Category Archives: Travel

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hiking the camino called life. A lesson from a sparkly eyed Roman.

Originally published 6-1-2017. I decided to re-write it as I take one of my lessons about how I want to contribute from this Camino journey. Opinion writing is a challenge. Fran.

“So when you see me alone at the trailhead, notice the shin bruises, the sunburn, the dirt under my nails, and a sparkle in my eyes, but please, don’t call me brave. I am just doing the things that make me who I am.” – Annie Mac

A quick google search of bravery brings up 943,000 quotes with images. It’s a well used word and one that I often wonder about.

We need voices like Annie. People who remind us that life is about being who we are. Stripping it all back to what makes us feel passionate, contented and connected.

We shouldn’t need to feel brave to stand with our own opinions, on our own feet and to choose what fits in our life. We shouldn’t feel scared to feel vulnerable because we choose something different that doesn’t always fit the mould. Yet, sometimes we do. I do.

I don’t always fit the mould of many things and definitely not of an online travel writer. I won’t tell you every place we went to and I won’t write you a list of what to do in every city. There are plenty of people already doing that and it’s awesome, that’s their thing and they’re great at it.

Mostly, we wander, loosing ourselves as we sink into the beauty of landscapes, cities, sounds, tastes, feelings and people. It’s how I try to approach everyday life. Given that I love to travel and musing about life there’s plenty to dig into.

Like this moment.

Feeling the essence of where I am and noticing the magic is the ‘why’ I travel. One recent summer afternoon in Italy a Roman with sparkly eyes made a comment that has stuck in my mind ‘let’s seek the pleasure by standing in the shade’. That’s it – it’s really that simple isn’t it and a message that’s not just relatable to travel life (and no it wasn’t the sparkles).

Can you stop and stand in the shade because it’s pleasurable if you don’t have the time? Would we even hear the beauty of such a comment in a rush or if we’re focussed on tomorrow?

“Not all those who wander are lost” ~  J. R. R. Tolkien

It’s a common quote this one, but not easy.  To give into the nature of wandering does require an ability to surrender. Yet, letting go seems contrary to everything we are being taught, told and sold.

If we listen to all the noise – there’s a way to do everything. There are items that’ll make everything easier. There’s that bucket list that needs ticking, trips to book – next year to plan and in the meantime, everyone is so ‘busy’. Which is fine if that’s working for you.

It doesn’t work for me, never has – that has to be ok too doesn’t it? To say I don’t do hustle because for me hustle and pleasure don’t mix.

I don’t feel brave creating and living my adventurous life. It’s who I am. I need to be connected to the outdoors. I need to hike, to have space, quiet and to keep it simple. Life isn’t a bucket list, it’s everyday. It’d be such a waste to tread through these days as though we just want to be somewhere else wouldn’t it?

So I dip into bravery to find my own place  in a world that’s always changing and busy selling a life that doesn’t fit with standing in the shade. When the sun is harsh and I need the shade I face the harshness, those feelings and I step away from what and those who make me feel that life is a hustle.

Practiced daily it gets easier. It’s saying no to things so we can put our heart into what matters. It’s knowing when to call bullshit on what’s holding us back and who we listen to online and in life. It’s knowing that most of us already have what we need on our door step to live an adventurously, connected and creative life – every, ok, most days.

“Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.” – Anatoli Boukreev

Living honestly is not competing. It doesn’t matter how many countries someone has been to or what their life looks like or how their kids are dressed. What matters is that we are who we are and how we can look back at our own life – was it well lived and true? Are we living in our life today? Do we care about the right things?

My travel writing is my life of adventure, the people, the places, the feelings and the experiences, they’re all connected. I’ll always join the dots and write a story because I travel everyday in life. That is my travel writing style. It’s important to understand our voice, the one we contribute to the world, don’t you think?

As I continue to write I’m always amazed by the growth that accompanies it. It’s opened up a world of connection with those who see their life as a camino. Walking each day with intention and grace.

The wanderers who live in their lives, everyday, honestly. The ones who are growing themselves and encouraging a ‘real life’ around their love of travel or whatever it is that makes their heart flutter.

Adventuring for me isn’t brave, it’s just being who I am and I’m privileged because I can. Bravery well that’s the courage to shed and ‘to seek the pleasure in the shade’.

 

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.

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:

 

 

 

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:

 

The come down after the BIG adventure. Forward motion (8) thoughts.

For 6 months of last year I was knee deep in our European slow travel road trip planning.

Each day after dropping the kids at school I’d high tail home to photograph, advertise and sell our household possessions or research some form of our trip.

Often the people who were buying our things were on, or, returning from adventure themselves.

The young French couple who bought our car fridge for the 4WD they’d renovated. They were about to travel around Australia and were infectiously excited I could feel it. 

I joked with the gentleman who bought the bike racks for his car (he cycles rather than hikes – because of his knees) about meeting him on the Camino one day. I hardly knew anything about the Camino on that day – oddly coincidental that I’m currently about to embark on it.

I got the sense from the couple with young kids who bought our dining room chairs that they had post adventure blues. They had just come back from a few years in Sth America. I know that feeling.

I felt like I was part of a club. An adventure club. These were my people.  Continue reading The come down after the BIG adventure. Forward motion (8) thoughts.

Ready to campervan with kids? My basic packing list.

Exciting! You’re booked and ready to go. Yi ha.

I guess it’s time to pack.

A good dose of your fun and your adventurous spirit is first on the list. Heck! Put that in your day pack now, it’ll be handy today too.

Next roll up some flexibility and willingness to compromise to squeeze into your bag. You’ll need that.

Some practical things, yes, I hear you.  If you need a basic list to cut and paste from this was our packing list for kids.

We were away for 4 months campervanning and we hit -7 overnight in Andora and heatwaves in Portugal and survived with buckets of stories to tell over the dinner table.  Continue reading Ready to campervan with kids? My basic packing list.