When preparing for a Tour du Mont Blanc (170+ km), most people buy a certain tour book, which splits the route across 11 days. Since this very book has pretty much monopolised the niche market of TMB walking guides, everyone follows the same itinerary around Mont Blanc and you get to see the same people every day for 2 weeks.
When I did my TMB, there was this Chinese guy doing that same Great Pilgrimage of the Book as everyone else. I only noticed him because he was the first one to leave our basic accomodations at sunrise and the last one to arrive every evening. This looked hardly surprising as he was a rather shortish skinny fella and, out of all the people I met in those 2 weeks, he was carrying by far the biggest backpack.
I came across him again on day 5. He was taking a break, not too far from the point we all set off that day, with his monstruos luggage resting on the path in front of him. I had to lift it out of my way and it weighted in the range of 25-30 kilos, about twice as much as I was carrying. The guy was already totally soaking wet with sweat and, as I dragged his posessions to the side of the passage, he asked me if we still had far to go on that day. "Yes, it's the longest AND the toughest day of the route," I said, feeling rather sorry about the little bloke.
"Oh," he said, "that's f... f..." He was clearly stuck for word. "You mean freaking far, right?" I asked in my typical friendly British manner. In Britain we hate it when people suddenly stop talking, silence is what trouble sounds like there.
"No, it's FANTASTIC!" My face was probably giving away my disbelief, because he then said, carefully managing the few English words that he had at his disposal:
"I had big problem at home, big grief. My teacher told me: "Take bag the size of your problem and go do big road, do Tour de Mont Blanc. If you walk long enough, you will find your peace." He paused again and gave me the dreamiest smile I've ever seen. "And I find it here, on this road! Every day!"
He got back on his feet and I mounted his ridiculous rucksack on his shoulders. "I'll see you with an empty one next time," I said to his back. He gave me a thumbs up.