Meet M.D.P Peters who walked St. Olavsleden in 2016

A boy who was born in a girl’s body

I am a 22-year-old boy from the Netherlands. At this moment I have a gap year in which I have time for my hobbies: painting, writing, theatre and making music. In addition, I use this time for my transition. Because I was born in the body of a girl.

Two years ago, when I was at the start of my transition, I decided to walk the St. Olav Path. This choice was actually quite impulsive: I was looking for a reasonably cheap holiday in which I had a lot of freedom to do what I wanted and I could enjoy nature. In addition I wanted to use the trip in the process of choosing a new name. During my journey I wanted to introduce myself to different people, using different names – which I did. In this way I could determine which name best suited me.

Because Sweden and Norway are countries where you can camp anywhere, the choice for the route was made quickly. Before I started walking the route I did not think it would have such an impact on me.

Pretty soon after I started walking, the suffering started. I had not sufficiently broken in my shoes – which was pretty naïve – so I had my first blister after an hour’s walk. My overweight backpack did not help either. In spite of the pain, I loved the walking, and I enjoyed the small things intensely. Nature was beautiful and I always came to places where I met special people. Everyone along the route was extremely hospitable – both the people of the accommodations and the local population. While walking the route I had an insight into the lives and culture of many people and learned a lot from them. I also learned a lot about myself.

Now, almost two years after walking the route, I often think back to the experiences I gained. I often compare the route with my transition; which is a long and heavy process. Yet I try to enjoy it, because I know that my transition will end. And unlike the walking of the St. Olav Path, I do not intend to do my transition a second time.

M. D. P. Peters