Tag Archives: Community

It was a whimsy idea. It’s crazy, extreme, adventurous, scary, exciting … like an ALIVE version of me.

After some time looking inwards with some heavy feels … it’s time for outwards, where promise (whimsy) lives. There’s only one way to get to whimsy-land and that is to step into action – the motion that that moves life forward.

I took this picture in a small village Benagéber on our way into Valencia, Spain whilst travelling last year. It was the backdrop to where our camper was parked for the night. (All the photos in this post are from that overnight stopover.)

The image struck me as the perfect analogy of where I was sitting in life. The Yin and Yang. Looking up and looking down. The beauty of the poppy blossoming because it is loved from both extremes, the earth below and the sun above. A symbol of being grounded yet free to dream.

Perhaps it’s the simplicity of the contrast that draws me back to this photo and this pivotal moment of my travels. I keep coming back to it as I try to figure out why a few things in my life that seem and are more complicated than they should be.

At the moment I took this shot my thoughts were about finding a way to tame (moderate) the nature I was born with. This nature that sees me leap into adventure, change and of starting new things. The nature that makes it hard for me to sit in the middle. The nature that makes it hard for me to write and live in stories that have passed because I’m generally already moving forward. The same nature where emotion and heart drives me and as a result can see me focus my attention in an all or nothing way.

I’ve spent a bit of time inwards lately, reflecting. Which is a space I spend a bit of time in. The problem is I’ve been getting stuck on a few things. Do you know that feeling? When whatever it is you’re thinking about seems to go in a circle and you find yourself repeating the same story. The broken record. Slowly you start to bore yourself and probably others with it? And you don’t get much done.

This morning a friend wrote to me and in her message she talked about her grandparents. How the highlight of their day seems to be their stories of nostalgia.

It struck me that my stories of nostalgia are the ones where I’m looking outward, looking for what I can do from where I am and where whimsy is the order of the day. The times when I move and step into action with nothing but a dream or a spark of curiosity. Where the people I’m surrounded with are also in a forward motion (or looking for it).

I’m a crab so I’ll pull up my shell when the pressure builds or there is drama or conflict encroaching into my environment. I can’t compartmentalise emotions that easily, so I retreat. (Don’t try calling me in this phase, I probably won’t answer the phone – please don’t take it personally.) I think getting lost inwards is an important part of figuring out where I need to take a step in and when to take a step back or if it’s time to step out. It’s also an important place to peel back the layers we don’t need and to remind ourselves of what’s important but it’s not productive to hide for too long. There is an inward phase use by date and my current one is up – the broken record story was my BIG hint and I haven’t packed my pack!

A few little stories this week have reminded me to step out of the boring story I was playing over and over and step into a more whimsy one. The kind of story that is responding to kindness, trust, honesty and those good vibrations that come from the place and people that are lined up with my values.

Sharing your vulnerability and self with others. This week two other mums who are also navigating settling into a new country told me they cried because they also feel the lack of confidence that comes with starting from scratch (again). How much easier is it to make a new plan when someone understands you, when you’ve shared your deep secret? When you don’t feel so alone. Sometimes we are flying and sometimes we’re floating and sometimes we are sinking. It really is important to listen and share – you never know who needs a life vest.

Paying close attention: I had a few farming related conversations this week. It appeared I was yearning to wear gumboots and get some dirt under my fingernails. I think a few people were in my orbit last week for the simple reason that I needed reminding of that! Thank you FARMHERS. A little research and I’ve uncovered an organic farm a close cycle from home. Tomorrow I have an appointment to meet the farmer who welcomes volunteers on his farm.

New perspectives: This is one of the joys for me about moving into a new community (it is also equally one of the hard things). Eventually the time comes and you meet new people who feel like long lost friends. Last week we had dinner with some new friends and how refreshing are new perspectives and new ideas about life? It’s easy not to step out and keep your world relatively homogenous to your own but gosh it’s reinvigorating to get some new thoughts on the table. To enter into a new friendship and get to know someone.

Acknowledging something special: This morning a spontaneous unplanned conversation happened. A conversation with someone who had read my blog and sat with me to share a moment and talk about it. Genuinely and kindly … and for the first time I didn’t cringe that my words are out there in my immediate face to face world. For those of you who have been around a while you’ll know that this is growth! In fact, I put them out there gently (courageously) last week via a link in my email signature. Writing words connects us with good people and in my case it is the often one of the ways that brings kindness and unexpected connection to my day.Truth.

The One Girl Camino is my new story in motion. It was a whimsy idea. It came about after the crab shell went up because I was disillusioned with how travel is sometimes shared online and some deep consideration and questioning about what I wanted to contribute. Calling BS on what isn’t right, finding a voice and giving a shit about stuff that matters is also a thick thread I want to continue weaving into this one life of mine. This project is a new direction for me; it’s crazy, extreme, adventurous, scary, exciting and basically all the things that make me feel like an ALIVE version of me.

Today the poppy photo has a new meaning for me. Perhaps I was wrong the first time. Maybe my challenge is not to moderate myself … but to trust a little more in the wildness of my extremes and where they land me. It is that wildness that creates the nostalgic moments in my life. To live in an evolving story – that’s important to me. Did you know my nickname as a kid was ‘poppy’? Dolly in dutch, there’s some nostalgia.

Everyday stories no matter how tiny the moment are part of the biggest adventure story of all. The one where we weave in all those  moments of meaning into our life. The sweet interactions between feeling and noticing and action and moving forward. The moments that provide the people, paths, choices and chapters for our novel. The fodder for what in the future will be our very own library of nostalgia. No doubt this will be one of the things I’ll be musing over as I walk the camino looking outward at the wonder of Green Spain.

Thank you Brydie for being the muse for my words today ;).

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

Do you want to hike for one girl too? Join us here on the women who hike team.

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

Modest goals and one thing at a time, that’s worthy enough for me. I’m more interested in sustainable growth.

‘I have begun to think of life as a series of ripples widening out from an original center.’ ~ Seamus Heaney

I was unexpectedly yet profoundly influenced by those months we spent living in Ireland earlier last year. Once you have been so profoundly touched and changed by a life experience (or person) you can’t go back to who you were before can you? Ireland blew its way into my soul with its lyrical language and genuine peoples. A cold country warmed by the kindness and smiles of those genuine people. A wild landscape that exhales its stories. Stories that are shrouded by myth and folklore, with a history of pain and hardship but also of growth and hope.

During our time in Ireland I spend many hours trail running in the Irish country side. Meandering my way through the overgrown laneways and along the shorelines of the Irish Sea. I started collecting trash to protect the ocean’s inhabitants. In sharing my trash collecting online I was surprised by the response. I started receiving photos and comments from people around the world who had also decided to get collecting for the sea-life (for our life). I started dreaming of ways to make something bigger of this but then we were off – off to live the dream that had brought us to Ireland from Australia. Slow travelling the Mediterranean in a campervan.

‘Even if the last move did not succeed, the inner command says move again.’ ~ Seamus Heaney.

When we returned from our travels ready to settle for a while I thought I’d write a book. We’d seen and experienced so much during our trip and together with the journey to get there, I wanted to write the story. I started with a lot of energy but in hindsight I wasn’t ready. That can happen after going through something extraordinary. A new struggle ensues; how do we process it? It’s a bit like the whirlpool of sand you stir up when you walk through a river at great force. The particles need time to settle and we need time to LIVE with what we have experienced rather than force all the particles into a sediment state.

Ironically the part I got stuck at in my book was explaining Ireland and doing justice to what it meant to me and now a year later, the meaning of that time is finding its way into words.

Rather than trying to write the whirlpool of post trip reflections into a book and sticking at the blog I’d been writing for the past couple of years, (that poor blog was getting very confused with its direction in the whirlpool) I started a new single focussed chapter. I know I am better when I focus on one big challenge at a time. I’d hike the Camino to Santiago de Compostela and I’d do for One Girl Australia. I would write about that and I would create a project out of it. I’d build on what I’d learnt from sharing my waste collecting and be inspired by people like Toby of Just Grab Bits who care enough to try and change something from where they stand.

A project that I would not over extend with expectations. A modest fundraising target and each step considered and part of a sustainable foundation. A project that would be its own Camino (path, journey) towards actually walking the Camino. As the actual walk comes closer I find myself feeling nerves. Good nerves. Nerves that come from that space where the inward work is happening. The self-exploration and the discovery of what is scaring me, the things I need to face and change.

One day as I stood on the cliff’s edge in the coastal town in West Cork, Ireland where we were living – I was a wild warrior woman standing strong in my own life. As I stood windswept by the force, the solitude and the exhilaration of standing in the face of a new path, it was the time I realised my first deep truth:

‘That not standing there open and exposed on a new path would scare me more.’ 

As this project exposes my fears I am drawing on my time in Ireland to stand up to them. Gratefully and scarily my One Girl story is being shared. I have written articles that have been published. One on Travel with Merakiand one on the Travel Play Live Magazineblog. I am having to put myself out into a bigger world. A world where there will be criticisms, expectations, self- doubt, questioning my worth and ability and a world where I need to be open to what I fear the most – having to stand up to it all rather than quietly hiding or numbing the discomfort of those fears (you know the sorts of things net-flixing, trying to control stuff, chocolate eating, wine drinking, ego bolstering, procrastinating).

But then again aren’t we all scared of something? And I wonder am I scared mostly of myself – of what I think of myself. My own criticisms ‘I’m not a writer’, my own expectations ‘I can’t let people down’ and my own self-doubt ‘what’s so creative about doing a walk and fundraising alongside of it’, am I selfish ‘should I be sharing what is inherently a privileged life’, ‘I do have a lot of ideas I haven’t developed’. This is the space that requires the hardest work – the persistence, strength, trust and the standing in the face of those fears. That’s where the growth sprouts from and our spirit sours with a power we’ve earnt.

‘I always believed that whatever had to be written would somehow get itself written.’ ~ Seamus Heaney.

As this page is written and I decide that dang it – I want to write and photograph and share the beauty of life as I get lost in finding my own voice. That is truly SELF CARE to prioritise what you need, to be less scared (of yourself) and it is also completely fine to consider creating something a job, even if it is not a paid in dollars. I am prepared to make sacrifices to live this life and yes it’s not lost on me that I am privileged to be able to choose less.

Some stats of how I am rewarded by this work:

  •  I dreamed of educating 10 girls and 6 have secured an education.
  • A ‘Women Who Hike’ team organically evolved along the way and it has a member.
  • Kimmy Day has embraced her inner passion for the outdoors and One Girl and signed up for her own Camino. Buen Camino Kimmi – I’ll see you on the trail!
  • Some pretty RAD sponsors have come on board to help me give some presence to the project.
  • I am moved often daily by the kindness of the people who have supported this endeavour with words, support and one very special crystal that will join me along the way of St James next month.

What Ireland did for me was to tip me off about a well … a well that lives inside me and is deep. It’s filled with many thing: happiness, joy, pain, sadness, embarrassment, shame, gratitude, love and a belief in the magic and mystery of life. It is a well that is filled with life, my life – a life that has always been lived vulnerably and a little nomadically. It is not time to hide behind a few fears but to embrace the voice I have. A voice that needs to feel its way and will always be written as a life story. A voice that can on any given day be wobbly or sturdy – but a voice that comes from my own original centre and is learning to not afraid to speak.

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

Do you want to hike for one girl too? Join us here on the women who hike team.

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.

We met because somewhere along the (on)line we shared a little of ourselves through our stories.

I posted this image on my social account recently to say thank you and to acknowledge the support of this bunch of adventurously spirited women. At the time of posting together for One Girl Australia we had enough in the kitty to educate 4 girls.

UNREAL hey! And guess what I haven’t even met all of these women. Not personally, if that means face to face but what’s personally? To me is a shared connection. We’ve met because somewhere along the (on)line we shared a little of ourselves through our stories and we spoke to each other. Our lives are all different but there is a thread … we are adventurous women who explore this life journey. Some of us close to home, some far from home – who defines home anyhow? To me home is a feeling.

Each year our lives look just a little different as we strive to seek what is is important, to face the fears and the expectations that may hold us back, to question what is right, to change what needs changing, to live in the peaks and troughs and to live life like we mean it.

I love that about this community of women that I’ve had the privilege of finding solidarity with. The ones who have supported, encouraged and reminded me that I am not alone. Because of these everyday adventurers I feel like I live in a world that’s stronger, kinder, safer.

As we head towards International Women’s day let’s recognise the importance of each other. Let’s celebrate what we create, that we share, that we can connect in this wonderful world and help each other by opening ourselves, stepping out (up), speaking and growing – however that looks.

Time to throw some more heart into this project. Mi camino.


Do you want to hike for one girl too? Join us here on the women who hike team.

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: