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Everything Else Fabulous

    Everything Else Fabulous  --  Fab Europe Travel

    Beyond the Camino – The Adventure Continues

    What’s Next?

    For the last few days I’ve been trying to process my feelings about completing the Camino de Santiago Adventure. It’s a big task. Not sure I can do it in just a few days. In fact not sure I can do it at all.

    Our Camino journey is just one incredible adventure on our Grand Adventure world tour. We are so lucky to be leading this life and sometimes, like now, it’s good to stop and really absorb our own reality.

    (Note – many people are asking where we go next. Check the end of this blog for upcoming adventure details)

    What have we learned?  I think we learned some valuable things, but we also reconfirmed things we already knew. For instance –

    We learned how amazing the human body is. Even in our Fabulous Fifties our bodies did not fail us. It was about day 12 when one morning I got up to get ready to go and my body acknowledged it. I think that morning my body said “Oh – I get it. You intend to do this long walk EVERY day. Okay now I understand. I can do that. Let’s go.”

    We reconfirmed our mental need to have a day off or a do nothing day from time to time. These days I believe make living a full-time travel life possible. Otherwise the mental fatigue of the Grand Adventure really takes a toll.  After awhile in this travel life you don’t feel the need to see and do every monument and tourism hotspot. Just enjoying putting your feet up and relaxing becomes a cherished and fabulous day.

    (Note – did you know you can click on any photo in our blogs and Pin directly to Pinterest? Give it a try!)

    We learned what an amazing and wide range of people it is who tackle a Camino walk. We met some fascinating people from all over the world, many who will live in our memories forever. I can’t think of any other experience we have ever had where it included so many people from so many cultures speaking so many languages but all sharing the same goal. That was a wonderful and inspiring lesson- one our world leaders should learn.  We are all in this together.

    And yet we reconfirmed how much we enjoy each other’s company and most of our time was spent just us on the trail doing what we do best – being together. After almost 35 years of marriage we got that down.

    While news of natural disasters unfolded in our online news services we were blessed with great weather, spectacular scenery, countless sunrises and sunsets and vast and varietal geography reminding us what a remarkable planet this is and how we need to nourish and care for it. And we need to do it now.

    While I spent time taking and editing photos or writing and editing blogs – Arne spent time tracking and calculating data. And boy did he collect a lot of data to share;

    41 days

    489 mile

    1,355,229 steps

    224 walking hours (37 walking days and four rest days)

    2 days of rain 39 dry days

    55 Euro per day lodging and 45 euro per day food

    47,400 Feet elevation gain overall

    Longest day 19.5 miles. Shortest day 5 miles.  Average miles per day 13.2. Average elevation per day 1280 Feet.

    Cheapest lodging g $24 Euro. Most expensive $100 euro.

    Not everyone can or wants to do a walking adventure like the Camino.  But if you have considered it I have this piece of advice – do it sooner rather than later.  Do it your way and don’t let others tell you what’s best. But most of all – do it.  Don’t spend your life thinking about it and regret later that you didn’t get to it.

    We will continue to process within ourselves this experience and what this milestone means. But in the meantime, our Grand Adventure goes on.  We have planes to catch and new adventures ahead.

    We fly to Barcelona for a week before saying goodbye to Europe as our Schengen days have run out.  We have been in Spain almost two months- the longest we have spent in any country since leaving the USA.

    (Note – other than Reading Wednesday I’m going to take a week off from blogging while in Barcelona.  Watch for a blog from Tunisia next)

    So where to next? Here is the plan;

    One week in Tunisia to visit our friend Leslie and then a month in Morocco where we will be joined by our friends Steve and Sarah. Morocco has long been on my list and I can’t wait!

    On our 35th wedding Anniversary on November 27th we arrive for  a 12 day Adventure tour in Namibia before heading to South Africa for Christmas.

    On New Years Eve we fly to Sri Lanka for three weeks, then a quick five days in India and a week in Bangladesh visiting our friend Natalie before flying to the Maldives for almost a month.  We plan to relax and do nothing here.

    Next it’s a week in Guam (by way of Singapore) visiting our niece Bekah and her husband Davy.  Then three weeks in Australia and then three weeks in Bali and Lombok where we will be joined by our friends John and Carole.

    This brings us to the end of April at which time we plan to take a 26 day re-positioning cruise back to the USA for a two-month visit before heading off again. We look forward to seeing friends and family then.

    So there you have it.  Lots of great adventures and blogs on the horizon! As usual, thank you for your continued interest and support.  We are humbled and blessed and grateful each and everyday.

    It’s truly a FABULOUS life. Buen Camino

     

     

    Everything Else Fabulous  --  Fab Europe Travel

    The People You Will Meet on the Camino de Santiago

    My Camino

    Location: Camino de Santiago

    I can’t begin to count the people we have met. Hundreds. Thousands? Unique all.

    Hiking Skirt Lady – Cheerleader  Guy – Peter &Jane – Pennsylvania – Crazy Wine Guy – Dan & Louann – Japanese couple – Argentina – Gail from Sequim – Calgary Ladies

    It’s another amazing aspect of the journey we are on. You can’t begin to comprehend the array of nationalities, personalities, physical abilities, age and languages you encounter amongst the pilgrims on the Camino.

    The Marys – Guy with Dog – Bad Leg Australia – Denver – Super nice Italian Guy – The Brits with the van – Mexican partners – Nebraska

    We can’t remember everyone’s names so we give them nicknames.  “Hey look there’s little Japanese lady.  We haven’t seen her since Burgos.”  Or “Was that South Africa #2 we just passed?”

    So many conversations.  We learn a little bit about a lot of people.  Once again it’s astounding how each person’s journey is unique.

    Sisters from Sisters – Nathan – German tour group – Quebec – Lady/Man? With stuffed Tiger – South Korea – Brazil Guy – Obnoxious Vegetarian American

    A woman from Australia told us she hates the Meseta, it reminded her too much of the Outback. So she took a bus and skipped the entire section.  What??  That was my favorite! So beautiful.

    French boys – Finnish Family – New Zealand – Cute Irish couple – Richmond Virginia – Rogue River – Flower hat lady – Texas Gals

    For weeks we have encountered a British group of
    six walking, and one woman driving a van to meet them at the end of each day.  Another group of Germans also with a support vehicle following but they stopped at the halfway point.  They will return next year to do the second half.

    Old Slow Man – Toronto – The Dutch – Big guy with tattoos – Mexico – Catalan Girls – Guy with long hair – Salt Spring Island – Northern Ireland

    A conversation with  Spanish man who thinks too many tourists on the Camino take away from the “original” purpose – only to find out this guy is riding a bike.  Doubtful many original pilgrims had a mountain bike.

    Mutt & Jeff – Munich – Maia from Australia – Vancouver – Wilkerson WA – Chain Smoker – Guy in my Bunk – Ohio

    At the same time we arrived at the Cruz de Ferro the other day two huge tour buses pulled up on the road and out piled at least 100 Korean tourists.  We had just walked up to the 5000 foot mark while they came up on a bus.  Then they proceeded to walk down the other side making the trail crowded and making me irritated. I was exhausted and they were fresh and fast.  This seems wrong to me to see the Camino done this way, but I’m trying hard not to judge.  It’s hard though.

    Couple celebrating 30th Anniversary – Punk Rocker from Taiwan – Loud Woman on her cell phone – Utah – Munich – Blind Guy with Brother

    On our first day we met an older woman from Australia and she was walking alone.  She said she was slow but could go far.  I’ve thought of her every day since. Particularly on the days where I was struggling, when the weather was bad or the trail was tough. I hope she is still out there. I wish I had gotten her contact info.  I’m worried for her.  This isn’t easy.

    Spanish Six – Curly Redhead – Irish Hiking Club – Scotland – Tattoo Girl – Phoenix – Lost Lady

    In just a few days we will reach Sarria, 100km from Santiago.  We know the Camino will change at this point and we feel sad about it.  Here is where we will be joined by hundreds of pilgrims who only walk the final 100km.  I know the experience will be different starting here and I expect not as serene.  It will also be odd to suddenly be surrounded by fresh new pilgrims we don’t know.  I hope our comrades aren’t lost in the shuffle.

    Seattle – Grey Couple – Slow Walkers – Coug – Hawks Fan –

    What do others call us I wonder?

    We all are here for different reasons with different goals, life experiences and expectations.  But we all share one name in common;

    Pilgrim.

    Buen Camino.

    Miles walked 375. Miles to go 114.

     

     

     

     

    Everything Else Fabulous

    Let It Blow

    Let it Blow. Holy cow it has been so windy here. I began to think maybe this is just the way it is in this little southwest corner of Portugal.

    My hat took flight

    The palm trees laid low

    The sand whirled about

    The sailors wanted to go

     

    My laundry dried in minutes

    The flags Snapped and whipped

    The waves made a statement

    The windsurfer dipped and flipped

     

    My hair is a rats nest

    This wind is so strong

    But the forecast says it’s temporary

    In two days it will be long gone

     

    Okay I can wait –

     

     

     

     

    Everything Else Fabulous

    The Care Package

    Chapter Nine

    I’m getting used to not having access to the things I use regularly back in the USA from deodorant to peanut butter.  But with the arrival of my mother-in-law we took possession of a whole lot of items we’ve been missing. It was like Christmas when she dumped out her bag.  In fact, her suitcase was full of our things – more than her own!

    In the past couple of months we have ordered things online and shipped them to my sister who delivered them to my mom in law. She has also done some shopping for us. And my friend Sonja went and bought me a collapsible colander!  What a treat!

    The things we wanted included –

    • Powdered Gatorade
    • solid stick Deodorant
    • Giant bottle of Ibuprofen
    • Tylenol Sinus Medicine
    • Hiking socks
    • Crossword puzzle books
    • One lightweight sleeping bag (for the Camino)
    • Can Opener
    • Collapsible Colander
    • Contact lenses
    • Prescriptions
    • Refill for Gillette woman’s razor
    • New heads for our battery operated toothbrushes
    • Travel books (Australia and Bali)
    • Camino passport
    • Bed bug spray for Camino
    • Updated credit cards
    • Camera lens for the iPhone
    • Freezer bags
    • One cardigan sweater (that I regretted sending home in February)

    When Lynn leaves we plan to ship some things home with her as well. Even though we already shipped a box home, the longer we are gone the more we have honed down the clothes, shoes and miscellaneous other items we don’t need or want on the Grand Adventure.  So she will take home some long pants and long sleeves shirts and a few other clothing items, my green Chucks, our water bladders that go in our backpacks,  a few gifts and cookbooks we have purchased and a few miscellaneous other things.

    Simplify.

    Despite taking possession of all the items mentioned above, we still believe we will be lighter and more sharply appointed for our minimal needs.

    A big thank you to Everyone who helped get us these goodies!  Our comrades!

    The journey continues!

     

    Everything Else Fabulous

    It’s My Life, Not My Vacation

    Some things just gotta get done.

    Some things just need doing, even on the Grand Adventure. We can’t ignore certain things. It’s a reminder that this is our life, not our vacation.

    Back home I had a manicure and eyebrow wax every three weeks and a pedicure every two months.  As we move around the world it’s been a valuable lesson for me to learn to do these things on my own, both saving time and money. Although I hate plucking my eyebrows – but I try.

    But every three or so months I pay to have a professional get me waxed, buffed and polished and it is so very nice. Here in Croatia I even had a facial, my first in over a year.

    This week we also had our teeth cleaned.  It had been 8 months since I saw my dentist in Gig Harbor and I was ready! I found a dentist close to our house and we paid $60 cash.  It was way more painful than any cleaning I’ve ever had in the states. She used a grinding tool which probably isn’t approved in the US. Hurt like hell! Bright shiny smile!

    Next week Arne will need to find somewhere to have his final tetanus shot, six months after the dog bite in Thailand.  We feel lucky that experience wasn’t worse and that we have as yet had no other visits to the emergency room.

    Laundry is always needing to be washed and groceries need to be purchased and meals made.  Just like home.  We still gotta sweep, clean the toilet and wash the dishes.  We still need to manage our finances and pay our few bills. Always a good reminder this is not a vacation.

    Planning “where to next” is a constant – and not always as fun as it may sound.  Details as we move about the world need to be coordinated, arranged and confirmed.  This is often more time consuming than you might think and can be frustrating.  A part of the life we have chosen and we have developed a system. Currently we are planning our January and February detinatona – a very busy time of year for travel so prices are higher and lots of consideration goes in to our decisions.  Needs to be done though or things fill up and we are out of luck.

    Today we went shopping for new swimsuits.  I bought a suit last June and another in January but when you wear your swimsuit more than any other thing you own they fall apart fast.  So I got a new one today, and so did Arne.  I try not to shop for much, but there are just some things we need to buy from time to time – to keep the Grand Adventure grand. Shopping is not my thing, but hey – I need a swimsuit so…

    It’s an interesting way to live, a constant learning experience.  We are making it work, taking care of the details.   Most days are more about fun and less about work and we try to just go with the flow.   It’s just my life, not my vacation.

    Everything Else Fabulous

    Oh Beautiful

    My first time being out of the USA on the 4th of July. It’s just another day here in Croatia. And like all the other holidays that have passed since we left the country seven months ago, we mark it with a mention but no fanfare.

    The thing I am thinking about today however is my divided country. So very divided.  And I wonder if it will ever be united again? I think about how united we were after September 11th. I think about how much we as a nation have changed since then.

    No matter where I lay my head I am and always will be an American.  I did not embark on the Grand Adventure to get away from America. I’m sad when I hear people abroad making jokes about my country, which they do.  Not to me directly but in conversations I overhear. Sigh.

    America, America God shed his grace on thee.

    Be proud America. Crown thy good with brotherhood. 🇺🇸

     

    Everything Else Fabulous

    To the Camino!

    Training body and soul for the Saint James Way

    For the past month here in Bulgaria I have become very cognizant of everything that goes into my mouth.  I have been cutting back on so many things, including alcohol, as we step up our preparedness for our 500 mile Camino de Santiago hike.

    Nine weeks till lift off.

    We are training for this hike pretty much everyday with our 8-15 mile hikes 3-4 times a week, my 4 mile run 3 times a week as well as yoga daily.

    Eating healthy

    But I knew I needed to do more so I’ve upped the protein and veg and reduced the carbs and sugar  (all easier to do in Bulgaria than in the Seychelles) and drastically cut back on the alcohol.

    Haven’t had a G&T since leaving the Seychelles.  And in this heat that isn’t easy.  We have had a little beer and some wine but only when we dine out.

    Hiking several times a week.

    Clearly this reduces calories and also saves money.  But mostly I am striving to be in my best possible condition nine weeks from now – both body and soul.  Because the most important thing is to avoid injury or sickness on the trail.  So starting out healthy is key. And being mentally and emotionally ready for the journey is important too.

    Although I am not a particularly religious person, I’m excited for the spiritual journey that is the Camino de Santiago.  I read a lot about pilgrims on the Camino and everyone’s experience is different.  For me spirituality is staying present and grateful all while opening myself to new and sometimes a bit frightening experiences.  I can do it .

    We purchased some scallop shells the other day to

    Urban hiking in Old Town Sozopol

    hang from our packs marking us as pilgrims.  This is tradition and says “Buen Camino” to others.  We expect to meet  and greet a lot of  pilgrims.  This too will be a new exercise for us, as we spend the majority of our days right now only with each other.  The Camino is a community in which we will participate for five or six weeks.

    This too will take practice in the weeks ahead.

    Camino ready!  Focused now and preparing for the challenge. Fab and Fearless.