The 2 Year Plan


Life is a series of events and moments over a period a lifetime. For many of us, should we be so lucky, that lifetime is one of decades upon decades. Much of those moments are nondescript and fairly ordinary. Same same. Then we have times of wonderment, thrill, adventure and awe. Moments of laughter, bliss, joy, excitement. Life is also peppered with times of inexplicable grief, despair, confusion, fear, and sadness. It’s the same with everyone. The ups, downs, and meandering along. Yet without all these varying experiences we can not grow, learn, appreciate and evolve. That is life. My travels are one of the main sources of joy and wonderment for me. Also one of learning about myself, and hopefully of the world and its beautiful people. My head swirls with places I have yet to know, far flung and world-wide. Being “grounded” here at home without a plan in place gnaws away at me, at the ever present desire to see new-to-me places. It grows and expands the wanderlust, the fernweh (“farsickness“). Yet, when at home I also crave security and order. An odd contrast for one who seeks to always leave. 

As some of you may know, this spring I had a hefty health scare and subsequent surgery. There was a period where I did not know if I had cancer or not. Fortunately I didn’t and have been given a clean bill of health. That time certainly has prompted much to stir within myself. Realizing how fortunate I am and that moving forward and living life is vital to me, however I choose to do that. Having dealt with this has prompted me to make better choices for myself. I am making wiser food choices (have disposed of 19 lbs to date) and investing in tapping into my creative side.  Of course travel continues to be part of my life.  Plans continue to swirl in my head. Destinations call to me at every turn. A different country pops into my mind every week or two. I still have no clue where I will travel next year as it changes continually. Though one trip is forming and coming together.

Since learning of it in 2007, it has always been part of my life plan to be a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St James) in 2019 for a milestone birthday.  That was 10 years ago and the plan is still the same. Now, its in 2 years. The 2 year plan. The Camino, as its called for short, is a centuries old Christian pilgrimage from the east of northern Spain all the way to the northwestern city of Santiago (Galicia) where it is said the bones of St James are interred.  In modern times the pilgrimage grew less and less popular to almost being forgotten. Then in the 1980s there was a resurgence and slowly it has gained popularity. Today’s pilgrims have various reason’s for making the trek and not always religious ones, as in my case. For me, I want to be able to traverse the countryside. To walk alone and with others. To step one foot after another, not being entirely sure as to even why I want to other than that I do.

Despite being 2 years away I am working on some plans, financially and physically (though the latter is coming much slower). Researching here and there. Nagging my friend over at Wandering Dragon (blog) as her and I will be taking this adventure together. Up until now we have only talked of it but now I have set up a few things to get me moving and planning. As time gets closer we will decide which route, the exact day to leave, what to pack and all the rest. In the meantime I will continue to read and watch stories, documentaries and movies about the Camino. I’ll make an occasional post here too.

Oh, if you want to watch a (fictional) movie about the Camino, I quite liked The Way starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. There is also a documentary I watched recently called Strangers On The Earth which I also found interesting.

Photo taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World.

I took these photos in Dublin in 2016. My sister and her 2 friends were walking the Northern Route of the Camino that summer. I learned that this was the historic spot for pilgrims in Ireland to head out to the Camino. The growing popularity of the Camino has led to the organization of the Camino Society Ireland where people can learn of the Camino, attend events, obtain a Camino passport and more.

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A Camino sign, Dublin

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The Camino Society  Ireland 

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Sunday Special – Park Güell, Barcelona


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View of Barcelona and a portion of Park Güell – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned  Marrovi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 mx (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/mx/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Antoni Gaudi has his stamp on Barcelona. An architect and with a penchant for what is now referred to as Catalan Modernism.  His attention to detail and in his designs extended to use of wrought iron, ceramics, glass and more. One of his popular contributions is Park Güell, located on Carmel Hill. It was built during the years of 1900 – 1914. Its beginnings as a housing development failed and the area was then turned into a park in 1926. In 1984 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site (classified as part of the works of Antoni Gaudi). Today people flock to see its buildings, statues, pillars and more. I do know that I will visit this place should I make my way to Barcelona. The curves, vibrant mosaics and bold structures are reminiscent of candies and fairy tales. I expect I will be taken with the wonder of the design.

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Terrace filled with onlookers – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By es:Usuario:Rapomon [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Curved bench at Park Güell – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By deror avi (Own work) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday Special – Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)


Feel like a having a beach getaway? It would be lovely to relax on a sun-soaked strip of sand with drink in hand while hearing the waves lap against the shore. There certainly is an abundance of beaches to choose from in the world. Some places are synonymous with beach life: Miami, Rio, Thailand’s islands, Goa, most Caribbean Islands, Cancun – the list goes on and on. As much as I love a holiday filled with history, architecture and good beer a fine beach holiday can be inviting. Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, has sent me an invite that I hope to RSVP to soon.

The Canary Islands consist of seven islands that lie approximately 100 km/62 miles west of the southern coast of Morocco with Tenerife being 300 km/186 mi from the coast. Not only is Tenerife the biggest Canary Island, it is also has the largest population. As a tourist destination it is one of Spain’s main ones. Aside from the 67 km/41.6 miles of beach, Tenerife also claims natural beauty in a variety of forms. The varying contrasts on this small volcanically formed island is remarkable. Tiede Volcano is the world’s third tallest at 3718 m/12,198 feet. The land around it (in Tiede National Park) is a thriving pine forest. Moving about the island you will encounter the rock cliffs of Acantilados de Los Gigantes (Cliffs of the Giants) and then desert-like regions to flourishing semi-tropical oases.

In addition to the spectacular nature of this isle there are plenty of fun activities for all. Hiking, biking, beaches, SCUBA diving, golf, water parks, arts, music and sailing are all on the agenda. The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a lively and colourful festival that is held every February in the island’s capital, Santa Cruz. Second only to Rio’s infamous Carnival, it is hoping to gain status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

So what do you say? Think maybe Tenerife may worth checking out?

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Tenerife, Canary Islands – Photo: Public Domain

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View of Tiede Volcano, Tenerife – Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by Fornax

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Beach in Tenerife – Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by Peng

SUNDAY’S SPECIAL SPOT – CAMINO DE SANTIAGO DE CAMPOSTELA


The Camino de Santiago de Campostela – “The Way of St James”. A long name for a long pilgrimage. Referred to simply as “The Camino”  this age old pilgrimage begins at the Pyrenees Mountains in southwestern France and winds its way across the landscape of northern Spain on it’s most popular route. Twisting its way through green fields, bustling city streets and rocky outcrops it terminates at the cathedral of Santiago de Campostela, clear across the country in Galicia, Spain. Although there are many routes along The Camino, the most familiar route takes pilgrims roughly a month to traverse the trail. Dotting the way are “refugios” or refuges for weary pilgrims to lay their heads.

Camino de Santiago

When I first learned of The Camino I was instantly intrigued. Why would one want to do such a trek? Could I do such a trek? There are oodles of reasons that thousands upon thousands make this journey. Some for religious reasons, others to see if they can do it and even more to find themselves on the way. My reason? Simply to see if I can do it….and bragging rights: “I walked across the north of Spain…oh yeah.”  Well not entirely but would be cool to make that proclamation. So in several years, once my RTW trip has been completed my next adventurous goal is The Way of St James. The question is – are you coming with me?

Photo credit: Ron Albers (Flickr)