Tag Archives: Hiking

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:

 

     

Stories from the backroads. My most uplifting and memorable travel and life moments are the people I meet there. Meet 3 of them.

‘The everyday kindness of the backroads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.’ ~ Charles Kurait

One of the great joys of hiking and travel for me, actually, let’s make that LIFE is the everyday kindness of the backroads. Have you ever been on a hiking trail where someone hasn’t smiled at you? Had a day in your life where you haven’t experienced the warmth of a gentle act of kindness? Struck up a conversation with someone you don’t know at a bus stop, the market, while wandering a new city, marvelling at a piece of art work or been inspired by online and walked away feeling 10 feet taller because it was a joyful moment? I’m open to those everyday life and travel moments. They are my most memorable and story worthy. They steer my life and they give me the armour I need for those times when I encounter a less desirable interaction, or, a confusing day or week.

Speaking of memorable stories here is the newest blog I am devouring. Ger’s camino Blog – Camino De Santiago. It’s a beautifully written blog with stories of Ger’s walk along The Camino Frances. She writes reflectively some years after she arrived at Santiago de Compostela as a way to make sense of her camino experience. Her writing weaves in the characters she met along the way, her experience of the trail and how that experience still impacts her thoughts. I particularly adore her stories of how she applies her lessons from the Camino to daily life.

Three kind characters from the backroads:

Meet Jon from Newcastle. Jon is on his way up to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko and he’s 88 years young. He told us he hikes this trail every year and he’s never sure when it will be the last one. His  balance isn’t as good at it used to be so he hikes with poles. We were on the way down and he was keen to ask us about the track we had taken. We had hiked up via the magnificently scenic Main Ridge Track from Charlotte Pass. He knew that track backwards even though it had been some years since he had been able to hike that trail. I walked away from this chat with a renewed appreciation of a few things.

The importance of:

  • Right now.
  • Right where I am.
  • What I can do.
  • What I am still capable of.

He was a great character to spend some time with and gorgeously as he began his assent again, the sun began to shine over the valley. I can’t help but think this was the universe rewarding this kind soul of the backroads for his dedication to kindness and his great love of the trail.

Meet Claudius (with his red backpack) from Germany. He is also in the first feature shot of this post. Can you spot him in that first shot down near the lake (Las Siete Lagunas)?  It’s a great Human v Mountain perspective. Claudius was on the summit trail to Mt. Mulhacén the same day I was. We met a few times talked a bit of life and encouraged each other along the way. As luck would have it he was staying in the same camp ground so we had the chance to debrief the next day (as we limped around).

We met many German couples travelling with a baby or toddlers. They were utilising the parental leave that both partners are entitled to and campervanning around Europe. These young German families were consistently the only other families travelling with kids that we would come across (until the summer holidays of course). Another interesting story about Germany is that some companies have legislated that managers are not allowed to email or call their staff after hours or on weekends – wouldn’t that change our lives in Australia.

On the trail I asked Claudius for his email and I emailed him the photos I had taken. He responded the next day by sending me a link to a musical he had written on You Tube as a thank you. This is the unexpected kindness that brightens my day, warms me up and builds the good, strong armour. It’s not even hard.

Putting yourself out there and choosing to give kindness is always the starting point…then you’re open to noticing. Notice and the floodgate will open.

Meet Wan from America. Wan together with her husband Steve they spend their years between their camper in Europe, their camper in Alaska, and their camper in Arizona. They no longer have a house. Wan wanted a photo with with my lot because she hoped to convince her ‘busy’ daughter to take some time out with her family in this way. If my mum had a camper waiting in Europe…I’d be hitting the road!!!

The night before we had noticed Wan cooking on her outdoor gas stove and we spent some time chatting with them about free camping. This was the first night we parked up in a beach carpark (or parcark as the littlest calls it) and it was the perfect morning as we woke to the sounds of the ocean. It was a time on the trip where I took deep breaths, smiled and thought:

This is it.

This is why we are doing what we’re doing.

This is what we’d dreamed about.

The kids surfed all day.

I surfed!

I walked out of the surf arm in arm with my daughter.

We cooked and ate right there where we walked in from the beach.

We slept right there where we ate.

We met interesting people.

The kids feet were bare.

We woke to the sounds of the ocean.

There was no plan.

It felt deliciously like freedom.

Wan had no concept of not camping in this way when there was an opportunity to wild camp.  I liked that about her, pint sized but unyielding in her desire to live like she means it. We met up with Wan and Steve again in Lisbon where they shared their in depth knowledge of Portugal, places to see, places to camp and the importance of trying the Pastéis de nata (Portugese egg tart) from Belém. Wan reminisced with sadness about last time they stayed in a beautiful park up in Belém that was now home to plastic sculptures. She didn’t understand the desire to chop down trees and built with plastic. I don’t either.

Everyday life? I have a friend who recently sent me some of her beautiful artwork, it reminds me everyday of the beauty of a creative life. A whole post is coming to share that one. Another friend has been charging a crystal specially selected for me to take on the Camino. Not a week goes by that I don’t receive a beautiful message from someone. My kids give the most generous hugs. Yesterday and today the snow turned my life into a fairytale.

All of the people who enter my life and leave a meaningful mark enter through a window of kindness. Do I mold my world to ensure this happens? Sure I do. I stick to the backroads. I’m done with the main road. I want to choose who I let in close, what I listen to, what I do with my free time, what I believe in and what I stand for. Better that than allow the the acts of greed and noise in the headlines or on the main road to manipulate my every day life.

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.

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

                  

Why write a blog? My one very good reason and my personal story written under Joshua Becker’s 15 reasons.

You will grow is my one good reason to write a blog (or just write). It’s not always easy and the self you grow may look entirely different to the one you imagined, but deep down I think you’ll find familiarity, you’ll find yourself.

Let me share with you a little of my personal blogging story. I started writing a book a few months ago and here is an excerpt from page one:

‘On that morning in Sydney [September, 2014] inspired by Janice Macleod’s memoir, Paris Letters in my first published blog post I would write about how I was feeling:

         ‘Something needs to change. I’m not living. I’m not enjoying life the way I should be. I’m not enjoying my kids the way I should be. I often feel overwhelmed as equally as I feel sad. Moving has never landed me in this position. I love moving. I know this is my life, I pushed for us to move here, I chose this path. I feel alone and I’m unsure of where I fit in. I can’t find my way in this city, this life is not me. We’re working really hard and there’s no time to breathe. I think one of my kids is anxious. I have no daydreams and it’s so loud here…maybe if we could take that sabbatical in France we’d always dreamed of? It seems so beyond our reach, we hardly even have the time to talk, let alone plan and finance such big adventure. Maybe this heartache is here for me to build a better version of myself. In her memoir Paris letters, Janice Macleod through simplifying her life did just that and along the way she found freedom’

I start to dream. I open a door to change and I start moving forward.

3 years later

On this particular morning [August, 2017] in The Netherlands, after 5 months of campervanning in Europe and inspired by Julia Immonen’s memoir, Row For Freedom in an email to One Girl Charity, I would write:

‘As you may recall we took off travelling at the end of last year following Zoë’s One Girl fundraiser. It has been an incredible year and now that we are stationary the first thing that seems important to both of us is ‘what can we do that matters? We live lightly, it gives us the freedom to explore life. It was this freedom that enabled me to stand behind Zoë and organise her fundraiser. It actually gave me a lot of confidence in my transferrable skills (I had forgotten I had them) and I felt empowered to ask for help because I believed in the cause. Changing girls lives matters, it’s bigger than feeling shy and I can’t do apathy (not anymore). I’m adventurer and I want to hike the Camino. I could use my  privilege and change my job title to ‘shit giver’ because you see I really do give a shit. A whole lot of shits actually. I know your applications for ambassadors closed while we were travelling, I wasn’t sure how to help then. I am now. I wonder if you would consider Zoë and I applying late if they haven’t all been filled? I won’t shy away from creating something so I can promise you this: A commitment with BIG love.’

I continue to dream. I knocked on a door and I start moving forward.’

When I wrote that first blog post I never imagined we would actually take that sabbatical. I never imagined I’d be creating a website and writing story based around an 800km trek for charity. If you had told me that I would have written the first 12,000 words of a *book I would have thought you were CRAAAY-ZEEE, absolutely out of your mind fecking CRAZY ‘I’m not a writer’ I’d have whispered nervously and genuinely embarrassed.

Yet, not only did we campervan our way around Europe, we lived in Ireland for three months and now we’re planted in The Netherlands. I learnt to grow food along the bloggy way, hiked more, made jam, made all sorts of stuff and reconnected with my farming ancestry and love of the outdoors. I started taking photos and writing words that connected me with a tribe of inspiring people from all walks of life. People I never knew I needed.

I would have been ok too though if we hadn’t been able to travel because I’d found myself again. I found a way to live that was aligned with what mattered to me.

I found my way home. Home to me – the woman who will always choose to see life each day as an adventure, the outdoor mum, the wife with the big dreams, the hiker, the minimalist, the storyteller, the dot joiner, the curious wanderer, the traveler, the follower of kindness, the confidently shy introvert and I also come home to my soul – I’d again feel like the creative, contented, optimistic daydreamer that I am.

Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist (one of the first blogs I devoured) wrote a post containing the 15 reasons why he thinks you should blog. I’ve referred to this post from time to time when I’ve had ‘the blogger doubts’ – it’s a thing. You can read it here.  Following are Joshua’s 15 reasons with my own thoughts on what blogging did for me:

  1. You’ll become a better writer:

I absolutely cringe when I read the first posts I published! Oh my gosh the spelling and the grammer (still my weak spot but I care less about perfection more about practicing).  They were wordy, raw and ALL over the place. I’m still wordy, but without a doubt I’m a better writer, more succinct.

2. You’ll become a better thinker:

I tend to follow my heart and my feelings (I think my gut’s strong). Writing about myself and my life has forced me to question ‘why’ I do things. The reflection has helped me clarify my actions and thoughts as well encouraging me to read other people’s ideas and philosophies. I’ve questioned my opinions, developed new ones and most significantly I’ve become confident in my own opinions and differences.

3. You’ll live a more intentional life:

I remember reading once that if you want to blog well you need to be out there living. Truth. My personal blogging story has been a journey of hand making my life. I started by embracing the principles of minimalism and slow living followed by creativity and adventure. If you’re out there journeying in your life, questioning your beliefs,  where they came from, the things that are important to you,  living in each day, noticing that each day is an adventure you can’t help but become more intentional.

4. You’ll develop and eye for more meaningful things:

When you start noticing you start seeing and feeling more. The word abundance is one of my favourites. For me blogging was a journey of knowing I have ‘enough’ and every day I question enough. Not only with ‘possessions’ but where my thoughts go and who I’m giving my time and myself to.  When we start to see life for everything that is meaningful, contentment generally follows (even on the tough days).

5. It’ll lead to healthier life habits:

Once I started blogging and questioning myself I found myself doing less of the things that bored and overwhelmed me and more of the things that fulfilled me. I hike more, eat more real food, shop more consciously, I’m often on the couch with with a kid close by (rather than attending to lists or even writing them in the first place), I spend more time reading, singing aloud to music and pondering – my daydreams are ALIVE. Now I am in the midst of writing a new story, one that connects all the dots that this bogging journey has taken me on. I am the same me, just a better version – I rebuilt myself. There’s still stuff I want to be better at but I’m a work in process, one big change at a time.

6. You’ll meet new people:

This has been the most wonderful part of discovering the blogging world and stepping publicly into the world. I like to think I’ve taken my time, found my own style and kept it at my own pace and this in turn has led me to the most incredible tribe of people. Each and every one of them has arrived when I needed them to, bringing their own unique something special to my life. It’s a way to build the community you need.

7. You’ll make some money:

This is true for some. I have chosen not to look for opportunities to make money. I am driven by the journey. I think when we start blogging with honestly and good intention the money will come (if that’s your purpose). I’m fortunate that my husband has an income that we can live on and I don’t take that for granted. We live lightly (without a car), we rarely shop for things other than food, only stuff that relates to our priorities (namely adventure and travel), we try to waste less, keep our day to day costs down (turning off lights, realistic kids activities etc.) and we travel cheaply. This makes living on a single income easier for us.

8. You’ll inspire others:

I am inspired daily by others and I have been on the receiving end of some beautiful messages from people who have been inspired by my journey. Last January when we were collecting rubbish I received so many photos from other mums with their kids taking their three for the sea. Just yesterday I received a message from a hiker across the globe who said that finding my words made her feel less lonely, that maybe there were others who were questioning the world’s preoccupation with more stuff, more noise and more stress.

9. You’ll become more rounded in your mindset:

Sometimes I’ve been on a wrong path and when blogging hasn’t feel good or it’s been overwhelming I’ve seen it as a sign to back up, reflect and adjust.  I’m sure most bloggers (or users of social media) can relate to that. That has related to my life too. I have developed a better ability to back up and then I often take a huge leap forward after.

10. It’s free:

Yes it is! All it takes is some time to write. Writing is also free. If sharing online is too much,  writing a journal can be just as valuable. Writing, especially ‘stream of consciousness’ writing is so powerful. It helps to uncover what you feel and think. Once you write it, you’ve verbalised it to yourself…then it enters your daily life – it can be pondered and dealt with (slowly and naturally).

11. You’ll become more comfortable being known:

This was hard for me. I am shy and an introvert. Yet, I feel compelled to start having a voice. Three blogs later and I feel that I have found a voice that suits my need to talk but not too loudly as well as enabling my desire to keep my life relatively quiet. I can’t ignore the things I am passionate about and I want to share the stories and people who do good and those who have impacted my life. I’ll never write a super blog or have a large social media presence (one ap. is enough for me) and that’s ok. I don’t want that. I can’t chase, it’s enough for me to connect along the way with people who want to hear my voice. Slow and steady, genuine and organic is the best fit for me.

12. It’ll serve as a personal journey:

Here I am about to trek the Camino Frances in 2018, all 769kms of it. Not only am I doing it for me but I’m doing it for a truckload of people and causes that matter to me. The girls that One Girl supports, the farmers in Tasmania who farm the Merino sheep whose wool I’ll be wearing on the trek and also for those who harbour the desire to adventure. People and causes have always been important to me but my blogging journey has connected me to a way that I can stand up for them. ‘Adventure for Change’ is what Amy & Kez at Travel Play Live call it.

13. You’ll become more confident:

I’ve learnt that often I’m wrong (there’s so much I don’t know), sometimes I’m scared (mostly of judgement and putting myself out there) and there is always a different way to approach something (different choices). That translates into me being about to change, learn form others, step into discomfort and to be creative – basically a more confident version of me. It’s been a journey of mistakes and practice. I have a sturdy nature but I’ve needed to learn to develop the confidence and right path for me to stand up in a bigger world.

14. You’ll find a platform to recommend:

Blogging for me has always been about discovering, sharing, creating and connecting. It started as a The Simplicity Journey, then Gentle Intention and now Slower Family Travels. I like to think my platform is simply to share what works in my life and to encourage a connection to ourselves, people, the environment and the choices we make. And to always to move forward (whilst recognising but not holding to tightly to our past, where we’ve come from and we’ve been).

15. It’s quite a rush with every positive comment:

Sure, of course having readers is the ultimate and when you start that’s the focus…but slowly for me it has become more about the story and the writing. Creating a life, questioning that life and documenting is ‘why’ I write. Readers and comments are amazing don’t get me wrong and when your writing starts to engage genuine readers who connect with your story it’s an incredibly warm buzz, but, the journey blogging (writing) takes you on – that’s the real magic ✨.

* My book is kind of on hold. I’m taking my time. I still have some living to do. I want to live this Camino story out first. In the meantime I’m documenting and practicing here and on IG.

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.

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: