Walking Ibiza was founded in 2010 by Toby Clarke and even he would admit his surprise at how it has grown to be the most respected and well-known walking and hiking company on Ibiza. How does something like this come about you may wonder? A pretty ordinary English guy rocks up on Ibiza, starts walking and hey presto Walking Ibiza is born and is now in its 10th year! Well, not quite like that – so here’s the story!
You could say it all started in 1969 when his slightly alternative parents decided to come to Ibiza for a holiday with their young son Justin. They met up with some friends who were already living here with their two young sons and, inspired by the relaxed freedom of their lifestyle, they concluded that there could be no better environment to bring up a family.
Less than a year later they set off from England in a battered and rusty Bedford camper van to make that dream come true. Driving through France and Spain, eventually arriving in Ibiza in May 1970, by which time Toby’s mum was five months pregnant!
In the early hours of the morning on September 6th 1970 Toby Vicente Clarke, aka Mr Walking Ibiza, was born in a tiny apartment above a launderette in Santa Eulalia. (It won’t take a mathematician to work out that 2020 is also a milestone year for Toby personally!)
The next nine years saw the two brothers enjoy what can only be described as an idyllic childhood on Ibiza. Helped by an education in a hippy school and experiencing a unique freedom of spirit that has undoubtedly shaped their lives and remains close to their hearts to this day.
So much so, that Toby married his wife Belinda on the island in 2004 and after several months travelling the world they were called to settle here on Ibiza to live permanently.
Ten years ago, in 2010, Toby undertook his epic 12 day walk around the entire coastline of the island with his dog Cosmo, then just a puppy, and just €1 in his pocket, trusting that the universe would provide whatever they needed. Charting unmarked territory and surviving alone became a massive challenge with a few dark moments. But overriding all this by staying positive and learning to TRUST became a life changing and affirming experience. Understanding the beauty and nature of the island as never before and discovering much about himself, sowed the seed for Walking Ibiza.
“The hardest walk is walking alone but it’s also the walk that makes you the strongest”.
Starting back then with a casual walk every month with a handful of friends gradually grew in numbers and became every two weeks. Eventually word spread about this new activity and it developed into walking with Toby every Friday! Now, ten years later, with four different Community Walks every week, these remain at the core of his company with precisely the same ethos – to be accessible to everyone.
Times have changed and Walking Ibiza has expanded to meet the demands of the local population and a very different seasonal tourist industry. Now with 10 professionally trained and passionate walking and kayaking guides, the company can create and guide private bespoke walks, mountain biking and kayaking tours all over the island for people from all walks of life. Not forgetting those working behind the scenes who keep Toby grounded and sane!
At the heart of this success lies Toby’s deep passion and love for the island and a genuine desire to share his extensive knowledge with everyone who cares to join the walks. He never forgets how it all started and how blessed he is to live on Ibiza and do what he loves most!
Keep a lookout for the 10th Anniversary celebrations!
– by Sheila Falconer