Sunday, 13 August 2017

Ticking Down to Departure Time

Okay, my loyal readers, I am getting down to the wire: In one month and one day I will depart for Moncton, and there to get on a plane, and fly (via Montreal) to Paris CDG.  I will arrive on the morning of the 14th, from there, I get on the train for Bordeaux and transfer to Biarritz.  I will likely spend the night there, and I will be jet lagged to death.  The next day, the final push to St Jean Pied de Port; about an hour by train.

Once I am there, I use the day to wear off the jet lag, and pick up various incidentals such as my pilgrim credential and a utility knife for such things as slicing bread and cheese on the road.  Also pick up stuff my lunch the next day and a couple of bottles of water that I will refill along the way.  After that I am booked into Gîte Le Chemin vers l'Etoile for the night and on the morning of the 16th,  I set off on The Camino De Santiago.

There are many ways of "walking The Camino":  There are at least 5 different routes to Santiago de Compostella:  The Camino Englis, The Camino Portugues. The Camino Frances, The Camino Primativo and the Camino Nord.  I chose the Camino Frances because it is the most popular route and as such it is the best marked and with the most amenities - such as alburgues (Hostels). cafes, fountains with potable water, and shops to replenish my supply of trail mix.    There are "walking tours" that offer "a taste"of the Camino which are sort where you stay in 5 star hotels, and everything is planned (check out the National Geographic tours.  There are services that will ferry your backpack from alburgue to alburgue (which a gentleman of my acquaintance can't seem to get though his head that  I WON'T be using).  As I am not that infirm (the jury is still out on aged) I plan to carry my own backpack.

The point that I am making is that this is NOT the Pacific Coast or the Appalachian Trail which I wasn't looking for anyway

So with that, I offer two differing views of the Camino:

10 Reasons Why El Camino Santiago Sucks

 And:

Why do Adventure Snobs Hate The Camino de Santiago?

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Ringing the Changes

Life consists of changes;  some of them are good, some of them not so, and others just are.  This is not to day that change is not a scary process as it scares the living daylights out of a lot of people.  Change takes away things in your life that you may have come to rely on, it changes your relationships and it changes the way you relate to other people, and to yourself. 

For me, one of the great changes in my life came when I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes about 3ish years ago.   Now, bear in mind, I've come through Cancer, and that is a truly multi-level experience: And as with many people, my outlook on life was never the same after that:  I believe that my experience with the big "C" made me, over the years, somewhat more accepting of myself - what I was, more importantly what I was not and  ( this was the really hard one) dealing with other people's expectations.   It does not come easy to finally say, after a life time of hearing that what you are just isn't good enough:  This is me, this is what I am, and if you cannot accept that, then that is your baggage. 

In comparison with the last one, Type 2 Diabetes wasn't that great a stretch for me:  It runs in my family, so the odds were that it would reach out and grab me too, sometime along the way.  As is my rather bookish way, I researched what this would mean to me - some changes in diet, though not as many as one would think.  It is a common misconception that diabetics became that way by stuffing themselves with sugary treats and it is really much more complicated than that.  But what I really needed was more exercise. 

More exercise; now that was the rub:  The job I had about 10 years previously was for the YMCA, and as with most charities, the ground level grunts who actually get the work done are not paid well.  Therefore the only real benefit I had at the time was membership and you can bet your butt I used it.  While never model thin, I could run forever on the cross trainer, pushed weights, and I was in the best condition I had ever been.   Fast forward to a new job that paid better, but physically.... I was practically chained to a work station for 8 hours a day doing tech support  and, lets just say it, call centers are not the healthiest places to work.  I am certain that some is going to do a study and find that we all prone to thrombosis, if the soul sucking stress does not get us first, but I digress.