Category Archives: Camino Frances 2018

Because a few of you asked how you can help. Here we are.

Time to get real!

This project of mine is all about educating girls and I know that it CAN be done. I know because not so long ago my spirited 10 year old daughter showed me how.

At the end of 2016 just prior to setting off on our adventure,  Zoë  (said daughter) and I sat in the audience of a presentation from Morgan Koegal, CEO of One Girl Australia at the Travel Play Live/She Went Wild Expo and she said,

‘when something feels wrong in your gut – do something about it’.

And that’s exactly what Zoë did. Together with a few friends in a concentrated two-week school raffle  with ethical and sustainable prizes she raised enough money for One Girl to educate 8 girls for a year.

One Girl works in both Sierra Leone and Uganda, two of the most challenging places on earth to be born a girl.

For girls born in these countries – Education changes everything.

  • A girl’s income increases by 10-25% for every extra year of education.
  • She’ll get married later and have a smaller, healthier family when she’s ready.
  • Her health, economic status, and future family all benefit.
  • Educated mothers are more than twice as likely to educate their children.

Same chance I want for Zoë.

My mum asked me last year what we were doing to make sure those girls would be educated again this year.

This mum. This is what I’m doing (side note, my mum, 72 and hikes like a mountain goat):

I’m hiking 769kms of The Camino Frances for mothers in Africa, who, like me want their girls to have a chance in life.

But I do need help … in these kinds of ways:

  1. Donate

I’m not yet actively fundraising. I’m still getting the foundations in order, but, some pretty amazing hikey type chicks have already kicked us off and we’ve already educated ONE girl (I know – AWESOME) so…

If you’re inclined, looking for an Australian tax refundable contribution or you’ve got cash burning a hole in your pocket, or know someone who does – you can donate here:

Frances Antonia – One Girl fundraiser

But that’s just one way, please read on…

2. Get your hike or challenge on – Commit

It’s beyond cool doing good stuff for yourself but try doing it for girls who need your help … ALL kinds of WONDERFUL.

You can create a fundraiser page here. Join the Women Who Hike team and get your trail shoes ON! You can hike anyway you want – set your own challenge:

  • Walk to work once a week
  • Get off the bus, train, tram a stop early
  • Do the stairs or the park at lunch-time
  • Meet a friend, do it with your kids, family, colleagues, on your own
  • Man I wish I could make a commitment to walk with my mum, that would be a lovely use of time (she lives in Aussie though, soz mum)
  • Give up coffee/wine for a week/month – for One Girl
  • Rope your workmates in
  • Or be like me – plan an epic adventure that works for you

What-evs friends – get creative! Why not? Creativity can look like all of those things and so much more.

3. Support

Not all of us have spare $ but we all have spare kindness! Say G’day, share the One Girl Story if you like the idea of what I’m doing.

Follow One Girl– be inspired by what they do.

Go for a walk tag it #hikeforonegirl. I’ll find you there and walking in the outdoors you’ll find yourself there too!

See ☝🏼 I found you! I know you care and I know you’re in the outdoors and that friends – keeps it all real.

4. Consume Consciously

 

Get your sanitary products from Tsuno – from Roz, the creator of a better humble pad and tampon. Better for us and better for our planet.

Tsuno pads are made from sustainable, natural bamboo fibre and corn starch. They are super soft, super absorbent, ultra thin and free from chlorine.

Their new range of tampons are made from 100% certified organic cotton and are chlorine and dioxin bleach free.

AND … the boxes are sooooo pretty don’t you think?

How’s this? Tsuno are so passionate about gender equality that half of their profits are donated to charities; empowering women (and girls) living in poverty.

BIG supporters of One Girl’s commitment to educating girls.

That’s WINNING on so many levels friends.

5. Gifts

Give meaningful ones. CHECK.this.out!

6. Pledge your birthday – I DARE ya! I’m doing it this year.

Birthdays. We all have them. They come around every year and with it, the inevitable question, “What do you want for your birthday?”

You CAN here: Give up your birthday and give a girl and education instead.

Phew!

That’s a start.

What do you think? What else? Any other ideas for me?

 

 

Check in for my diary updates – Camino 2018 One Girl Project.

I’ve added a thank you page for the champions of this story here.

Support crews are everything. A few more opportunities for corporate sponsorship.

Sponsors of The Camino Frances 2018 (769km) – Trek for One Girl:

 

     

Some seeds spring straight from the ground, others take time. They all need water.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”  ― Robert Louis Stevenson

Walking the Camino is a seed that has taken a while to germinate for me.

My sister has always talked about it. I always talked about Everest.

When we sold our bike racks to a keen cyclist before we set out on this adventure he and I joked about meeting one day on the Camino. To be honest I didn’t really know anything about it then.

As we travelled it seemed to subtly keep finding it’s way into my life.

A conversation about world hikes on an Instagram post really sparked my interest.

I made a new friend online while travelling who has walked it a few times and seemed to have an incredibly meaningful grasp on life. Her comments on some of my travelling posts are still some of the ones I hold closest.

Naturally, there were signposts across Spain which kept it in my orbit.

I hiked and jogged in many remote places while travelling. It gave me strength and an increased wanderlust for more of this kind of outdoor travel.

    “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

Then there was the time towards the end of my trip where I became really uneasy about how travel was being ‘shared’ online.

At times it felt like a privileged hustle and honestly it made me hollow. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and questioning that, particularly what I want inspiring me in my feed and also how I contribute ethically.

One of the things we realised in our travels was that no matter where we lived our everyday life needed outdoor adventure.

I began making plans in my mind – otherwise known as ‘dreaming’. I was going to come back and cycle the Camino.

Once we stopped it didn’t take long to make a commitment to cycling the camino and to do for One Girl (we have a connection). If I was going to be privileged enough to walk the Camino I needed to do something meaningful with it.

Cycling seemed like the best option because I could cycle it in 2 weeks. Soon the cycling gave way to hiking.

It seems more fitting for me to hike it. I’m a hiker. Getting away for a long period of time is difficult when you’re a mum so I planned to do it in 3-4 attempts.

As the seed became more of a viable plant my supportive husband said he would take an entire month off so that I could hike the trail continuously.

And that’s where I am now.

A dream that started as a seed and is now a sturdy plant.

A start date has been set.

An adventure that is continually unfolding and at the same time unfurling me.

Not all our dreams become reality but some seeds continually whisper for water…that is how planning to walk the Camino Frances has felt for me.

I feel like it called me and it was slowly watered by dreaming, people, adventure, questioning my values, an opportunity to give, support and ultimately the right timing.

 

 

If you find yourself out on the trail, no matter for how long or how far and want to share, please tag it #hikeforonegirl so I can find it. Singing birds are well worth the effort.

Check in for my diary updates – Camino 2018 One Girl Project. 

I’ve added a thank you page for the champions of this story here. Support crews are everything.

A few more opportunities for corporate sponsorship.

If you want to be part of the change. You can donate here if you’re inclined.

I’m not on Facebook or Twitter but if you are and you enjoyed the read or you know anyone who might want to help, or follow along, I’m cool if you share. Thank you.

Camino Frances 2018 (769km) – Trek for One Girl Sponsors:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camino Frances 2018 for One Girl – 769kms and 30’ish nights. Why?

In 2018 I am going to hike the 769 kms of the Camino Frances. I know what you’re thinking – but nope, it’s  not because it’s named Frances. Although I do quite like that coincidence.

It’s because one day at the end of 2016 my (then) 10 year old daughter Zoë and I sat in the audience of a presentation from Morgan Koegal, CEO of One Girl at the Travel Play Live/She Went Wild Expo and she said,

‘when something feels wrong in your gut – do something about it’.

So we did.

In a concentrated two-week school raffle with ethical and sustainable prizes we raised enough money to educate 8 girls for a year.

It was the end of the school year, the lead in time was short and we were absolutely blown away by the kindness and generous spirit of our sponsors, community, family and friends.

I watched in awe and stood beside my ‘one girl’, who, together with her friends, stood up for girls who don’t share the same privilege and freedom. I learnt something from those 10 year olds.

I learnt that being paralysed by my own guilt of privilege and fear of standing up, of speaking up doesn’t sit right in my gut anymore.

So, I needed to find a way that that I could stand up, a way to use my voice. Eventually, after asking myself a lot of questions and trying a few things on for size this project was born.

The Camino Frances 2018. I’m taking the Way of St. James, and I’m taking it on for One Girl.

I’ll start at the base of the Pyrenees in the French medieval town of St Jean-Pied-du-Port in April 2018 and end in the Spanish town of Santiago de Compostella sometime in May 2018.

I’ll share it – the lead up, the learning to create a project, the good bits, the fellow pilgrims I meet on the trail, the hard stuff and I promise – not the gross stuff. No one wants to see blistered feet.

Ok, just quietly, lean in because I’m whispering here – ‘I think I’ll hike the extra 121kms to Finisterre to take a soak in the ocean, the most westerly point of Spain. That truly does seem like a beautiful way to honour the 769kms, don’t you think? ‘

Traditionally, pilgrims took the route for religious reasons and now as Leslie Gilmour (pilgrim and writer) says ‘modern Pilgrimages seem to be a lot less about religion and more about peace, finding something in life, a time to think, and for some a challenge.’

I’m a modern pilgrim. For me it’s the challenge, the adventure.

I have a great love of hiking. Not only the physical and mental challenge but also the spirituality and clarity that comes from the silence, movement and the freedom (head-space) of walking outdoors.

More that that I have a hunger to find a way to contribute creatively. To combine my love of adventure with charity and encourage others to get ‘busy’ with the good stuff like getting on the trail.

I want to share a different story about travel, to give a shit about something bigger than my discomfort and to show my kids that standing for something matters.

My pilgrimage has already started. Having recently taken on the role of  Ambassador for One Girl, I am writing a new story.

A story of how I contribute to the online space and to answer the call of my gut. Girls being denied an opportunity to go to school, simply because they are born a girl – that’s why.

BECAUSE for these girls – Education changes everything.

‘A girl’s income increases by at least 10% for every year she stays in school. She’ll get married later and have a smaller, healthier family when she’s ready. Her health, economic status, and future family all benefit.’ – One Girl.

So if your gut doesn’t feel right, together we can create a new story for the girls of Sierra Leone and Uganda. Come along and let’s see what we can do with a gut feeling.

 

If you find yourself out on the trail, no matter for how long or how far and want to share, please tag it #hikeforonegirl so I can find it. Singing birds are well worth the effort.

Check in for my diary updates – Camino 2018 One Girl Project. 

I’ve added a thank you page for the champions of this story here. Support crews are everything.

A few more opportunities for corporate sponsorship.

Lovely, kind readers – I’m not on Facebook or Twitter but if you are and you enjoyed the read or you know anyone who might want to help, or follow along, I’m cool if you share.

Camino Frances 2018 (769km) – Trek for One Girl Sponsors:

 

 

 

 

Stick with the journey, you will arrive anyhow. Hiking tales from Mt. Mulhacén.

I have written a lot about hiking to the summit of Mt. Mulhacén in the past few months.

It was one of those hikes that shows you life. It pushed me to both ends of my emotions. I think that’s the addiction love of hiking for me.

The contentment and space in the solitude, the wonder of the landscape and animal life and the intensity that can also bring me to tears.

On the trail is where my truths are revealed and my courage is built. One foot in front of the other.

I got my first ‘no’ today. It was an accommodation booking website that I approached for sponsorship.

Ever since I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to smile in the face of rejection. Today, I had my chance.

While hiking the Camino Frances I’m planning to stay in Albergues, the Pilgrim Hostels (pilgrim style). These are dormitory style rooms and they cost between €5 -15 per night. So thirty nights is a max of €450.

If ‘said company’ sponsored my accomodation via an Australian Tax Deductible donation to my fundraiser I would list their logo and name on every Instagram post, blog post, front page of the website, and promote it all write ups and press that I may do for the entire trek, training included – the entire journey.

I would then cover my accomodation costs knowing that through the sponsorship donation two girls would receive an education. An opportunity that will literally change their lives. Which is a normal kind of exchange for sponsorship right? I’m learning here, sponsorship101.

Anyway, they don’t have the budget which I completely understand. I’m just so happy they responded. But, if they need an influencer in the future they will think of me.

Which is funny because I am not an influencer, just a shit giver. Can a generation X ever use to the word influencer, eh I’m not sure. I like the notion of inspiration but also I like that we think for ourselves not that we are influenced.

So I’ve printed that no and I’m going to keep a big pile of all the no’s (I might even keep a count). I smiled because rejection means that I’m trying. I’m in the ring…putting myself out there. Creating.

Then I did what anyone training for a big adventure would do. I listened to Sia’s ‘You can do anything’ and went for a hike in the forest.

Of course I was rewarded. The ancient woods reminded me that nothing grows overnight. But, once established it will continue to grow. Two truths right there.

Mulhacén – the details (in case you’re interested):

Mt. Mulhacén (3479m) is in the Sierra Nevada range in the Southern Spanish region of The Alpujarras It’s the highest peak on mainland Spain and rivals Mont Blanc and Mount Etna topographically. It’s named after Muley Hacén a 15th century ruler, who, legend has it is buried on the mountain peak.

The closest city is Granada (which we loved, very cool city, think Alhambra – long history) and there are many different routes to climb the mountain. The Sierra Nevada guides have put together a good post here to get your research started.

We stayed in the village of  Trevélez and camped at Camping Trevélez. In 4 months of travel Ricardo and Alexandra the owners and avid mountain climbers, were our favourites. Their wall of fame of hiking photos is inspirational. They have a variety of accommodation to choose from and we loved eating in their (family kitchen) restaurant. We found them in our Lonely Planet.

We wrote this little note as we drove out.  Oops! We still have two post cards here to send you Ricardo. (Psst. there’s a traditional garlic, egg free mayonaisse recipe in that note – delicious.)

The village has many smaller hikes. A market, handcraft stalls and many bars where you can sample the famous serrano ham. It is also  home to Cortijos Alberquilla, one of the largest organic goat and cheese farms.

It was a tough 10 hour hike from the village via Las Siete Lagunas, the seven glacial lakes set in the mountains. My legs cramped at the summit and my knees buckled by the end of the relentless downhill and I’ve since lost toe nails but it was worth every minute.

I took so many blissful, deep breaths as I gazed across the open valleys while the sun was rising. For the most part it was a solo hike but I enjoyed moments in the company and kindness of fellow hikers. There was a brief moment of magic as a mountain goat showed me a way across the river and of course the deep satisfaction of doing it on my own and the pushing through when it got tough.

The summit. That was a spectacular accomplishment but I only spent 10 minutes up there between the cramping and the freezing cold wind (take warm stuff – altitude my friends). I was keen to get back to the the 9hr and 50mins I would spent on the trail that day.

The journey isn’t always lovely, nope – some hikes are damn hard, uncomfortable and they can hurt, a bit like life.

But, when the good stuff happens. The moments you notice, the love you feel, the strength you dig into that’s yours – that you built, the truths that reveal themselves, the people who make everything meaningful – that’s the sweet stuff.

I was humbled by my experience hiking on Mt. Mulhacén and I’m stronger because of it. I will return to Trevélez one day because I have my eye on Veleta (3398 m) and Citadel (3366 m).

We are also planning to hike our kids up to the summit with an overnight camp at Las Siete Lagunas – they just need to grow their hiking legs a little first.

So many wonderful memories from this 4 day stay in this special region and village in Spain. If you’re a mountain lover – do visit and please say the warmest hello to Ricardo and Alexandra for us. They are beautiful people living life with BIG love.

 

If you find yourself out on the trail, no matter for how long or how far and want to share, please tag it #hikeforonegirl so I can find it. Singing birds are well worth the effort.

Check in for my diary updates – Camino 2018 One Girl Project. 

I’ve added a thank you page for the champions of this story here. Support crews are everything.

A few more opportunities for corporate sponsorship.

Lovely, kind readers – I’m not on Facebook or Twitter but if you are and you enjoyed the read or you know anyone who might want to help, or follow along, I’m cool if you share.

Camino Frances 2018 (769km) – Trek for One Girl Sponsors:

 

Today One Girl can be educated and her life will change. Thank you Kimberly.

I’ve never met Kimberly face to face but today she did something that inspired the shit out of me.

We’ve talked on Instagram. We’ve shared book titles, swooned over each other’s hiking shots and our plans to live life a little differently.

Mostly, she shares generous words and she makes my heart swell with her warmth. Kim has a kind soul. Continue reading Today One Girl can be educated and her life will change. Thank you Kimberly.