Christoph Rehage's birthday present to himself in November 2007 was to go for a long walk. The plan was to walk from Beijing, China — where Rehage was a student — to his home in Bad Nenndorf, Germany. An amazing proposition, when you consider the vastness of China.
Along the way, he photographed himself. We've all seen those "picture a day" time-lapse videos. But the five-minute version of Rehage's epic walkabout, eventually covering over 4,000 kilometers, is in a league of its own.
We see a young, clean shaven man being changed by his adventure. There's obvious physical hardship: snow and the blazing sands of the Gobi desert, long, empty highways, and the pain of endless plodding. His hair and beard grow wild. People come and go; places spin behind him. Rehage finds love — and maybe heartbreak, too. With such a whirl of images and Rehage's website currently mute, the narrative is a little mysterious. It's also quite moving.
After a year, Rehage decided to stop walking and return to school. There are additional images of his journey on Trendhunter, and we've located some video outtakes for you at YouTube:
- Spray painting graffiti at Xinjiang
- The routine of waking and preparing to walk for the day
- Riding a steam-powered train
- Victory dances at 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000 kilometers
- Finally, there's Rehage's page at Vimeo.