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 – Dublin Mountains Way, Ireland


Exploring a region by foot can be one of the most worthwhile ways to see it. This is certainly not limited to strolling through city centres. Walking and hiking is an activity enjoyed by many, from easy hikes spanning a few hours to ones that are strenuous and require days to finish. The payoff is exercise, breathing in nature and some phenomenal views. 

Dublin Mountains Way, only a mere 8 km / 5 miles from Dublin was named one of the most scenic walks in the world by Barry Stone in his book 1001 Walks You Must Take Before You Die (2015)The 43 km / 26 mile trail winds from easterly Shankill through to Tallaght in the west. Although it is considered a moderate to difficult hike that can take anywhere from 1 – 3 days it has been divided into three sections that can be done at any pace.  The trail was completed and opened in 2009 by the Dublin Mountains Partnership (DMP) and they continue to maintain and upkeep the paths. Their website offers descriptions of the routes, downloadable .pdf maps as well as event listings, transit information and “Leave No Trace” material.  The DMP also have also set up mountain biking routes, assembled  bouldering sites, introduced wheelchair orienteering on way-marked trails and manage conservation and upkeep of the area. As with any activity, make sure you are prepared and let someone know where you are going. 

Ireland is a stunning country, arguably one of the world’s most beautiful. Why not see it’s beauty by roving and wandering along these paths?

The Scalp From Barnaslingan Hill

The Scalp (Barnaslingan) on the Dublin Mountains Way – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By Joe King (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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The Hell Fire Club along the Dublin Mountains Way – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by jasonrogers [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday’s Special Spot – Beachy Head


The south of England, near the town of Eastbourne is the remarkable chalk cliff of Beachy Head. Standing at 162 m/531 ft, it is the highest chalk cliff in Britain. The beautiful rock walls of chalk were formed almost 100 million years ago when the area was completely immersed in seawater. Land shifts and the end of the Ice Age resulted in the unusual white walls with amazing views of the English Channel.  The rough waves and misty air made the area a danger for seafarers. Demands for a lighthouse date back to the 1600s and in 1831 the Belle Tout Lighthouse was erected on the cliff itself. The thick mist resulted in poor visibility and it was eventually moved to the base of the Beachy Head cliff.

Beachy Head and Belle Tout Lighthouse, England

A number of trails and hiking paths are available in the area. Cycling trails abound as well.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – User Donar Reiskoffer

SUNDAY’S SPECIAL SPOT – WALES COAST PATH


There are numerous ways to see a country – train, car, motorcoach tour, bicycle and even on foot. On foot you really see a place. You are taking your time and can see and experience the nuances of an area. Many many countries have hiking and walking trails to see specific areas. Some have pilgrimages that are as long as a country, such as the Camino de Santiago de Campostela. A shorter yet challenging backpacking/camping trail right here in B.C. is Vancouver Island’s 75km West Coast Trail. But there is only one route that covers an entire country and that is the Wales Coast Path that fully opened in 2012.

Wales Coast Path is a trail/footpath that begins in southeastern Chepstow and winds its way 1,400 km/870 miles up to northeastern Queensferry. Running mainly along the Welsh Coast it meanders through rocky coastlines, green hills, historic sites, numerous beaches, and quaint villages. Each region also has varied wildlife to be spied upon.

Near Wallog, Wales with West Coast Path along the coast

Near Wallog, Wales with West Coast Path along the coast

Due to the numerous towns and villages found on the coast you can walk/hike portions of the trail with ease of access. Perhaps for some, there is the challenge of walking the path in its entirety.

Photo credit – Wikimedia Commons – User OLU