Tag Archives: Italy

‘Is this an I love you platter mum’? Why yes! These flavours, this freshness and this story of Italy, it sure is.

Adventures On My Bike – Day 1/28

Today’s recipe: Caprese Crackers.

Food! I spend most of my days thinking about it … and often after one meal I’m dreaming of the next one.  Somewhere along the camino I recall writing about food as one of the areas I wanted to focus on in my life when I returned home. What we eat, where it comes from, how it’s packaged. It is something I am passionate about but not something that comes easy and I haven’t had found my food ‘big picture’ rhythm since landing here in NL.  The basics of cooking don’t come naturally to me. If I wanted to make a quiche for instance I don’t know the differences in pastry: short crust, puff, filo it may as well be learning a new language. And today I read a recipe that talked about blind baking, great – is that for all types of pastry? My naturally food inclined husband who has been on dinner cooking duty this past 6 months is off hiking next week so here is my window. He is amazing at cooking and if you come to a dinner party it’ll be him that cooks but I need to be across my whole diet not just the dinners. Here is my opportunity, my today, my timing to start practicing the kind of  passion driven routine and simplicity I so dearly loved on the the camino … and vowed to step further into upon my return. Goodbye food funk hello travel inspired food.

When Jimmy (littlest pictured here swinging like a wild kid from a tree at Lake Como in Italy last year) asked me ‘if the caprese cracker plater I served up today after school was an I love you platter’ my heart did swell. Do we need to be an expert to be good at something? Do we need to know everything to try? Nope. Can we keep it simple? Yes. I made a platter of veggies  for my kids after school earlier in the week – nothing fancy. As they were munching away I said ‘do you love your I love you platter’? Honestly, I felt like I was saying I love you by having that ready for them as they walked in the door. Sometimes we just have to decide to jump into the adventures that are calling us don’t we? And doesn’t food create wonderful moments and memories? My relationship with food is not always a wonderful one, but this body that walked a camino – I want to love it more. Limitations can be elastic … we can stretch them wider (just like my Spanish) poko a poko*. The hard thing is usually the getting started bit. To find the way in. Once we are in, once we find that one baby step we can move forward. And with commitment momentum will soon built and follow.

In true camino style the way markers lead the way. I’ve been watching ‘Move to the Continent’. Mostly it follows retirees from the UK seeking to live a simpler life in a mediterranean country. And as they explore local villages, markets and the way people live something sparks in me. I don’t ever want to wait until retirement to live a dream life – I am going to live it now (within our constraints of course). I am a lover of travel and change but also I am a believer that contentment can only come from where you stand. Plus friends what is the point of travel without growth? Bucket-list ticking? No thanks. Do I need to live in Tuscany to live an Italian style life? Heck no! And not if you ask my Jimmy (6). I asked him last week what I should cook next week. He thought about it and said ‘remember that salad I used to love eating in Italy’? Why Jimmy ‘yes, I most certainly do’! And now I have an idea. I also have a bike, a local market, a fruit and veggie shop, a kitchen and a desire.

After School Snacks – Caprese Spelt Crackers

Ingredients:

  • Mozarella (organic) **
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Olive Oil
  • Spelt crackers. (I haven’t managed to make a good cracker yet so I cheated by buying these organic ones.)

Method:

Chop it all, lay it out and get the kids to make their own! Zero food waste was left here, boom!

As timing would have it I am ready for an adventure and a challenge. The school I have been subbing at is on its summer break. My kids still have a month to go! And I have been feeling for a while that my energy isn’t where it should be as well as a craving for freshness and new tastes (also less bread and meat). As timing has it today is the summer solstice and I am ready to honour that by following the signs. Those arrows that point us in the direction we need to walk. Food photos are not my thing but hey I’m also surrendering (like thatAnnette honour and surrender in one paragraph :)) into that! This adventure feels right, it’s timely.

Just last week my friend Janet and I were chatting about how sometimes we throw some vulnerability out there and new people or the right moment arrives. A bit like when the student is ready in walks the teacher. I look for blogs that tell a story and honestly they are not always easy to find. I don’t know how Emiko Davies’s blog arrived in my realm but how it has inspired me. Italian treats and a love story with Florence – bellisimo.

Buen camino,

Fran xx

*Poko a poko means little by little. My favourite Spanish saying. Thanks April ;)

** I am convinced organic is the best option. It feels like a no brainer but I can’t always use it. It’s expensive and time consuming to source. Often it comes with more plastic. I do my best and I pick and choose. If I’m baking I try to use organic flours etc. Surely, from scratch is still better than processed even if produce is not organic. It’s ok to work within our own personal constraints there’s no perfect just our conscious best.

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: