Tag Archives: Camino

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:

 

     

Life is like a Mountain Range. Peaks, Ridges, Testy Ascents and Descents, A Pass and the Joy of the Plateaus and Valleys.

My husband once said to me that it doesn’t matter that we get older, or, that a year passes as long as we can look back and see that it mattered. Life doesn’t have to be about achieving and accumulating big notable things…just that it mattered, to you, however that looks.

Just like a Mountain range, each year also has different topography. We can count on peaks, valleys, ridges, tricky climbing, plateaus and a pass. How we take the pass depends on how we wander through the year.

We can take a direct route and feel satisfied (if we’re lucky) but most of us come up against some hard ascents or descents (sometimes we’ve been there before and we didn’t quite make it or learn from it that time, we’re not always ready). If we give the time required to make those ascents and descents we will often be rewarded with peaks, a beautiful valley or a summit. The beautiful moment of a summit is important to acknowledge and worthy of celebration, of course, but, it is brief in the scheme of a year and a mountain.

We can count on with certainty that we will always need to begin walking again. We can never live in the peaks or on the summit. I’d never sleep if I was always chasing a summit or the high peaks. I do like excitement though so I’ll take the everyday peaks, some bigger than others but all meaningful if I notice them. Growth and a sustainable everyday life doesn’t happen at the top, it’s on the path towards those higher peaks and summits…that is where the real beauty is. It’s where contentment lives.

‘Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.’ – James Joyce

Of course we need to work, go to school and support our lives but we can do that with passion if we live passionate lives. To FEEL passion is to know what matters to us and to prioritise it. To dance around the lounge room, hike in the forest, swim in the ocean, cook with love, write words, grow things, meet interesting people, love people, make things, draw things, have deep conversations and to feel connected with life, with yourself. It is to have a beautiful romance with life. That’s the kind of passion that matters to me. To value it above all and to let go of what is extraneous.

I write this final blog post for the year from the plateau of a beautiful mountain in a country that ironically has no mountains. I’m sitting here for the moment as I pass through another year. I feel satisfied with all the discomfort I’ve explored, the passion I’ve given into, the summit of arriving at a destination, of starting again, the incredible achievements, the mistakes I’ve made (some repeated and finally learnt), the peaks from all the good people in my life, the conversations I’ve had, of nature doing its thing and the intensely wonderful experiences that I’ve encountered along my path this year.

The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. ~ W. B. Yeats.

There’s a lot of talk about self care around the place but the greatest act of self care I think we can give ourselves is simply the space to be. In that space we are reminded of how to give to what we know is right, to feel all the feelings, to love truly – with time and presence. To put our soul ahead of our ego. To know when enough is enough, from how we use our time, to who we give it too, in taking only what we need and to contribute honestly.

As we draw closer to Christmas the the noise should soften. It’s a season to take the breaths we need. To appreciate each other and to go inward as we begin our transition into the new year and consider how we want it to look. The time to put it out there, to open up our path and to give ourselves the space to notice which way the river is flowing. That way we can ask ourselves the question ‘is the river flowing in the right direction’? It’s from there we can go forward.

I wish you all a beautiful Christmas and look forward to climbing mountains and swimming in the river of life with you all in 2018.

F x

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P.S. Sometimes I go on a you tube song journey. I load a favourite (usually Bernard Fanning) and then I let the playlist play out. At the end of my post these were playing. I haven’t heard them for ages but I don’t mind a trip down memory lane.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

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.

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

                  

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:

 

 

 

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: