Bonne Route!

On foot with tent and donkey in search of solidarity

It seems like a great adventurous idea: walking from Paris to Groningen in three months along the Martinuspad. A brand new route through Europe along the heritage of war and peace, and monuments named after the legendary Saint Martin. When Tjerk Ridder starts the 1,234 kilometer journey, only one pilgrim has preceded him.  

He does not walk the route alone, the donkey Lodewijk walks with him. Every day they have to find a place to sleep, food and drink for man and donkey and they are at the mercy of people along the way. Walking along untrodden paths, on spec, with minimal possessions and a mobile phone that keeps running out of power, turns out to be more exhausting than Tjerk previously estimated. What has he gotten himself into? On his way through France, Belgium and the Netherlands he encounters the elements, the pace of time, overwhelming solidarity, but above all himself. The road home is long, vulnerable and groundbreaking. 

1,700 years ago, the Roman soldier Martin of Tours, or Saint Martin, shared his cloak with a poor numb man at the gate of the French city of Amiens. The division of mantles symbolizes solidarity and has inspired many people in Europe for centuries. The new European cultural route 'the Martinuspad' is a route along the historical heritage of war and peace. 

Tjerk walked the more than 1,200 kilometer long route from Paris to Groningen together with his donkey Lodewijk. What does solidarity, togetherness and sharing mean today? Every day for three months looking for a place to stay, a shower, food and drink for his husband and donkey, Tjerk spontaneously met many people and himself. 

He experiences what it is like to walk, open and vulnerable, and to be dependent on others. He is confronted with time, distance and boundaries, but also with his desires and the urge for control and possession.

Documentary and vlogs Bonne Route!

Documentary maker Tobias Matthijsen followed Tjerk and Lodewijk along the way and made a two-part documentary report of the trip. Follow the journey closely and watch all the travel vlogs Tjerk made along the way the YouTube channel.    

'I'm on my way home,

between the cornfields.

Along the scars of that time,

I follow my own path.'

From the song Traces in an imperfect world

Discover the whole story with the book Bonne Route!

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