Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and The Otter African Trail Run. 


A TRAIL RUNNING FOR DUMMIES-chapter to get you started. 


An overview of the most interesting BOOKS, FILMS, BLOGS and VLOGS on trail running. 



Allocation of funds


Lannoo Publishers provides €2000 for the first basic travel costs and five audio-visual teasers for social media (5 x 2 minutes) by Riks everlong partners in crime and production company Ducktape. Their magnum opus? The World’s Smallest Grande Armée, a feature documentary about their 1000 km hike from Moscou to Vilnius as a re-enactment of  Napoleon’s Russian winter campaign. Thus, the perfect audiovisual partners for The Holy Hike!



The €2000€ of Lannoo Publishers is great for a kickstart, but unfortunately not enough to go full monty.


Lannoo Publishers already pays Riks a standard freelance writer's fee. Needless to say a book publisher is not a bank with unlimited funds. Unfortunately, Rik is not a 100% professional cameraman, sound mixer or editor. That makes the services of Ducktape on some of The Holy Hike-journeys designated, although a camera man-sound mixer is an extra mouth to feed and another transport ticket to pay. Last but not least, post-production editing drains a budget faster than most people think.


We realized that the production and travel costs of this project are just too high to be carried by Lannoo Publishers alone. That’s why we chose crowdfunding by KissKissBankBank to put this cutting edge book-project on the rails for upcoming spring.


Make this happen, because we want to walk that extra mile for you.




Crowdfunding allows the public to financially, yet collectively, sustain an appealing idea or project. KissKissBankBank is a online platform that helps entrepreneurs, creatives, artists, filmmakers, journalists, etc. to raise funds to accomplish their ideas and projects by reaching out to a possible audience, who can choose the ideas and projects that will shape the future, and to do so beyond mainstream trends.


Crowdfunding is not charity. It’s an investment with a relevant return.




For €60 or more you get, besides a signed copy of The Holy Trail or The Holy Hike with a message of choice (240 pages, + 100 pictures, Dutch & English version, €29,90) and your name in the acknowledgment of The Holy Hike, an exclusive invitation (2 persons) for a two day hike with Rik and the Ducktape-crew in the Belgian High Fens on 2-3 June 2018.


This ‘€60 or more KissBankers only’-event will be used as content for the final long read of The Holy Hike. Walk yourself in the story! Who knows which creative storytellers and (famous) hiking/walking-experts Rik brings along to tell some of their adventures at the overnight campfire? For your interest: Rik co-organized with friends Botrange Base Camp, a grassroots campfire festival (2012) in the High Fens for about 150 people.


So, HELL YEAH, we know what we’re doing.


More information will be revealed exclusively to the KissBankers when this campaign is succesfully finished.




We need at least the target of €5000 (minus the the cost of the KissBankers rewards) to cover the most basic travel costs of 12 micro-adventures (to be selected from the list below) and to film more than 5 x 2 minutes. In return for your support, we worked out some interesting and exclusive early birds and package deal promotions for both The Holy Trail and The Holy Hike books.


With the €5000-target we’ll probably have to stick to Belgium, it’s neighbouring countries and some European countries.


We would be more than happy, but we want to reach for the stars.


If we collect more than the target of €5000, we can dig deeper and realize the full potential of this project. Extra funding means more crazy and surreal storytelling, more days on the road, more famous experts, more exotic locations and extra footage to think of more than teasers alone.


€7500 means Europe.

€10 000 means Europe + 1 or 2 other continent(s).

€12 500 means Europe + certainly 2 other continents.


You get it.


KissKissBankBank works in Europe with Ingenico Payment Solution, a 100% safe electronic payment service that accepts Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Bancontact / Mister Cash, iDEAL, Giropay and Sofort.


This campaign must reach at least 100% of the target, in order to be granted the KissBankers' contributions This is the 'All or Nothing' rule. If the target is not reached, the KissBankers will be entirely and immediately reimbursed – no need for you to do anything for that procedure.


If the target (or more) is reached, KissKissBankBank keeps 5% for its services and online mentorship. The banks charges 3% for transaction costs.




Wouter Deboot, human interest journalist at Iedereen Beroemd (BE)


Geertrui Coppens, Zie Ze Doen producer (BE)




"Ode to the road" (The Kathmandu Post)


"A mental and physical Death March" (radiostation Studio Brussel)


"A hitchhiking handbook? A diary? A new Kerouac? A social-historic study? A contagious boys' book? Rik mixes ingredients from different genres into his own recipe." ( - ****)


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