This is the space where I jot down a few thoughts and feelings about what I’m learning as I step into this challenge. My whole life is not here (just a snippet) but I do find many of the lessons are transferable. It’s a trail of progress, in the form of stream of consciousness rambles. One of my stories. It’s a little diary like, notes for the final chapter of a journey – our final chapter away from home. A book I’m writing (will it have a cover or is it just a life chapter, who knows?). My way home. My voice.
13 – 4 – 2018
I’m on the way!
I’ll update this for those of you who have been following this pre-camino Camino.
Once I start on the trail then it’ll switch over to blog posts! I’ll keep these daily life musing for my journal. Although I’m sure they’ll creep into my posts. ;)
Due to the train strikes in France I’ve had to re-route my journey. Rather than a night in a Paris with my favourite Parisian boys from the Marais I’m getting off my train in Brussels for a solo night! I’ll probably start my journal and take a video of the Manikin Piss for my boys at home to ‘piss’ themselves.
I had a dentist appointment this am and during my clean an old filling popped out. Good timing really – better in a dentist chair than on the Camino!
Other than that it was an easy morning time for one last bath – that felt rather luxurious. I left the house with clean sheets and floors and why happens from here while I’m away I’m not worried!
I know I’m supposed to be nervous or something but I’m really just feeling like this is normal! That’s a good thing right. A big adventure feeling like it’s a normal part of life.
My friend asked me last night if supportive amazing husband and I were having a romantic dinner and wine. I said we’d had a romantic unpack my backpack and double check the gear day! I realised then how that was my kind of romance – to have a man who completely supports me in my every day and this wild need to adventure!
Cheers to that man (he doesn’t read here) but what a guy. At the last minute filling my phone with playlists and apps to upload my watch and travel. Totally and capably becoming the mum and dad. Stepping in, sorting the stuff I just ignore and never once questioning my need to step out to do this.
I’m glad he’s the role model for my boys!
This 17,000 word stream of consciousness update page is due to end.
I haven’t re-read this page I don’t even look at the previous entries so one day I look forward to coming back here.
Thank you to those of you who have popped in and come along on this journey towards the camino with me here.
I hope it reflects all the emotions that I’ve felt in the past 7 months! I hope it shows that I am not superwoman for attempting a camino.
I am a woman with a deep desire to keep my adventourus spirit alive and a commitment to not living without fight!
Fight for what is right and fight for what makes us our soul sing.
We all have challenges to overcome, some by choice some not by choice but changing what needs changing, by trying new things, by finding new perspectives, by looking in the mirror we have more power than we realise.
This year my confidence in the universe was smashed a little. As someone who make decisions with good intentions a tricky situation evolved that stole little of my precious optimism (faith) that I hold so dear.
I perhaps allowed it to take from me. It has taught me some lessons.
This camino comes at the perfect time for me to rebuilt that trust.
Do you want to know something unreal?
Ha ha I’ll tell you anyhow … there are 3 people walking the camino that I have met via this journey online over the past few years. Randomly all walking at the same time as fate would have it.
I do believe that things happen when they are meant to. I believe harder that we meed to be open to see what it happening for us, what doors have a little light shining in the cracks inviting us to put our toes in.
My faith and confidence may have been rocked a little these past few months but it is still there … I’m heading out on a trail that I know has wonder waiting for me.
I have now doubt what I need will be provided for me….just as every new adventure whether it’s in the kitchen, in the garden, in writing words or on the trail always does.
It’s a simplicity thing.
It’s Camino week!
London was the perfect family break. The spring HAS sprung and I’m ready.
But I’m going.
I have to.
Committed to One Girl.
It kept me going. When the going got tough this year. Walking for One Girl was an anchor.
I am the committed type.
Not always to myself.
I need to work on that.
On the Camino.
Work out why I’m scared to commit myself to my own accountability. Is it a discipline thing? A fear thing? A motivation thing? I think deep down it’s my inherent inability to stick with routine for long periods of time.
And why am I eating like I’ll never eat again these last few weeks (and not always good food)? Perhaps I’m hiding my nerves in calories.
I knew they would come.
The questions to walk with.
Here we are. It’s April – Camino month!
And soon it will be Camino week.
I haven’t put a great deal of pressure on this long walk of mine.
My expectations – well I don’t have any.
With just over a week to go I do have a new feeling about this walk … I need it.
I’ve needed it to be a way to do some good in the world.
I’ve needed it as a way to make a positive contribution to a world that can be feel a little overwhelmingly noisy with rules and expectations.
I’ve needed it to move forward, to lay some foundations and to help me call some of my own crap and perhaps wind back some areas to focus on new ones.
Funny place I’m in – reflecting on this Camino towards the Camino. As I write this little update I realise there’s lots to unpack there.
I’m a strong character but I’ve had to push myself out of my zone a little – to speak and have a more vulnerable voice. I’ve withstood the shakiness though. New armour (the good kind, the honest kind) has been build. Life can throw us situations that need armour doesn’t it.
My goal was to raise enough money to educate 10 girls … so far Kimmi (my team mate in women who hike) and I have secured an education for 11 girls!
Yes a whopping 11 girls. The generosity and kindness of people has been overwhelming. Not only in fundraising but also support – that’s huge. None of us can get by without support. It’s nice to have a tribe of people who have time to be kind.
Ok so back to the need … I need to walk, to find what’s out there on that trail for me. To get to the other end of this transition my life is in. As a mother without any babies at home and budding teenagers. As a midwife who can no longer practice because we chose to move overseas. As a woman who is changing, aging – finding what her next decade is about.
Stepping back into the classroom after 13 or so years! Man the landscape has changed tech wise. It was an interesting day observing how young people use tech in the classroom. Also listening to the conversations they have. The world changes but teenagers don’t. It reminds me that fundamentally, universally we’re all thinking and worrying about the same things.
The challenge is always in how we navigate the worries (fears) to move past them. It is in moving past those hurdles, the boundaries we set ourselves that we really begin to find our stride – only to hit new hurdles (of course) there’s no easy ride.
I have not been able to predict what this this year would bring, in a way I’ve flown by the seat of my pants with no great plan. What has come of that? Well I’m changing some of my opinions on and how I do things. I have a feeling there’s a lot more to come.
The open road.
24 – 3 – 2018
My head is now firmly heading towards the Camino. I can smell it. The fresh air, the quiet, the freedom. It’s a taste that I find non-negotiable in my life. It feels like home to me … to be walking into the unknown.
I have spent a lot of my life wandering new paths, towards an unknown – always taking the best of the past with me. We’ve always wandered off as we please, when the timing says ‘let’s go’. Fortunately I married an enabler of dreams and a man who also relishes in change and growth (a bit more practical than me thankfully ;-). He has never held me back or stomped on my soul and for that I am who I am and forever grateful we chose each other.
I haven’t always though much about it this kind of nomadic life. It’s just how it’s worked for us. Perhaps it is an age thing to start to consider it now. Perhaps it’s because settling on one path is the ‘norm’ for people in my position seems at odd with others and questions are asked. Quite possibly it has something to do with the fact that I have 4 kids now so we need to consider more than just the two of us.
I do think it just is what it is and maybe it’s time to just accept that we’ll always hitch our ride with the wind.
Maybe there doesn’t need to be any in depth analysis or understanding. If it works it works – that’s enough.
I think the spring heralds a time to step out of winter reflection and hibernation and get on with the business of newness and freshening life up!
I’m not sure I want this Camino to be about reflection – I know it is a time for that for many people. But I want to simply soak it it. The people, the landscape … the experience.
Dear Spring, I’m ready for you.
Dear Camino, you too.
22 – 3 – 2018
So it begins – the countdown.
My gear is out … ready for packing.
The shopping list for toiletries is written. This is where the weight needs the most consideration ;).
I’m not sure if I’m excited or nervous so I’m kind of neutral which I guess is balanced. Ok maybe erring to nervous as I’m kind of sneak (comfort) eating chocolate.
Last minute jobs need to be done. A stash of presents for parties, bills paid, frozen muffins to make life simpler for my amazing and supportive husband (because kids).
It’s a weird feeling. It feels a bit like the time I was packing my pack to go backpacking in my 20s – the great unknown. Except now I’m a married and a mum with 4 kids but deep down still the same adventure loving woman.
Of course it’s also the week where life is turning. All the letting go, surrendering, accepting from previous weeks brings newness. A few days teaching work next week, new interesting friends to walk and share conversations with, a new interest to explore a local farm with a CSA program and there’s a place for me to volunteer.
The slow build of anticipation.
The slow build of a new life.
The truth of the equinox.
20 – 3 – 2018
For me settling into an inward state is only a temporary place to sit.
Just long enough to know when it’s better to look outward rather than inward. When the same story is playing over in your mind and conversations, it is time to look for the next ajar door or hear the kind words that spontaneously land in your morning from an unplanned conversation.
What little threads are waiting to be connected?
Where are those inward thoughts better sent outward – directed into action?
16 – 3 – 2018
My dear friend in PR is wanting me to allow him to use his radio contacts but I can’t. I have to tell him no. I know we have to step out of our comfort zones sometimes and step up … but I’m really not ready for that kind of step up! I can’t even let him put the feelers out.
I am ready to lunge into actively taking this challenge public though. Today I wrote an email to everyone in my contacts. Ok, not my dentist. Oh wait I probably could email my dentist, I have spent a small fortune there over the years ;)
Asking for help for a cause you believe in is actually not that hard. People are always free to send my email into the trash right. Who knows what comes from sharing your story within your network. Maybe they will forward to their network. The people who know you are often your best champions. That’s a little like my ‘start where you are’ mantra isn’t it.
When I first came out on Instagram. Yes I call it a coming out because I didn’t hit social media till I was 40 – I was far too shy. But I needed a tribe and a voice so I did. There was one mum at our school in Sydney that I was nervous about, well all the mums really. I hid myself from those around me and my online life because I was sharing quite vulnerably. I nearly died when she followed me, I don’t know why but stupidly I was terrified she would judge me.
As it turned out this particular mum was the one who understood my struggles with modern day consumerism and my inner greenie the most. She has been such a cheerleader for me. I am honestly stronger because of her support. It was quite a shifting moment for me to realise how easily I could have held myself back because of the fear of judgement. It happened with a second mum too – again she is my second biggest cheerleader from that period in my life.
We never really know what others think and mostly we imagine it wrong. Man why are we even imagining at all? Freedom 101 – release yourself from caring about what others think. Obvs. don’t use that as an excuse to be a raving hustling maniac, authenticity still matters. But you know if you’re out there trying to change it up, asking a few questions about our society and looking for a life that feels like a better fit – don’t be scared.
Back to my dilemma – going on Radio is still way too much for me. Seriously I wouldn’t sleep the night before or the one after. I tried a podcast once as I realised I can’t do on the spot, I totally waffle (it’s probably similar to my writing style) most of my thoughts are clear in my head but jumble in the way out. I do acknowledge I do need to put myself out there a little more. Today I started. So if your one the 100 people who received an email from me and found yourself here; G’day! And welcome to the Camino journey we’re on.
I guess we are in phase three for those of you who have been around for a while – a-a-a-actively knees shaking fundraising.
Stick around if you find something that fits but there is never any pressure here. Kindness and support are super important to me – they keep me motivated and sturdy enough to do the scary stuff ;)
Now I am kinda hiding my story from my new community, a little less than before … but I need to step into that right?
Find your own way.
Set your own limits.
It is ok to take your time.
10 – 3- 2018
What is happening here? I think there may be a bit of butterfly coming out of a cocoon kind of moment.
Not fully because there is still that weight that I keep alluding to that hasn’t shifted out of our lives – but sometimes bad situations tend to eat themselves. It just takes time and patience.
But back to the butterfly – I’m not talking ready to fly and feeling light and free. But in writing and reflecting on Ireland today I am finding words again. Longhand words have been alluding me in the past months.
Leave the whirlpool to whirl – don’t force particles to find sediment.
Let them be – gravity will eventually step in.
7 – 3 – 2018
And then the switch flicked!
Do you know that feeling – when you close a door, or if you’re a crab like me when you adjust your shell and turn away.
It’s an exciting feeling, the shift. It’s a letting go after working through something. It’s moving forward.
Usually when a switch flicks is an acceptance that enough is enough.
Switch flicking stories are some of my favourite stories.
Today as I hit the trail for 12kms of solid, powerful, in the zone, I know where I’m going hiking – I started getting excited about walking everyday along the Camino de Santiago.
Soon I will. The reason I love this project so much is that it has been a way to live in the moment and anticipate the walk but not be super focussed on only the walk. I’m not counting down the days – it will come.
Everything always comes, it really is better to live in today with focus and intention.
Oh yes a switch flicked today.
6 -3- 2018
Sometimes life throws us curve balls. Sometimes it’s explainable sometimes it’s not.
It’s probably noticeable to those of you who read here regularly I’ve been distracted. I’m not my optimistic self. It’s not a situation that is life threatening, nor is anyone unwell or unhappy it is just a hurdle we have to jump because of some bad luck.
That happens when you take risks – you may not always land without trouble. Sometimes the trouble can dent your confidence or shake your believe that you will again land. It can shake your confidence in the universe and the every day magic.
Yet, without some trouble and struggle though how do we appreciate the grace that also enters our lives each day. This little place, this project is grace for my worried mind at the moment.
I’ve never thought of myself as a worrier, more of a floater but this time my floating has been challenged by a different force.
I guess my reason for writing this entry is that I want this diary to show that on the way to achieving anything great we have to face the struggles. FACE to FACE and at some point we have to stand in the face of it and choose. That is not easy for me because I am a floater so this is new – I can’t float away.
Apart from my family in these past months every great moment of certainty, trust and peace in the universe, the people on the trail and my path has come from this project. The walking, the kindness, the connections, the surprises – all of it.
It has taken me even closer to my family – to my heart. It’s pretty raw in there and that can be kind of scary but I want that depth. In fact I think that is what the whole purpose of digging in all those years ago was about – to find my way into that depth.
I have realised that I have in these past weeks given the light to the wrong thoughts, the wrong situation. This is where I need to put my heart. So expect a whole lot of heart as I float back in here where I should be.
Light and dark. Facing up. Choosing.
1 – 3 – 2018
Today it is March! How very exciting.
Next month I step on the trail.
I’ve had a little space from thinking and planning the trip and working on this project. Sometimes we need to step away from things to get focussed again. You know?
Maybe after reading The Pilgrimage I needed to process. It’s one of those books that takes you places – places you believe but beliefs that don’t always sit as ‘normal’ in the bustle of life.
It’s a common theme in the memoirs people write of their camino. This deep complete connection they find within themselves with their inner most thoughts and beliefs. It’s the nature of a walking pilgrimage – it opens you.
Most people have a question or a reason for their camino. Mine are well documented but mostly my two guiding words are ‘without expectations’.
It’s time to step out of the lull and into the practicalities.
Train tickets booked! Credential is ordered. Hike shoes are getting walked in. Time to pack my bag and test the pack and weight.
Distracting myself with practical stuff.
A friend – a dear friend wrote a blog post this week where she said I was someone who catches a ride with the wind.
And yes I do that – I catch that wind and I hold on superbly tight and I trust her, my friend the wind.
It’s not always smooth sailing … that’s just not life is it?
As long as there is always motion, even in the quietness – motion.
Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. But what have we won and what have we lost? Often wins are associated with a gain … perhaps in material possessions, a prize, a place, a victory. There’s a great freedom that comes with redefining winning and loosing. Learning to alter our perspective and to rearrange essentially what it means to win. What are we really fighting for? Sometimes we have to accept a ‘perceived’ loss for a greater win. Of course within reason … but who defines reason? When fighting a battle – we must always examine reason. Decide at what point that line is crossed, be prepared to consider and adjust what is the ‘real’ win and the ‘real’ loss. A battle can interrupt our presence in all that ‘actually’ does matter, some battles can take us away from what is our real purpose – to fight the good fight. The battle for what’s really important; our everyday moments of magic love and connection.
Define where the line of reason is – be prepared to adjust even if you lose because it’s quite possible you’ll also be winning.
Once reason has been exhausted – it’s game on, because then we’re not fighting for ego, we’re fighting for things to be just.
Battle only to serve the good fight. This lesson came from The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho and ironically is relevant right now for me. It’s always interesting to me how books or wisdom can come at the right time. It doesn’t solve situations to hear wisdom but it does allow for examination and further challenge to our perspective.
The good fight. Presence.
There is a lot I wonder about…
But lately it’s a focussed kind of wonder, partly because of lessons I’m drawing from my life … actually all my wondering come from wondering about ‘real’ life.
I’m a creature of solitude and an observer, also a nomadic kid of creature that creates the opportunity to have a. Solitude and b. the opportunity to observe.
Lately I wonder about why I feel so silly writing about slow living. Europeans don’t need it you see … it’s ingrained in life here.
Yet, as an Aussie at heart I try to not offend Australia by asking the questions – what are our values? Why do Aussie’s (and maybe Americans) want a model or a book to ‘tell’ them how?
I can be candid here right? It’s a diary.
17 – 2 – 2018
So I’ve been thinking this week that courage is a lot about holding our nerve. That’s not easy is it? Well in some ways I guess it is…out there on the tough hikes, finding my way in a new land, I have nerves of steel.
But standing up for myself, sticking to an idea without letting self doubt creep in that can undo me. The first step, the leap is never hard for me but when it involves opening myself up publicly and not feeling the need to make everyone happy – tough.
It’s why I like a quiet life but I also know that’s not enough for me anymore. I can no longer hide so I’m navigating quiet with having a strong voice.
12 – 2 -2018
I’ve had 4 kids and the last one I carried on my back in an ergo carrier for hmmm probably 6 months too long…but you know a mama has got to hike.
Sometimes as a result my upper back can get a little out of whack. This is fine in Australia because I have an Osteo who I love. He can put everything back where it belongs. But now in a new country I have to find all my people.
I haven’t found an osteo but I have joined the gym. I am doing a program that works on strengthening the areas that I have weaknesses. We all have them don’t we? Those little niggles that flare up.
I am amazed at how after a week I am already feeling stronger around my shoulders blades. I know deep down that an osteo can’t fix it, I have to strengthen the muscles that hold everything in place.
Between travelling and moving it has taken me a little time to tackle it. I have now. Normally I’d be swimming but it’s not so easy in the Netherlands. So, two months of solid, every second day gym working out is on my agenda. I am sure it wouldn’t hold me back on the hike but now I am just giving myself a little more insurance.
Just quietly I am loving the ergo … I do have a rowers heart.
I am organising the last of my things this week and then I will pack my pack just to be sure it weighs under 8kgs and I’ll start a weekly long hike with it. This pack and I will be friends long before I set off.
Attending to the little things.
11 – 2 – 2018
Today I just knew that everything is right where it should be. I am right where I should be.
Update (you know I don’t really keep lists so I’ll brain dump where I need to focus):
Press release will go out this week. It has taken 5 or so attempts to get it right but it’s going out! Where will it lead? Who knows? It doesn’t matter does it? It will land where it’s meant to. If the timing is right, the story will be shared.
I am about to send off another post I’ve written for an adventure blog that will be the beginning of a series of my camino posts. I still don’t fancy myself a writer. I do need to work on a more article style of writing rather than personal thoughts that I expect everyone has a context for.
I am walking most days and going to the gym every second day. I have decided to spend the next two months in the gym to strengthen my back. Carrying a backpack for 769kms will be quite an undertaking.
I have started putting the idea of donating out into the universe. As I write this nearly 5 girls are guaranteed an education next year and I am 1/2 way there. My dream was to educate 10.
There is over 2 months until I actually start the hike!
I am just about through my big pile of camino books. I just finished The Pilgrimage by Paul Coelho – it came at the right time (funny that ;). There was a big lesson in there for me and I’ve leapt forward on account of learning it. I am battle ready.
I need to spend a day updating my thank you page. I am so behind there and it is one of the most important parts. We should always acknowledge and share good stuff.
Most of the work I want to do here in the next few months is to raise awareness and begin fundraising. While on the trail I want to ‘be’ on the trail. I will share a photo a day but I will be true to why I hike. It is an experience that I need to be present in. There will be thoughts and happenings to explore. I like the idea of letting the story write itself as I walk.
In thinking about that I am thinking about how I will document it. At this stage I’m thinking I’ll enjoy my photography and put some real effort into keeping a private journal. I think the real sharing and documenting of the camino will happen when I have lived the journey.
How am I feeling? Quite calm and at peace. This is going to be a phenomenal experience. I also feel strong and bold – I’m ready to step through to the next level of creating and achieving. I will not hold my myself back from this success as I have done in the past, it is important to stand up this time.
6 – 2 – 2018
I realise we are getting close friends. Just over 2 months until it’s time to walk the walk.
I am truly in the zone now. Walking each day. Embracing phase two – stepping out of my comfort zone to generate awareness and gather a support crew.
I can do this on my own of course I get the beautiful solitude and experience of walking the 20-30kms a day to myself. I know there will be some intense transformation there.
I am doing this also for other reasons, for the girls One Girl supports and for other women.
There’s the ripple effect you see. The friend who has signed up for her own Camino, the friends who become aware of how we can use adventure to change things, the solidarity we need amongst women where we share our stories and to stand up and say we have choices – lets use them wisely. Let’s live and learn and care.
I’m getting bolder you see. I’m no longer afraid of having a voice, no matter how shaky in public it is sometimes.
Lessons from life and nature.
5 – 2 – 2018
Yep – not only is hiking a part of training but also language.
I’ve signed up for an online course. The thing I love about this project is the little doors it opens.
I’ve always had a desire to speak another language – this is the first step. A step in a bigger plan.
Peaking in crevices, the ones who were waiting for timing.
4 – 2 – 2018
Today’s hike was a great one. The skies are blue again. The wind was blowing, the birds were chirping and I felt something.
I’m not sure what I’m calling that something … I did feel a feeling that I haven’t felt since Ireland. An intense connection with my surrounds that seemed to touch every sense, to talk to me. It even tasted right. It connect with a very deep understanding and sparks something.
I talked to the wind and sent out a few messages to the universe. I handed over a few things to trust.
I’m starting to think more about the Camino and what it may be like. I’m excited about the unknown, the time to walk, the people, the challenge of doing something that is so pared back. I’m excited about how few expectations I have.
It’s the not having expectations I’m good at but as I continue this path towards the Camino I learn that I am too trusting. Which can be dangerous. I never want to not trust or to be able to surrender problems to trust but I need to learn to be able to handle conflict and battle.
If I want to stand up for others I also have to stand up for myself against stronger personalities, against different opinions, against fear.
It appears I run from conflict even when I’ve been wronged. Sometimes I land in situations because I don’t actually stand up for myself or I do things to make life easier for others. I’m just coming to an understanding about how I needed this lesson to prepare me for this project. Most things are clearer to me when I’m in nature and when I’m walking alone.
* I just found this quote in a blog page I just read ‘In solitude, they will learn that saying ‘No’ does not always show a lack of generosity’ – Paul Coelho.
That was my lesson today and that is my challenge. No is not something I find hard in simple daily transactions and as a way to create empty space. But it can get hard when it’s tied to my sense of generosity.
* Ok and star sign today 🌟
by Oscar Cainer<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
oscope, Monday, 5 February 2018
Cancerians are renowned for creativity and intuition. Whilst certain other signs struggle to engage with their emotions, your issue is the reverse. Your inner voice speaks so powerfully that it can be difficult for you to heed the world around you. Fortunately, that’s not a problem now. Your instinct is leading you down the right path. And your journey’s set to be smooth – so long as you credit a new external discovery and a subsequent realisation with the significance they deserve.
I know these words are a little lacking in backstory behind the thoughts – but when I write this story up they will. This is really journal that will remind me of journey, the path towards the Camino. That will be the time to fill in the dots for you all.
3 – 2 – 2018
It’s always good to know where your magic comes from don’t you think?
For me it’s found off the path. When I’m free enough in my mind to trust my own feelings and thoughts. It takes clarity, spontaneity, a willingness to trust, an openness to notice and the courage to adjust.
It’s also about uncovering what discomfort tells you about yourself and a willingness to step into it.
As a situation that’s been hanging around continues to unfold I’m learning about my greatest weakness and challenge. I think stepping into it will take me to a new level of strength.
Ride the storm, notice the beauty and feel the extremes – what scares you and what moves you.
Embrace colours, smells and rituals that send out the good juju.
1 -2 – 2018
Just like that another week closer to the Camino.
That is the thing about life isn’t it? It’s going to happen.
Somehow over the past few years I have moved away from lists of goals or set plans on how things will evolve. Of course there is a place for those things and for some people it’s their MO but I work better when I’m moving towards a dream.
Take this Camino walk. It became something I dreamed about creating – so I did the work towards creating it. This loose kind of journal and website has been my workbook. I do have a moleskin with notes scribbled on different pages but no GREAT gaol or list of how.
Honestly, I’m sure most people would find that a crazy way to work but it is working for me. It has meant that there is no rigid way to go and no stress about how it has to happen. It is simply a project that has a pat and it’s weaving it’s own way.
I can’t help but wonder in this modern time if this is what the world is screaming out for. Freedom to weave.
More and more we seek books to ‘tell’ us how to do things, how to live, what process to follow. Don’t get me wrong I’ve read a few in the past and I’ve devoured the words of those who have worked towards a dream. But … in the end you really have to find your own way.
Trust in the path. Be led by connections, interactions and feelings of truth. We all know more and are capable of more than we think.
Back yourself, be yourself.
24 – 1 – 2018
Remember when I posted about life being like a mountain. Yeah? So I’ve been on the peak for a bit and gosh it’s exhilarating. But I can’t live here – peaking with excitement.
It’s been a week of climbing great heights. A guest post published, a fresh perspective found, a leap in understanding what’s next for this project. Oh and that call with my friend in PR, he set me on a great path. Next week there is another exciting call lined up.
Please know it’s not my MO to do these things like – get on calls and put myself out there but I feel like it’s right. It’s not my thing to write a poem either to put that out there but who am I to argue with whatever force is driving me. I don’t care at this moment what the critics may say.
What force is it? Does anyone know?
Oh yeah I know – I honestly do, it’s kindness … it’s everywhere I turn at the moment. And those who pop in here to this secret corner I reckon some of you are throwing some my way.
It is truly what will change the world.
Oh and I do need to hike. Between visitors, Christmas, moving and this week just gone with a shitty cold I’m feeling like I need to hit the trails.
I also joined a gym. I want to get some weights in, my upper back needs strength. I’ll be carrying a backpack each day so I want to be feeling strong. I kind of like that I’m a bit rugged, a bit open at the moment. The Camino has lessons and I don’t want to approach the walk with my eyes closed and every muscle honed.
So back to the peaks … this is where I step away from the admin, writing, checking and sending of project Camino emails for a few days. Some space to be where I learn and think best – in nature, in sweat, in my own thoughts without distraction.
What will that space bring. Always something interesting, a new story, a deeper understanding.
And another few cool days have passed. I am now going to live, eat, read and breathe this project of mine!
I am READY and man I feel the love. It is overflowing – which is normal when you surround yourself with beautiful souls, give yourself the space you need and do something that matters deep inside.
I even wrote a poem today … it’s the second poem I’ve written in my life but I just had to do it. I haven’t really read much poetry but it came from somewhere – Ireland I think. If you don’t follow me on Insta it’s in my thank you page.
Life happens here of course.
There was a bike incident and one kiddo is in a cast. The hospital is in our village and the logistics, the care, the way in which it wasn’t difficult once again had me feeling like this village life is for us.
I offered to sew costumes for the school play because I have a sewing machine and I’ve been wanting to sew something … eeek I’l have to teach myself some skills – a job for tomorrow.
I help once a week in a reading group at school and I have just been accepted as a substitute teacher at an international school in Amsterdam. I’m very excited about the global education they offer. I hope to learn there myself. The kids are doing some incredible things. I never thought I ‘d go back to the classroom after 14 years but it’s a good step for me. Life is always a series of steps right?
I will miss being a midwife. I dreamt I delivered a baby last night. I try not to think about giving that up to move overseas. I love this life here and I’m growing with it.
But, given that I need to be here, present on this project now I will say no to anything I don’t need to do. I may go off the radar friends, sorry if your messages and what’s ap’s are not returned . I’ll come back though, you know I do.
We have nothing to shop for other than food and we are still feeling the cozy hygge love in our home this winter.
I did have that meeting BTW with my friend who offered to do PR. Amazing. He really got what I was doing and understood that I do want to build this project BUT it must be in a way that is suited to my values, fits my personality (with room for stepping into a bit of fear) and be manageable so as my day to day life is not compromised.
Check – I’ve just written a guest post I’ve been wanting to get written for a long time. I knuckled down and let it flow.
I really am a creature that needs a nest and an atmosphere.
I have a beautiful light filled space for my desk with daffodils blooming in the window sill and a pile of camino books next to me. In the past this space would have been a place space for small kids, a home corner probably. Now that they are a bit older it is a space for me.
Right back to editing. In the past I have been a bit eager to hit post on articles that I have written. I am trying to take a bit more care and time to get them a little more polished.
I hope to impart some knowledge through my posts but I also accept that I’ll never be able to write ‘how to’ posts it’s simply not my style. I can only write in story form, the stuff I’ve lived. Although we can never say never can we?
I have been unable to hit the trail this week. Most of the week I have been down with the flu. I did get a good start to my latest book – The Pilgrimage. There are some deep life thoughts in there that I can totally relate to. The stuff I feel and know to be true (deep inside). It is the kind of stuff that sometimes makes me feel like an alien in the ‘world’.
I want to explore those thoughts more and develop the strength to own my own idea of the ‘real’ world. This is the spiritual aspect of Mi Camino journey.
Time to also sign up for some Spanish classes.
Always the journey.
18 – 1 – 2018
Jumping into phase two of this charity project. I am writing blog posts for those who have previously requested them. I never say yes to everything. I think opportunities come and go and we need to feel free enough to know that we don’t need every single one.
It’s part of letting go. To not need everything. To not expect something from an offer.
When the time is right, our values match and an opportunity works then perfect – I’ll go for it. Imagine if we said yes to every single opportunity … there would be no time to explore and enjoy the quieter opportunities that aren’t always so obvious.
I can’t help but wonder about the constant posts I see about juggling. We all need to learn to drop some balls as well develop the ‘balls’ to say no so that we can focus on what’s important.
I dropped a few balls this month to sink into Christmas and this moving business – now I feel refreshed and ready. Inspired even.
Timing is everything.
Knowing we can’t do or have it all is more.
17 – 1 – 2018
So the move happened and it is so awesome to be in a place that feels like we can stay. After a few years of temporary and big adventures I’m ready for a longer term base.
Of course adventure won’t be far … no it’s only 3 months away! What? How did that creep up?
Life does that doesn’t it, always creeping up. I reckon this is why it’s so important that we are in motion. So we can keep up with it. Motion doesn’t have to be full steam, burn out pace it just needs to be forward. That way when life and time creeps up we’re right there with it (or not too far behind),
I’m a little behind right now on my Camino project. This move business took a bit of energy. Currently I’m laid up in bed with a head cold. I’m using the time to sleep and catch up on some thoughts.
You know the times you wake in a new phase and feel like you know nothing, like you’re starting from scratch? I’m there.
Phase one sponsors in place, personal life settled in our new home and now new work – camino physical preparation and phase two building the hike profile (scary). Of course we’re also still creating and living a daily family life and I don’t want to compromise that.
I didn’t write lists last year…nope I gave them up. I did one one list that lasted a year, only really important things went on it like 1. organise visa. I do however think that now I need to bring the lists back. I never want to be owned by a list but I do need to attack some hard stuff with a step by step mentality.
Hard stuff like knuckle down and write what needs to be written. Cook the food that needs to be cooked. Hike the hikes that need to put the kms in my legs and strength in my psych.
Yes, it’s hard to be laid up in bed but a little time to ponder is always a good thing. Remember when I wrote about the mountain? Well this is a time for ascent. Hard but necessary to reach the next peak.
Evaluate and move.
11 – 1 – 2018
You know those times where there is unease in the air. Sometimes it’s obvious where it’s coming from, other times it’s just a feeling. These are the times where we need to sit in it…to welcome the feelings and address the niggles. See what is lurking in the discomfort and stay with the one task that calls our presence.
I’m supposed to be chatting PR with my pr sponsor but I know myself well enough to know that I can’t do it all at once. That phone chat has been rescheduled to next week when I can be present in the call. The positives of that are that I’m not stressed and I’m still hugging my kids rather than rushing them out the door.
This past year I have said no to a lot of opportunities. I don’t have regrets about that. Somethings I tried but it wasn’t worth the hustle to see it through. Sometimes the timing just wasn’t right. Other times it just wasn’t really me. It is a nice shift to be able to step away and around opportunities when the fit isn’t right.
We move house tomorrow…normally moving excites me but this time I think it’s unnerving me.
It’s not the only change going on here. We have made some decisions about how we want to work and changes are coming. Long term travel, stepping out of the rush, re-evaluating what’s important…yeah that’s bound to bring a cascade of changes.
With any type of change there are feelings. The big let go of our Aussie life and hitting the road that wasn’t the hard one for me…most people see that as the brave bit. To me, this is the brave bit, the time where you actually transform your daily life to meet your values and reinvent yourself into yet another, stronger, better version of you (even when sometimes it makes you feel like an outsider). The time when you decide what is important and you go for it.
Change in life inevitable, may as well be living it.
9- 1 – 2018
HAPPY NEW YEAR
I’m back from lounging around on the plateau.
A lot can happen in a few weeks!
We are moving house this week, it’s time. This house has shown itself as only a pit stop not a place to stop and stay. Moving to a new city always has its challenges…I didn’t think this one would be mine but it was. Of course it has a story but that’s too long for this space. It was a place that I learnt to confront fear though.
I don’t necessarily see myself as someone who is fearful. In many ways I’m not. I do know how to jump head first but lately I realise I am scared of things. Lots of things. Mostly of my old nemesis of standing up. I will this year though and at the same time I’ll confront the ways I sabotage myself from taking the leap all the way across the lake. Promise.
I was reflecting during my walk yesterday and I realised that a few new people have shown up in my life in the past few months for a reason. Some I won’t ever speak with but I’m watching and learning from them. If I look back at my life these mentors and teachers have always been there…it’s just about noticing them. One little thing they stand or don’t stand for that opens or closes a door on something I’m holding on a little to tightly to.
I also though about how 14 years ago I taught in a school in this village that I now live. I don’t think it’s a coincidence I did that job…it’s how I knew about this city. The one that now offers me everything I need to follow this path I’m on.
Just yesterday I felt the pull to come back here to this place where I basically write for me and to those of you who know where to find me and my thoughts. I don’t always feel comfortable sharing so deeply on SM (lately less so). Every time I do that, pull back, put more trust in the path, something unexpected and true happens. Whatever magic you call it (to me it’s coincidence or grace).
It’s how the truth of the camino finds you but you have to be awake and knee deep in the journey.
Trust intuition, feel fear.
17 -12 -2017
OH MY it’s been nearly 10 days since my last entry.
I’ve been sitting on the plateau. After a week of great highs it was time to sit still. Important don’t you think? Some space to catch your breath.
I’ve attended to practicalities. Appointments I’ve put off and some self care in the form of hair, massage, plants and candles. The gratest act of self care, always some time to ponder.
As we draw closer to Christmas and the the noise should soften rather than amp up, I’m trying to be mindful of my output. As well as read the season and take the breaths that are needed to notice the signs.
This journey towards the Camino is built on a few things but kindness is always the right path. The stopping for breath means that I can better notice where the kindness and realness (honesty) directs me. It’s not always obvious…it sometimes takes trying out for size.
Sometimes, there is discomfort and that usually means the vibrations aren’t right. Time to change things up and keep it in flow (the flow of kindness). Learning to stop in that discomfort is the greatest gift of sitting still in time.
With a solid base in this Camino story…it’s time to linger a little before climbing towards the next peak (chapter).
A plateau is just as worthy of a chapter.
8 – 12 – 2017
I had to say no today and it wasn’t easy. I had two offers for the same gear. A friend also asked for my advice because she had a decision to make.
My advise to her was to think about her soul not her ego (her decision related to something she’d previously decided but a new offer was on the table). My no was harder because there was no ego involved.
In the end I had to measure against what aligned the closest with my values and needs for the trek.
I’m thrilled that I’ll be wearing Aussie Merino on the trail in Spain for One Girl and sharing the story of Aussie farmers as a Wilderness Wear Tribe Member. UM yes! You read that correctly! I can hardly contain the joy that this warm layer adds to this story.
Now I’m currently dreaming up all the ways I can creatively share this important foundation of the story. Did you know that the Merino sheep originated in Spain? A nice dot to join don’t you think?
Soul over ego.
5 – 12 – 2017
A while back I typed the words closer to home. It was quite symbolic in how this week has planned out.
Phase one (building sponsorship) is now complete! The foundation of this event are in place. Firm and sturdy. I can’t wait to share more – you’ll know I found the right fit when I do.
Know what you stand for.
3 – 12 – 2017
It has been a couple of months now that I’ve been working on this project. Are we calling it a project? Or is it a goal? It’s exciting because it’s really moving now. I’m feeling shifts and seeing progress. I’m on the way. Quietly, I’m getting lost in the daydreams about it – the night skies, the open fields, the walking, the characters.
One day I’ll reach the end of the Camino and hopefully at least 10 girls will be educated. You’ll see the photo, we see many destination photos but there are always stories behind them.
Stories that involve people, dedication, reflection, luck, mistakes, learning, timing, commitment, letting go, resilience, persistence….the chapters that make the stuff we dream about happen.
As the new year slowly approaches and I read another account of the Camino my thoughts move towards the practicalities.
The packing – 7kgs seems the standard.
My feet – I need to see a podiatrist. Hiking in the Sierra Nevada reaffirmed how my toe nails are often casualties. No point ignoring it, advise and precautions will be paramount on this trek. This week I promise myself to make an appointment.
Massage – time to find a good Thai masseuse, my calves are tight from all the hike training. Sounds like a luxury but it’s a necessity. Being in good shape to walk 800kms matters. Why start compromised?
1 – 12 – 2017
It’s getting cold here! So so cold. I bought in the winter with a 3 hr hike today straight from the School drop. Beautiful misty countryside and numb legs.
It’s nice to be into a New Years kind of resolution before we even hit the new year.
And a high five ✋ success in sponsorship today! Check the home page. 🤟🏼 All of a sudden a few leaps forward…feels like I jumped over a big puddle and landed on my feet. And we all know how fun that is.
30 – 11 – 2017
I’ve been a little absent writing here! Apologies I know some of you are checking in.
We’ve had friends here. Friends we met online as they travelled their way around the Europe in a campervan. Isn’t it funny how the right people show up in your life at the right time.
Lots of late night chats about the value of the online space in creating change.
With a background in change making herself Lisa was able to stoke the fire that’s burning and tease out what I needed to do to get this campaign going.
I am going for it, asking for some help. Help is not something I am traditionally good at seeking. So I’ve started with calling in all the offers I’ve had and getting on with seeing if they want to work with me on this. I need to start being a little ballsy for the girls One Girl supports – their needs are the focus here.
I’ve spent the past few days seeking out more sponsorship ahead of the quest to get this event out into the media. I pared back – looked at exactly what I needed and only focussed on the companies that fit my values.
It is also time for me to get a little serious with how I view this event and as always keeping the scale in perspective with what I can manage. Mostly that’s about not compromising what’s important as well as digging in to the work that’s a bit harder for me – the self promotion and the strategic planning.
I also need to start developing ideas about how I can make my time on the trail meaningful to those that are coming along for the ride online. As well as ensuring that I create meaningful change for the girls in Sierra Leone.
I am also starting to think differently. This event has so many awesome layers. Adventure for change. Women in sport. Sustainable travel. Creative Living. Outdoor adventure. I am a little excited about thinking in this way.
24 – 11 – 2017
Athletic husband joined me on the trail today. The joys of having older kids that can babysit – a new world. As most of the world amps up for Christmas we’ve gone inward. It is easier in Europe the winter seems to demand it.
I’ve managed to hike 5/7 days this week and have stuck to my IQS food plan. I’m definitely noticing more energy and the more time I spend hiking the more grounded in this Dutch chapter I feel.
When I hike mostly I do it without extra noise as I enjoy the time to process the stories I’m thinking about. Most of my ideas and writing inspiration comes when I’m out walking (I often talk to myself on the trail 😌). If only it were so easy to translate them from my head to paper!!
Yesterday I took my earphones and upped my pace with some Aussie rock. It was an awesome hike – think singing in the shower but in the woods.
I’ve spent less time in the world of seeking sponsorship and more time on the actual trail. It’s been a nice break to consider where to next. Sometimes when you step back a bit new opportunities open. The equilibrium between pushing and letting go, what we do and don’t need, how far before a compromise becomes a bad decision.
A friend who’s in the business of PR has offered to assist me with his services and see what he can generate. Exciting right. No expectations of course but sometimes these wonderful opportunities already sit right under our noses. The story of how we met and how our life has intertwined definitely makes him character worthy of a Camino story.
Close to home.
21 -11 – 2017
I can’t even put into words what has happened in the past few days.
Just know that that letting go and stepping into what is good, really good and real matters.
This Camino trail is opening up.
I’ll write more when I can make sense of the incredible coincidences that have opened some doors filled with goodness these past few days.
For my own notes it’s about trust and knowing that it’s always about honest connection.
Mystery is important as is being open.
19 – 11 – 2017
I’ve been reading many memoirs of pilgrims who have walked the Camino Frances.
There are a few themes.
There is the theme of comradery. Those you meet on the trail become your Camino story.
There is also the theme of walking your own walk. The comradery is about respecting each other’s need to do that and coming together when it works.
I live my life walking my own walk and sometimes that’s hard. But if I don’t walk my own walk it’s harder.
I think I entered this public space to explain my need to do that – to the people I know in real life. So I could stop feeling guilty.
While I think I’ve done that I stay here to continue growing and to encourage others that it’s normal for some of us. I now have the confidence in real life to say ‘no’ so it’s easier for me to write about it.
I enjoy coming together with people but I don’t have expectations of how and when that needs to happen.
I want to walk on my own firstly. I want my kids to know how to walk on their own freely too.
It’s never personal it’s just who I am and what I know my kids need.
People seem to expect a lot though don’t they?
15 – 11 – 2017
It was World kindness day on Monday. I adore the playing the kindness game.
Last week I mentioned that I was following the kindness. It is truly everywhere. I’m on a roll here.
There has been a few random acts of kindness around these parts.
Simple things: nice messages, a new connection, long conversations with friends back home, extra hugs from 5 year olds.
I baked some veggie muffins with feta today (following on from yesterday’s move).
My new Greek friend had a bad day today and while I have a couple of sick kiddos my day was a good one. So I cycled a few of those muffins up to her tonight.
A little taste of homemade delight with some cheese from home in them for her.
How do you think that felt? Exhilaratingly full of warmth comes pretty close.
All the way home (the 3 minute bicycle) I thought again of all the kind acts that this week and brought me and as I took a long, deep breath and thought ‘I’m right where I need to be’.
She messaged me and said she felt like she was home. We’re each other’s family now in this village that isn’t where we’ll live forever but where we are at home now.
14 – 11 – 2017
So here’s how decluttering works. You free yourself up a bit of headspace. Like below when I said I’d stepped out. I basically hand balled the tricky housing situation we have here to an expert. I decluttered a few noisy people from my feed and an idea about myself that I had wrong.
And I have a little room to think about other things that need my attention.
My energy is a bit low you see and I’m drinking coffee with sugar in it.
So in this new space because my mind is free’er I decided to print off the last 8 week IQS program I did and deal with the energy and the sugar situation.
Yes that’s what happens when you clear space and declutter unhelpful noise. You can move the helpful stuff into your life.
It’s not always about stuff. The big shifts never are.
12 – 11 – 2017
And so it begins – serious training mode.
It’s good timing. You know when it’s time to focus on other things. Away from the planning and into the practical.
The winter is setting in and rather than giving into the urge to be a bear and hibernate I want to move through the season. Plus, you know I’ve been all deep and reflective lately which happens when you step out of your comfort zone and learn new things and challenge your thinking. And of course stopping in a new country for a bit is a little testy.
Time to check in where we are. I like where the project is going. It’s exciting to have Salomon on board. Also excited about having nailed the kinds of posts I want to write. I have lots of little travel stories from our outdoor adventures to pen. I’ve learnt loads, reads heaps of books (will review soon), offloaded a few expectations and now I look forward to stepping into more hiking and awareness raising for my One Girl hike.
I hiked with my cousin this week. A whole day together with a soup stop in the middle. It reminds me of one of the days in Hape’s Camino book. Sometimes we need solitude and sometimes we need company. I love the solitude and spend a lot of time on my own as it’s my preferred state but a good long walk with a friend is also important. I messaged my new Greek friend earlier and told her to wear her walking leggings to the school drop tomorrow. We’re heading into the woods after – we all need training support!
Often we do the work and forget to stop and celebrate how far we’ve come. I started this project the week we landed in NL back in August. It’ll take me through the year we live here and it came about after traveling for the previous 7 mths. I was questioning how travel was portrayed in SM and was a little hollow because of it. So I decided to do something with the privilege of being able to walk the Camino.
I’m going to educate at least 10 girls in Africa next year. Now that’s exciting hey!
10 – 11 – 2017
Trust. Mostly life is about trust. Letting go is about trust. Loving, giving, sharing – all trust. Knowing that we’re actually fine without expectations.
Walking the walk that matches our talk.
The more I let go of, the more I gain.
You know I tire of the talk about minimalism always getting halted at ‘decluttering’. Sure having less things creates an amount of space BUT it’s about the wanting to ‘buy’ less.
Buying less is not only possessions but also insecurity, overwhelm, doubt, shame, guilt, busy…to have less of those, what do you need to minimise? What habits, thoughts, people, expectations? What boundaries are important, do new ones need to be built?
Living this process, creating an adventure and charity project from scratch without experience is teaching me loads. Or maybe it’s cementing what I already knew deep down. I may have needed a BIGGER lesson to really leap forward.
It is teaching me to be more confident in owing my opinion because I do back it up with action. To realise that some situations are out of our control and we have to let time pass. Also to trust that there’s something to gain from all the shit sandwiches (even the personal ones). Even though they’re the tough ones hey.
And it reminds me that it’s ok to step back from those circles or groups you don’t really fit into to (they just hold you back). To stop listening when it ain’t worth your time. To appreciate not fitting into a circle when you’re a triangle. I know this of course but recently I found myself needing to relearn.
9- 11 – 2017
The thing about living with your heart open is that that you’re awake to all that is wonderful. Like just then, cycling up to the lights and meeting someone from Ireland who has kids the same age and arrived here the same time!
Yesterday a friend told me she would meet me on the camino for 4 days to walk and talk because she is so supportive of this challenge (flying over from Sth America). Can you imagine how amazing that feels? Even if it doesn’t pan out – she’s a part of what’s important to me. Another friend also sent me a message out of the blue today that said you’re doing great with this.
There was another shit sandwich too. Another sponsorship I quietly had my fingers crossed for said no. But this time it didn’t feel like such a hard bite – it was just a mere oh well you’re not on my page. We offer ourselves to these opportunities and if they don’t pan out it’s not a loss.
The kindness of friends, family and strangers will always outweigh the shit sandwiches – that’s why kindness is important.
The world seems big in this age of instant connection but we don’t need to connect with everyone or every company. I’ve been doing a bit of letting go lately – those who’s values don’t really meet mine. We may have shared one common interest once but that’s not enough to stay in each other’s lives. It becomes too noisy when I hold on and don’t reduce what I don’t need to listen to.
Some days I wonder what I’m doing here in this crazy world of writing up my thoughts (here and SM) in a world that’s already loud with opinions. But then I go for a long hike and I come home and spend the evening in awe of life, the people I’ve met through words and my contented family sitting here, on the other side of the world and I feel so much love. I realise why.
Hiking is who I am. Writing is who I am. Creating is who I am. Working on a tough challenge, doing it my way, not being afraid to be different, learning from life, not wanting to compromise myself (even when I doubt myself) – that’s me, the real me. When I’m true to the real me I feel not only the difficulty of doubts but also the greatest love – that’s why.
8- 11 – 2017
Have you read Mark Manson? I loved his book – not all of it, but a lot of it fits with where my thoughts and (hopefully) actions meet. Not giving fu€@s to crap is a superpower. Especially in the world of parenting.
“What shit sandwich do you want to eat? Because we all get served one eventually.” Mark Manson.<<<<<
being able to handle rejection.
So I love to travel right. Most of my stories relate to travel. I’ve been travelling the past year. We love to explore and travel slowly, eat local food, spend our money supporting sustainable tourism, we can camp , airbnb or hotel. We explore mountains and cities, we wild swim and hike many trails (kids and alone) yep, that’s our travel style.
I often only have a guide book, no great list. In fact I’ve often advertised said guide books in my photos because I’ve have been using them for over 20 years.
I applied to ‘join’ the blogger club for this company recently. I even set up an affiliate link for my front page (it’s not there). Neither is the badge that I’m part of the blogger club. They said ‘no’.
‘We’re looking for channels that feature recent and regular travel-centric content’ they said.
I guess that is a bit of shit sandwich. One that will go in the email folder of Camino Journey ‘no’s’. It is a little hard to bite.
Mostly because I am fiercely loyal. So it is kind of personal, my pride was a bit wounded. But really it’s just business right. I don’t fit their business. Or how they advertise their business. (Even though I actually use their product 😝🤣)
So I’ve swallowed that bite and rather than try to ‘fit’ their business – I won’t. I’ll walk my own walk. I can’t create for a business that I don’t fit, can I?
I just have to readjust my expectations and not take it personally 😝.
The question is am I still loyal? Or do I need to question my loyalty? Maybe, they are not the right fit for me anymore either. Maybe they have changed in the past 20 years and my travel style actually hasn’t.
I think loyalty is one of the finest qualities. But maybe it’s another one of those things that’s worth considering exactly how tightly it keeps us holding on.
This lesson seems to be playing it out for me this week in other areas of my life too.
Look at that – walking a Camino. New daily insights and still yet to a step on the actual camino trail.
7 – 11- 2017
The great thing about taking on new challenges is what you’re learning and developing along the way. The journey remember. Sometimes we make great leaps with our change and other times it happens slowly.
Ever since I sat at this computer after my travels I have been searching/playing with my voice. Part of me thought that was about opinions, learning to write and stand with strong opinions.
Yesterday I published my opinion about SM and the travel hustle yet I felt nervous about it. I have since put it in draft mode to re-work it a little. Maybe being an opinion writer is not for me? If it is, that piece wasn’t ready.
It is definitely a skill to write opinions…how to say something without shaming/offending others – or knowing that it will but to be ok with it. Or is it about the tone we use? Yesterday I wasn’t cool with the opinion I wrote. It is true I struggle with the way travel is glossed up, competitive and used to market products, I just can’t express that in words yet.
I think I prefer the walk the walk – here’s how I do life, do we connect kind of writing. I’m tiring of flakers the ones who can’t seem to decide what they stand for. Or, when they say they do – show no action. Unless it is to sell something. Selling without ethics, man I struggle with that.
If my voice is to never become an opinion writer then that’s a leap for me. See what challenging ourselves and writing can do? It helps to clarify who and where we are.
It is easy to flog away at the same thing but if something doesn’t sit right or it feels uncomfortable – maybe, that’s because it’s not right.
Is not about giving up or being fearless – it’s honesty. Pushing ahead at all costs is hustle. Questioning why something doesn’t sit right allows us to adjust, shift lanes and hone in on what it is that does feel right.
It’s been another weekend of visiting family from Aussie. Some BIG decisions here. A load of movement and change in thinking.
Walking the Camino is, they say, ‘transformative’.
Every book I read. Every hike I take. Every post I write. Already transformative.
I take these challenges on in my life never knowing what will come of them – I still don’t.
The absolute joy in taking on challenges it the muck you walk in when you step into something new and scary – ok, the muck is a bit shit but what come out of the muck is the magic. The people, the lessons, the skills, the confidence.
I do clear a path for challenges though – one challenge at a time.
I build in what’s needed and then I reduce what I do in another space. Soon I’ll move away from seeking sponsorship (let go) and amp up the training or writing. I do know when to call enough. It’s the only way to go forward.
1 -11 -2017
Admin. Admin. Emailing away – sending out letters to check if I can find those doors that are ajar just enough to consider sponsoring me.
Athletic husband tells me this is what athletes without big sponsorship deals would do. Seek, apply, keep seeking, keep applying. Repeat.
It’s a job.
I have tidied up my pitch a little – shortened it, sharpened it.
Today, after a break from this job I went through the process again, seek, apply, keep seeking, keep applying. Repeat.
I must add up the emails I’ve send. My 1:5 ration when Salomon replied with a ‘YES’ has clearly been blown out of the water.
I am ok with it. I have my fingers crossed for one or two that I haven’t heard from but would love. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there knocking on the same doors.
It’s surely about timing. The thing that we can’t force or push just trust.
I trust this project. I’ve written many chapters in the past few years and this one ties them all together.
Adventure is my jam. Doing stuff with BIG love for causes that matter is my jam. Loyalty is my jam.
I do have to do the work and I do have to know that it’s all worthwhile and meaningful, no matter the outcome.
Walking the Camino isn’t something that happens in a day’s work.
It happens because you put one foot in front of the other and trust that you will arrive at the end.
It happens because you walk through your difficulties and fears with that trust.
Work, trust and timing – yes, that is how this will play out.
The most important thing is to pick up on all the beauty that comes while this is playing out. The new connections, the strength, the training, the learning – the confidence that comes from standing up.
To stay focused but to stay present. What will be will be.
Tomorrow is a hike day – a long 20km one while the kids are at school and I can hardly wait. My day pack is ready.
29 – 10 – 2017
Your Camino begins once your Camino walk ends. That seems to be coming up a lot in the memoirs I’m reading.
A Camino as pointed out to me while I was traveling was life! Observing, living, reflecting – waking through life. Learning the lessons, taking them with you and moving forward.
And here I am after a week long trip in Berlin. A week where I was open to everything – them boom. A lesson I needed to take home came. A lesson that reminded me that there is so much kindness in the world. Sometimes we have to deal with tricky people and that can be all consuming. Yet, when you notice all the kindness if far outweighs trickiness.
I think it’s true though. Life is a Camino, a journey, a walk in time. For most of us, when our eyes and hearts are open, it’s all there – everything we need.
An insight I took from Shirley MacLaine’s Camino pilgrimage book was that certain pilgrims mostly well-to-do pilgrims she observed walked faster, they’re goal orientated but they didn’t ‘become’ the Camino.
Food for thought.
Surrendering, becoming yourself and becoming a part of your own life’s walk.
Walking the walk. Our very own walk.
24 – 10 – 2017
“Do what life demands of you”
Another quote from I’m off then – Hape Kerkeling.
I finally finished this book today and it re-affirms my love of personal stories, relationships and conversations. It’s the way I learn best.
The guide books and how to websites are great when it comes to deciding what to pack, where to eat, where to stay or how to fly there but none of them actually give an insight into the real picture. The personal journey that is inevitable on a trek like this.
Moving forward often comes across as physical movement, change of location or employment. Sure it looks like those things but the great leaps for me are always the ones that come from considering and challenging pre-learnt ideas.
Those ideas I’ve learnt in my experiences of growing up, from books, study, the media and mostly, by living life.
My own ideas of what freedom, enough and creativity (to name a few) have been out to air while I’ve been away from our familiar home base.
Time, solitude, quiet and space are the perfect elixir for growth.
I think many of us struggle with this idea of doing what life ‘really’ demands of us. It can be so messed up with the demands and expectations of modern life. Our lives are build with possessions, noise and commitments (feelings like guilt, shame, judgement) that can feel so restricting.
I think this journey towards the Camino for One Girl is what life demands of me. I’m getting the feeling that it will provide me with all the hurdles and challenges I need to grow strong and stand up. If I’m open and willing to step into them.
I’m finding a voice, in my own way on my own terms – it’s scary. It is pushing me to the mirror and sometimes I want to hide. But what would that achieve?
Maybe I can hide after. Once I’ve been able to ensure that at least 10 daughters of other mothers without my privilege can go to school.
So I continue my research by starting a new book. The Camino – A Pilgrimage of courage. Shirley MacLaine. This may very well be the most researched trip I take.
Although there was the trip into teaching, midwifery, minimising, gardening, buying nothing new, writing – all fairly well researched by reading stories and living my own.
23 – 10 – 2017
I’m in Berlin.
I connect with this city. It’s rich with that ‘something’ that feels alive without the need to yell. It’s contemplative. It tempts you to go inward. It reminds me that we are not always in control. There’s an energy and vibe in our hood that reminds me of the beauty of expression.
While we’re bunking in an Airbnb my Camino project is in hold – we’re doing the school holidays here.
Yet, in a weird way it isn’t on hold. It’s becoming part of me.
I’m still reading Hape Kerkeling’s, ‘I’m off then’ about his experience on the Camino. I just then realised that he’s from Berlin which just adds to a list of cool coincidences this week.
I’m feeling the pull of the Camino in a way that I haven’t felt before. The desire to walk each day. To hear the stories of the people on the trail. To put it together for the girls in Africa who need someone care a little bit more.
There’s a situation at home that’s occupying my mind a little too much. It’s tainting my view of people. I don’t like it and right now I can’t see the right way through it. This space will help.
Being here away from it all reminds me that there will always be someone or some situation that can hold me back…if I let it.
I believe in coincidences and I also believe in stepping through doors with kindness. I, just then after writing this emailed Hape Kerkeling. Simply to thank him for writing a book that shifted me. Why not? I’m in Berlin.
I went to the wall today and it reminded me that we need to do good, kind things. He wrote an insight in each of his diary entries in the book so I shared mine from today with him. He may never receive it but that’s not the point – sending the kindness out, that’s what’s important.
My insight of the day: It’s important to read the stories that shifts us to move, not be owned by the ones that that keep us still.
18/19 – 10 – 2017
We’ve had visitors this week. Family from Aussie. It’s been lovely, playing host and sharing our new life chapter. It reminds me of the importance of tilting. Doing one thing at a time. Spending the time in the visit – not distracted.
Oh but I have missed the trail – the creativity that the trees whisper and the solitude that enables my inspiration to find its way into ideas.
17 -10 – 2017
Insight of the day: Don’t turn around ever! Ever Onward! Hape Kerkeling – I’m off then (loosing and finding myself on the Camino De Santiago)
My research usually consists of reading or listening to the stories of others and basically being out there and living.
I don’t tend to need a reason for why something feels right or wrong. I trust my gut, and I usually leap heart first. Sometimes I make a mistake, who doesn’t? It’s about trying isn’t it? How would we know what we’re capable of otherwise?
Of course I need to use my head too – being a little more considered has been one of the big lessons learnt for me. The leaping bit is definitely the easiest, it’s the follow through that’s the tough bit. The bit where we try something new and feel nervous and unsure.
Yesterday I talked about already being on a pilgrimage towards the Santiago de Compostela and here is my first test.
I do want the no’s from potential sponsors, they are part of putting yourself out there. Alongside the no’s there is also a lot of silence. The non response. The non response is hard because it’s almost like a silent dismissal. As least a with a no – someone has read your pitch!
This is a bit like life isn’t it? There are yes’s and no’s and mostly there is all the guess work in between. The guesswork can be a trap and a place to get stuck. This is the space that can hold you prisoner (the space to compare, feel judged, judge…all the unhelpful stuff).
So, Hape, thanks buddy – onward. Non response is non response (just that). I can’t wait for what may or may not happen. I can’t wonder if it’s me or if it’s them. I can’t change this path I need to take, this trail I’m blazing for myself.
My first ‘Camino de Creativity’ test (life lesson) is about the space that I sit in now – the one where I need to trust and not need a response.
Feeling comfortable here in the silence – is feeling contented with life. I have it on the trail, when I’m lost in books, in my personal life with it’s pockets of quiet space. My friends aren’t the types who need swift replies and they know I don’t expect them. I do need to cultivate it for myself when I’m standing up in the world too.
Moving forward here is to be in the ring. Taking the highs and lows, and just like when I’m walking the actual trail, it’s sticking the basics.
One foot in front of the other – forward. 16 – 10 -2017
“One of the most potent aspects of pilgrimage is the extended time it requires away from the familiar. This allows for the inner alchemy of spirit to start its work of transformation” John Brierley – A pilgrim’s guide to the Camino de Santiago
This passage in John Brierley’s reflections on the camino really struck me. In my pitch to sponsors (pitch – that word is so unfamiliar to me) I talk about already being on a pilgrimage with this journey.
I don’t want to have expectations of what walking the camino will do or bring for me. I haven’t thought about any big questions that I want or need to ask myself on the trail. Many seem to do that. I’m looking forward to meeting fellow pilgrims on the trail to hear their stories.
It’s more of a journey of what can I bring? What can me walking the Camino bring to the world? That’s it. That’s what I wonder. A camino to dig into my creativity.
Once my sister hand wrote me a note that said ‘to the girl who never shy’s away from adventure’.
I don’t always choose the adventure, sometimes it just chooses me. I feel like this adventure chose me.
I ask myself questions and I sit with them. The one that led to this camino story was me asking myself what my voice was. I’ve been working on that one for a few years. It’s probably, no its definitely why I stepped into the public online world for the first time.
Even though it felt right landing here. I did after returning from months on the road sit in a little discomfort with the wobbles of being alone in a new environment, the noise of life, reflecting on what had been, and what now was.
That time sitting (a few months), trying things, writing and feeling gave me the answer. It was a different answer to the one I’d originally planned – remember I was going to write a book? I may still. (There’s 15,000 words already penned and a few different first chapters tucked away – the storyline needs this chapter to play out).
A few years ago I questioned the boredom of a life didn’t feel like my real life. That was when I laced up my hiking books and gave up treading water with the Jones’s. We ended up here after selling the majority of our stuff and we took the kids on a campervan adventure (that was always my real life dream).
Every interest, every skill, every person that’s in my life, all that I’ve let go of, everything and everyone I care about has landed me here. When it’s right, the people show up – the ones that are meant to come. Some stay briefly and some for the long haul. (There’s some wisdom or a lesson to learn from all of them).
Of course I have normal stuff to deal with in my day to day life. We all do right? I’m currently dealing with something that’s a little stressful and it kept me awake last night. It’s a situation that needs to be sorted and left behind – I’m in process with it.
The other side to living fairly carefree, open and trusting life is that sometimes people can take advantage. There’s no room in this life to linger in places that don’t fit (it’s one of those lessons). Making the most of time is choosing who and what stays – I call bullshit. I don’t risk the goodness.
Oh and oops…I also injured my calf running yesterday. Thankfully, it’s a blimp – I need to stretch more (now that I am a serious athlete).
Look how I’ve digressed! Back to the passage – I like it because I’m there. I’m allowing the mystery of synchronicity in and it’s everywhere.
I know I’m already on a pilgrimage because yesterday while out on the training trail, I unpacked an answer to a thought I’d been struggling with. It’s that one about being brave. I get that some of the things I do seem brave to many but really it’s not – it may look like bravery but it’s actually privilege. Bravery looks different to me.
So a quick sponsorship update – working hard! This is phase one. Building the base. Another week here. There are a couple of big ones that I won’t hear if I’ve been successful until November (fingers crossed). I have also approached a few organisations that tie in with the education aspect of the the trek. Really it’s all about educating girls isn’t it?
Phase two will be writing all the guests posts I’ve been invited to do and chasing down some media.
Sometimes I listen to conversations that I sit and sit and sit with. Anyone else? This was one of them. Let me know what you think if you listen:
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try” – Dr. Seuss
It’s the end of the week and I have to say it’s been an absolute cracker.
Our first sponsor on board, a website that is building a story and nearly two girls education’s funded.
My daydreams and life are entwined right now and there have been a lot of BIG magic moments.
I’ve worked hard here this week and I’ve been rewarded. I’ve been paid in kindness, satisfaction, purpose, support, and genuine connection.
It feels wildly creative and I can’t wait to come back next week to build another layer.
If you hit the trail, enjoy it .
12 – 10 – 2017
Foundations. Yes – that’s what I am building at the moment. A solid base to build on. Each day with my ‘keyboard courage’ I’m writing away to ask for help. To see who has the door a little ajar and wants to be written into this story.
The co-founders of One Girl Chantelle Baxter and David Dixon met Brenda on the streets of Uganda. Brenda had decided to take things into her own hands and what happened from that chance meeting is an extraordinary story. I urge you to have a read (it’s brief and inspiring). Brenda changed her world that day and she helped built the first block in the foundation of One Girl. Stories of change and charity are always about people, kindness, support and connection.
For me putting all that together in one story and hanging around in that world is igniting a great passion.
You know I’m shy right so asking or talking out loud about what I’m doing is hard and kind of scary. But here’s a little thing I’ve learnt. When the reasons behind your passion are not about yourself – fear disappears and confidence steps in.
I have begun to own this project, talk about it, share it with those in my daily life. I created a signature in my email that shows people what I’m doing. Of course I don’t expect anything from any of this but if I don’t actually step into this project wholeheartedly without fear – it won’t be the story it’s meant to be.
This is a kind of freedom I learnt in my travels. The freedom of feeling judged, the freedom to not care what others think. It’s a hard one but it’s a life changing door to open.
11 -10 – 2017
Today there is news friends – exciting news!‘You don’t have to row the Atlantic but we all have to do something.’ – Julia Immonen (who rowed across the Atlantic Ocean to bring awareness to global slavery and sex-trafficking).
I read Row for Freedom by Julia Immonen in August. A little story of fate and timing really. We had less than 24 hours left in Ireland before flying to The Netherlands. We needed to pop into the library and I saw a book that called me.
Row for Freedom – by Julia Immonen. ( I rowed in the first female women’s surfboat crew for Torquay Surf Club, Victoria – we won a State Bronze medal, alright there weren’t that many crews).
It was a little crazy to borrow a book but we had just finished our 4 mths on the road and I was feeling a little wobbly being back in the land of TV’s and noise. I needed the book to escape into.
I didn’t have time to read the entire book but 1/2 was enough. Enough to sow a seed. A storyline was coming together in my head. The next day I emailed the One Girl family and by the end of the day this idea – this one to create a story of adventure, travel and charity was born.
Today just one week after really sinking into this project, the day Kim and Sarah, did and wrote that stuff that made me spring into action my first sponsor has come in!
I can’t say too much yet but I will share details in the next few days. Ok, I can’t keep a secret – let’s just say I have some laces I can tie up to wander in ;).
It’s a good day. It’s also the day of the girl. And that’s really why we’re here talking isn’t it.
10 -10 – 2017
Phew and that’s the WHY written and published.
A few people have asked me ‘why’ this year. Why we are travelling? Why we wander every few years? It is not really something I’d asked myself before. To be honest I just need to move, not because I am unhappy it is just my natural way of being.
I tend to move to new beginnings, to try different things out. I also don’t really want a noisy life.
I have a whole lot of unwritten chapters. They don’t always go as planned but there’s always another one to write.
Here, now, this feels like a new beginning. I take the lessons and things that I’ve learnt from the past into a new chapter. Obviously we now have 4 kids to consider so we need to be a little more considered in our moves but still we move and they seem to be flourishing with the change.
I read something by Mark Manson this morning:
‘Bravery is not the absence of fear. Bravery is feeling the fear, the doubt, the insecurity, and deciding that something else is more important.’
Moving doesn’t necessarily take bravery for me. Putting myself out there does. I doubt what I am doing. I mean there are so many people who do this kind of thing in their life everyday. Why am I here writing about it? Why would people want to read what I write? What will the mums at school think of me? What will my family and friends think?
But then I remind myself that this is fear. My own internal fear of standing up and speaking out. Fear that comes from being told to be quiet, to be good, to do the ‘right’ thing, to not be different and from not being acknowledged by those who are close to you.
Here’s a truth. This feels like where I should be – so who cares if no-one reads it or cares about what I write? This project feels more important than feeling the fear, doubt and insecurity.
The honest truth is that not everyone will care and I have to be fine with that. I can’t go to every party and I won’t speak to everyone. But I am still allowed to be brave and I am still allowed to stand up.
My older kids have started playing in sporting teams that are coached in Dutch. They don’t speak Dutch and they are shy kids yet they bravely turn up with the fear of feeling different. They inspire me, my kids.
9 – 10 – 2017
Behind any great story there are champions. In fact a story like this could not happen without incredible people and support. I have started a thank you page on the blog so that I can share this part of the story too.
In my journal over the weekend I wrote:
- Do and say yes only to what matters
- Plug away at the hard bits
- Move step by step, one foot in front of the other
- One girl is already educated, kind people are arriving – I’m already winning.
This is quite an undertaking I have set myself. I am excited because it feels right to combine my love of hiking, travel and adventure with giving. Towards the end of my travels I questioned what I contributed online. I love where this is going. I am sure some people will drop off but that’s life isn’t it. Things change as we evolve.
I will need to treat this like any job – with boundaries. I think the natural tendency with anything so invigorating is to throw yourself into it. I want to do that of course, but, I have a family and my kids need my presence too. I want to be able to sleep at night without my head going around in circles so early on here I need to define the tasks and the time I can dedicate to them.
Oh gosh I do need to write that why! And a post that’s brewing in my head around a support crew and the need to say thank you (my OXFAM crew xx). What else…oh yeah I have to get back to that sponsorship proposal practice, that is really hard to dig into (hence the plug away at the hard bits bullet point).
Oh and do all the washing, deal with some real estate agent issues we’re having (unpleasant – hate confrontation, need to be strong) and fit a training run in (in the pissing down rain, the joys of dutch life) and of course trying to eat well. I’m sure there’s more but the rest will need to go to the keeper. A wise woman taught me that once.
7 – 10 – 2017
Well yesterday turned into a big day. First, there was the ‘first’ no. I’m beyond excited about that. So excited I wrote a whole blog post around it. 😆 Getting rejection emails and letters means I’m trying. It means I need to keep working at targeting the right sponsors. It also means that I need to learn how to write a proposal. Greg says it needs to read more like a CV.
Onward – thinking outside the box and working on how I approach potential and target suitable sponsors.
In the middle of writing that blog post I also wrote another. One that said good bye to the readers of my old blog.
I realised that in the past few months I’d talked about transition, finding a new fit, timing of opportunities and seasonal change. It was time to act on that. I can’t be in two places at once and my direction has changed so I closed that blog to focus on this project (journey).
Letting go of one idea, one commitment to embrace another. So here I am. Committed.
It feels right, so many kind messages and connections are already showing themselves. There are some beautiful people in the background.
But right now I need to make 4 batches of muffins ready to freeze for play lunches. It’s the only way to have time to train during the week with 4 kids 😝👌🏼. Mum hat on.
6 -10- 2017
Ok a little nervous today about the idea of leaving my kids home for 30 + days while I hike the camino. I know this is normal. How could I not feel some fear. But they will be fine. Greg is more than capable of looking after them and this year they are all at school which is really the door that has opened up this opportunity.
Every day I’ll write to someone new to ask for help. I figure the first job is to get some sponsors on board to build a community.
I emailed a company that many of us have probably used to book our accommodation for travel. Hopefully the email reaches the person it needs to reach. I plan to stay in Albergues so at approx 15 euros per night for 30 nights thats 450 euros. As with the shoes I asked if this accommodation website would sponsor my accommodation. I would then transfer the money I would have spent into my fundraising page.
No news from the trail shoes and outdoor adventure gear yet although I imagine these things take time. I am pretty sure most people don’t jump heart first into things the same way I do.
I did take another heart jump today and phoned a friend I met on IG. She has been an incredible inspiration to me with her charity work. We send each other long what’s ap letters and we have met a few times (even though we live in different countries). Now we are phone buddies and I know she will be an incredible support to me on this journey and a wonderful friend to bounce ideas with.
I am someone who moves in my life. The challenges I was working on last year are different to this year and will be again next year – no doubt. But one thing is constant – at each crossing there is always a new friend.
P.s. I am not a phone person! Nope. Not at all so I am already pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
Note to self: Must transfer my ‘WHY’ out of my head and into words today.
5 -10- 2017
Sometimes I read websites and look at IG pages of actual paid explorers and I get a little nervous. Here with my little page trying to create something from scratch and hoping I can do the girls that need my help proud.
Then I come back to that. Why I’m here. It’s not to be a paid explorer. It’s not really anything to do with me and my ego. I’m going to adventure and explore anyhow. I just want to do something to support One Girl while I’m doing it.
I started writing to some adventure companies last night. Maybe a sponsor would give some relevance and generate more interest in the project. I thought if my shoes are sponsored I could pay for them into my fundraising page. So I’ve emailed my chosen trail shoe company. Fingers crossed.
Health insurance companies they are next on my list. Maybe I should try to have a chat with someone who has done this kind of thing before. I don’t want to get to overwhelmed though. I know there are plenty of options to go big with fundraisers but I’m not sure that’s my style.
I need to keep it focussed and sustainable so that I can do my best job here and remain focussed on why I’m here. My incredibly supportive husband is planning to take the month off so that I can do the trek in one go. This is really a game changer.
4 -10 – 2017
I’ve woken up with a definite spring in my step. It feels as though things have fallen into place. I have found a way forward with this Camino journey.
I was so overwhelmed yesterday to see that a donation had been made and by someone whom I hadn’t met. That really kickstarted me. That and a blog post I had read. It this about steeping through fear? Probably. I will come back to this and write what my fears are.
First I need to finish writing a post about ‘why’ I want to do this.
I guess this page may act as a diary of the lead up. Plans, feelings, highlights. This will hopefully help others starting out on a venture like this.
Maybe I should write a diary instead of blog posts? Maybe that would be a better way to do it? I am going to ponder this.
Writing blog posts is not really my thing. So a diary of the how this project takes shape may in fact be a better way to do it.
The hike plan is still the same – I will hike 3-4 sections over 3 or 4 trips in 2018. It is impossible to for me to take 30 days out of my life as a mumto 4kids!