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I just read this beautifully written post about reentry after a Camino. Whilst I haven’t had major depression, I have been so frustrated at having to work and not being able to just go walk. My reentry into the hurly-burly of ‘normal’ life was a shock to my system and I was lucky to be able to spend a few weeks in a quiet place, albeit working. My senses are assaulted every time I’m in a busy place. This article describes so much of how I feel. Mourning the ease of soulful living.

Wondering Heart Wandering Sole

I have been back home for almost two months now. Two long, hard, melancholic months. Reentry has led me down a dark rabbit hole of depression. At first I thought my fatigue was due to jet lag, after all I had been in Italy for two months. Then I figured it was due to a strong pain in my hips that limited my physical activity, which meant I could not work; after no income for two months the lack of incoming funds was stressing me out. The physical pain inhibited me from taking long walks which was the healthy rhythm I had grown so accustomed to since last year’s pilgrimage. Walking was a large part of my mental health routine and without it I was swimming in unchartered waters. I was heartbroken from my situation. Depression saw the newly open cracks with somewhat jagged edges, and worked its way into…

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I’d very much like to share this blog with you all. Alan is, as you will note from his posts, in the midst of planning his Camino for 2018. I particularly loved this post and thought you might too, it’s so evocative. It’s thrilling to be reading about the start of another pilgrim’s journey and reading Alan’s blog reminds me of my preparations. Buen Camino

Alan walks to Santiago de Compostela

‘Lord, may this stone, a symbol of my efforts on the pilgrimage that I lay at the foot of the cross, weigh the balance in favour of my good deeds some day when the deeds of my life are judged. let it be so.’

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Whewww. 1 week till I arrive in Porto at the beginning of my Camino 2017 : 7 days : 168 hours : 10,080 minutes 😂😂😂 and just 10 days till I start walking the Portuguese Coastal Route from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. In fact by this time next week I will have landed in Porto…all being well.

inspirational quotes

Sometimes we have to stop being scared and just go for it. either is will work or it won’t. that’s life!

I can’t express just how excited and trepidatious I am feeling. My mind is swirling with thoughts like; have I got this, do I have that, what if I lose my meds, should I carry this or that or the next thing, will I have enough money? Will my shoes be suitable? Have I enough clothes? Do I have the right clothes? Do I have enough time? Can I find my way?

Blah blah blah and horrors…. what if I find I can’t walk 25kms+ for 11 days in a row!!! With a 7.5kg backpack on my shoulders. 😦 😦 😦 I’m under no illusions as to how heavy it can get after walking for 6-8 hours per day….even though I only walked for 3 days each journey last month. Southwark to Canterbury ‘in the footsteps of Chaucer‘ and Ramsgate to Canterbury ‘The Way of St Augustine‘.

So yes, all the fears, all the uncertainties and all the excitement of the experiences I’ll have, the issues I’ll face, the challenges ahead, the places and wondrous things I’m going to see are whirling like dervishes about inside; my mind is in turmoil as the date for lift off approaches and all I want to do is go home right now and I bloody can’t because I’m working 😢😢😢 I’m not sure if I should cry, scream or laugh… I’m trying to focus on the latter.

So OMG 7 days. This all seemed like such a brilliant idea 18 months ago. 7 years ago it seemed like even a better idea!!!! LOL urgh. I love travelling. I love going to new places. I love exploring. So why am I so conflicted about this trip? I’ve trained and trained and trained some more. The #walk1000miles challenge has been brilliant for encouragement!

walk 500 miles

Becoming a Proclaimer 🙂 – heading now towards 1000 miles

I’ve done dozens of practice walks, climbed hills and down dales, through fields and along rivers. I’ve practised with the poles…still can’t quite love them, but they are useful. Got proper shoes and breaking them in. Tested 4 different types of socks (found the best ones) and learned that it’s never a good idea to walk in wet socks 😕😕

packing for the camino de santiago

By the time I get back from my Camino, I will have walked 1000 miles..however these are not the socks I’ll be wearing. But those are the poles I’ll be taking.

I’ve experimented with the backpack… Which I think is really the crux of the matter. It’s bloody murder carrying that thing. Sigh. Oh well.

nordic walking poles and osprey backpack

my nordic walking poles and osprey backpack looking fairly benign….

I’ve researched and read dozens of sites and packing lists…what should I take? What will I need? Is this useful? Do I have the right shoes? Will I need a rain-jacket? I have to keep reminding myself I’m going to Portugal and Spain, not outer Mongolia!! I’ve already ditched 1.5kgs of stuff…..I guess my intentions to minimalize my life before I buy my motorhome are being put to the test. This is a good start.4 camino packingBesides all that, after my phone crashed in July, I’m a little fearful for it happening again, so I bought a 2nd phone as back-up (like I need the extra expense) and for the last few days I’ve been transposing all the VIP information from the Camino spreadsheet to my phone calendars and into a small notebook that I’m carrying in case my phone gets lost or I can’t get wi-fi – I’m an old fashioned gal, I still like paper and pen 😉

I took this image in March while on holiday in Torquay with my beloved daughter and it seems perfectly apt right now; I’m a ‘wreck’ 😂😂😂

camino de santiago porto to santiago

7 days to the start of my Camino 2017 – Porto to Santiago

I read a lovely quote in the notebook “The beginning is always today!” Mary Shelley. I guess that yes, today is certainly that; the beginning; of my countdown to Porto…this shit is getting serious now. I can’t understand why I’m so conflicted though. I think the seeds of my fear were sown back in 2016 when I stumbled upon a blog written as a memorial to all the people who have died on the Camino routes in the last 10 years or so. Prior to that, it had never entered my head that people actually died!!! while on Camino. I was horrified. I think that knowledge may have played a part in my cancelling the trip I was going to make in September last year. Since then my daughter has become engaged and due to be married in May 2018. ❤

Although I try to not think of it, I am fearful that I too may die while on Camino. It’s not like I’m ill or anything, but some folks were healthy enough when they started and had a heart-attack enroute, some were knocked over by traffic and one lady Denise Theim was murdered. Now as I say, although I’m not focusing on death, the niggling is there in my mind. I would hate to let my daughter down…I’m meant to be walking her down the aisle when she gets married and it would be heart-breaking if I wasn’t there for her special special day. I’ve asked her to promise me that she’ll ask her father to walk her down the aisle in the event I’m not there…but meanwhile I’m visualising me escorting her….actually I can’t wait for the day, she looks absolutely gorgeous in her dress 🙂

So back to the Camino. One thing that has been really good is reading other people’s blogs and facebook updates on the various pages I’m following. It’s good to know I’m not alone in my fears. So many women and men have posted at how fearful they feel in the days preceding their start, how nervous…many with exactly the same fears I have.

camino de santiago porto to santiago

Inspirational quotes

A couple of days ago I got a sudden burst of excitement and wanted to just go already…now! I posted this on instagram: “14 days to go and I’ll be on my Camino. I had a few options for this number but I quite liked the story in this. The unicorn reflects my dream to walk the Camino, now just about to come true, and the words ‘seeds’ reflects that I’ll be sowing new seeds (experiences) in the garden of my life.

my camino 2017 porto to santiago

sowing the seeds of my adventures

I wonder what will grow from this journey? New friends? New feelings? New emotions? New thoughts? New perceptions? I suspect it will be all the above. I do know for sure that new adventures await, new photos (of course), new places to be seen and new challenges await… My feet hurt just thinking about that! 😂😂😂 I hope you don’t mind that I’ll be posting my #countdown from now till I go. I’ve suddenly gone from trepidation to excitement and now I just want to GO ALREADY. In fact it brings tears to my eyes… OMG what an adventure. Although I’m sure that within 3 days I’ll be saying OMG I must be mad!!! What am I doing!!????”

portuguese coastal route mapacoastal

The Portuguese Coastal and Central routes

And yes, just 4 days later, that euphoric emotion has passed and I’m back to wavering between fear and excitement.

I love travelling. I’ve travelled all over the world entirely on my own. I have stumbled through the language barriers. I have enjoyed meeting people. I have loved being solo…..but for some reason, this trip feels different. I guess it’s probably because I’ll be moving constantly for 11 days; walking between 18.5 – 32 kms at different stages staying at a different hotel/hostel/alburgue each night bar 3. 184.2 kms is an awful lot more than 66.91 over 5 days and 109.01 split over 3 days – 2 weeks apart!!

I’ve planned and replanned my route, changed the distances between stages, reduced some days and increased others. Cut out two days of travelling and reduced the distance from 235kms to 184kms.

Somehow this looks awfully far…..

 

 

 

I’ve wanted to visit Portugal for ever such a long time and Porto has been my top destination. In Spain it’s Barcelona which I’ll be travelling to after my journey to Santiago. I’m so excited to be seeing those places….and yet the 11 days between Porto and Santiago are looming large in my head. I’ll also be adding to Project 101; 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites; Porto Historic Centre, Coimbra and Santiago. I’ll be visiting a number of cathedrals….I’ll count them once I’ve been, a few walled cities, and crossing a few rivers, and ancient bridges. And besides that…..I’ve no doubt that I’ll be visiting a LOT of churches 🙂

All that remains now are for the days to march on by and soon I shall be on ‘my way’. Porto to Santiago de Compostela along the Portuguese Coastal Route….

camino 2017

Camino de Santiago

Buen Camino….

Porto to Santiago de Compostela - my pilgrim's passport and the scallop shells

Porto to Santiago de Compostela – my pilgrim’s passport and the scallop shells

Other blogs I’ve written about the impending Camino

Camino 2016, my way

My Camino the journey so far

My Camino 2017

On the road and what to pack #Camino2017

Pilgrimage – the road to Santiago

The Spirit of the Camino

Walking the Camino and lessons learned

Harrassment on the Camino

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This is so absolutely spot on that its terrifying. ALL of this is exactly the same as what I’ve experienced all my life…and I fcking hate it. It’s sickening. I know it doesn’t apply to every boy or man but it does come from the large majority. Women are looked at as worthless, and if you don’t just ‘suck it up’ (and i use that term deliberately) you as the girl/woman are at fault.

The Belle Jar

1.

I am six. My babysitter’s son, who is five but a whole head taller than me, likes to show me his penis. He does it when his mother isn’t looking. One time when I tell him not to, he holds me down and puts penis on my arm. I bite his shoulder, hard. He starts crying, pulls up his pants and runs upstairs to tell his mother that I bit him. I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone about the penis part, so they all just think I bit him for no reason.

I get in trouble first at the babysitter’s house, then later at home.

The next time the babysitter’s son tries to show me his penis, I don’t fight back because I don’t want to get in trouble.

One day I tell the babysitter what her son does, she tells me that he’s just a little boy, he doesn’t know…

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Since I booked My Camino flight a couple of months ago I have read and am still reading as many Camino blogs as possible. I’m a great ‘keeper of lists’ and these blogs are kinda like my lists, and I’m learning so much. Just this morning I found Brett’s blog on my wordpress feed and clicking from one to another of his posts I came across this one. It resonated particularly due to the encounter he had with a fellow pilgrim, which you can read about in this article. It was an eye-opening read due to my childhood encounters with alcohol and how it can affect people and adversely change their personalities. I’m learning so much and I haven’t even started yet…or have I?

Pilgrim Shelter

This story is the first of a continuing series about my adventures on the Camino de Santiago. You can read an overview of my time on the Camino here.


There is plenty to look at as one walks the Camino de Santiago. A large part of the beauty of the Camino is its diversity. Forests. Plains. Cities. Mountains. Tiny villages. Vineyards. Sunflower fields.

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Quotes I like…

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I was reading an article on facebook recently about the next mass extinction of species on planet earth. I did some further research and found these articles:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/radical-conservation/2015/oct/20/the-four-horsemen-of-the-sixth-mass-extinction

“It was behaviorally modern humans, with their ultrasocial behaviors and complex societies that spread across the Earth, became increasingly larger scale societies, ultimately gaining the capacity to transform the entire Earth. Technology is not the driver of Earth system change – social change is the cause of this.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/01/extinct-animals-could-lose-forever-2017/

“Animal populations plummeted by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67 per cent over the next three years.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/critical-10-species-at-risk-climate-change-endangered-world

“From penguins in Antarctica, to butterflies in Spain, and rodents and coral in the Great Barrier Reef, as the world warms these species are disappearing”.

I believe it’ll not change unless humans have a massive wake up call. The reality is that there are too many people on the planet with no signs of slowing down; as of 2013 7.125 billion. There are millions of people struggling to survive, people for whom a few dollars make all the difference between going hungry or feeding their families, so when someone comes along and offers them money to kill or capture wild animals….

There are the people living in abject poverty who are only looking for the next meal and will do anything to get money to feed their families….they don’t care if the species will become extinct.

And then there’s the mid-range population with their demands for all the comforts and luxuries of consumerism…..the throw away group who buy discard buy discard buy discard without any regard for the planet and what their junk is doing to the space where animal/insect/amphibian/plant species depend on to survive.

Then we have the super rich who are either wild-life hunters or believe that the bones or skin or testicles or heart or whatever is good mojo for enhanced sexual virility or just to show off that they have ‘enough’ money to get whatever they want.

Then we have #45 who is shutting down the EPA and opening up previously protected land for his wealthy greedy buddies to drill for oil or gas or whatever….which we use on a daily basis in our lives of consumerism. The only thing that will save this planet is the mass extinction of the human race.

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