Thursday, September 29, 2016

Trekcapri's Camino de Santiago: Hiking the Pyrenees Part I

It was a storybook start to fulfill a dream of mine to walk the Camino de Santiago. I arrived as planned (albeit over packed) in the small picturesque French town of Saint Jean Pied de Port, the start of the Camino Frances route. Met some lovely pilgrims on the way, arranged for my post Camino items and miscellaneous stuff to be transported on to Santiago de Compostela for me, had some good wine, a delicious meal and great company. It was just about perfect.

 

I had an extra day in SJPDP to help acclimate and on September 21, 2016, I took my first steps on the Camino. It was a beautiful clear day and even the 4-legged locals were out to greet me. I was feeling great.



This was the beginning of my steep and relentless up hill hike to Refugio Orisson. With every turn I kept expecting to see the Hostal or at least some flat terrain. It was not to be. There were more hills, some of which were steeper than the one you just climbed. 

In the mist of the pain and agony I couldn't help but to marvel at the beautiful landscape and my accomplishments. I'm hiking the Pyrenees.

View from Orisson
The people who run the Albergue and the pilgrims I met were wonderful and the view was just stunning. At night you can hear the cow bells outside our room (horses and sheep have them too), and it helps me to overlook the snoring. It's all in the Camino experience they say which I can appreciate, but I had probably 30 minutes of solid sleep the whole night. 

I loved the communal dinner where we shared our names and where we are from.  A young girl from Liverpool (who sounds like the Beatles, two girls from Ireland, a girl from Israel, a couple from Ireland, a girl from San Diego and a 72 year old woman from Sweden doing her 2nd Camino (my hero), a mother and son from Minnesota (originally from Hawaii)


The pilgrim's life is simple. You walk, you shower, you was your next day's clothes (in hopes that it dries), you share a very brief Post dinner chat and then you go to bed by 9:00 am. Breakfast is  at 7:00 am to 7:30 am.



The Dream Lives On . . .  Buen Camino!
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Friday, September 16, 2016

Trekcapri's Camino de Santiago: Every Journey Begins With the First Step

Tomorrow, I will embark on the Journey of a lifetime.  What first started out as a "Dream" will soon become a reality. In the morning, I will leave my comfy bed, my car and my fast internet service here at home to walk an ancient pilgrimage called the "Camino de Santiago (Wikipedia), also known as the Way of St. James.  

I will start in the small French town of St. Jean Pied de Port at the foot of the Pyrenees. From there I will walk 790 kilometers (close to 500 miles) through four of Spain's 15 Regions to the town of Santiago de Compostela which is where the remains of Saint James is buried. 

There are several other routes for this spiritual pilgrimage, but I will be taking the most popular one called the Camino Frances (The French Way) as seen on the famous movie, The Way, with Martin Sheen and Emilio Esteves.

I've been planning and preparing for my Camino for the last two years and I still don't feel prepared. Recently, I told a perfect stranger about my Camino when they asked if I had any travel plans. When I told them I'm excited, but that I don't feel prepared. This person shrugged that off and said that I'll do just fine, it sounds exciting.  It's walking. You'll have a lot of fun. Just then I realized that in the mist of stressing over my preparations, I had forgotten what an amazing experience my Camino will be.  I realized that I have done all that I can do to prepare and that worrying about what I can or cannot control was beginning to take away from the excitement and joy of looking forward to my journey. The Camino lesson in all of this is "to let go, live in the present and enjoy each moment to the fullest".

Some people are born with natural athletic abilities to make such a trip easy, just like some people are born with the natural talents to write classical symphonies. And then there are some who are not.  It is true that I'm not the fittest nor the fastest and I can't come close to writing a classical symphony, so I'm not sure how I'll do or even if I will be able to finish. But what I do know is that I have always tried to live my life and will go beyond my fears to do so. What I lack in natural physical abilities, I feel like I can make up in other attributes like having a strong desire to live my dreams, my faith in God to help guide the way for me and my determination to not give up.  Before I leave tomorrow, I wanted to contemplate on all the things I have going on in my mind and heart and what I hope to experience:
  • my faith in God 
  • my faith in myself
  • the support of my family and friends
  • my belief in the Camino pilgrimage and all the life lessons that it provides  
  • spiritual/religious strengthening
  • the opportunity for self discovery
  • the opportunity to let go of some of the regret's in my life & to ask for forgiveness 
  • the celebration of my new found freedom as a retired person after 41 years of being in the work force 
  • my desire to full fill my dream of walking the 500 miles Camino de Santiago pilgrimage
Will I complete the 500 miles? I don't know. I will leave it in God's hands. All I know is that I would forever regret it if I didn't at least try.  And with that perspective in mind I feel like I have already fulfilled my Camino de Santiago dreams by taking my first step on the Camino Frances Route in the small town of St. Jean-Pied-de-Port.

I plan on blogging and tweeting along the way and on some of my other social media sites.  You can find the links to them by clicking on my Camino de Santiago Page located on the tab at the top of my blog or on the side bar. Follow along as I embark on writing my classical symphony entitled, "Trekcapri's Camino de Santiago, A Journey of Reflections & Gratitude."

I am definitely very thankful to have the opportunity to go on pilgrimage to walk the Camino de Santiago.  And whether or not I complete it, I am very proud of myself for trying and for living my life.  Before I go to bed, I'll say this little prayer and have faith that God will keep me safe, healthy (physically and spirituality) and inspired on this Camino journey.

May the road rise up to meet you, 
May the wind be always at your back. 
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rain fall soft upon your fields. 
And until we meet again, 
may God hold you in the palm of his hand. 
May the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son 
and Holy Spirit descend on you.
~ Celtic Blessing

To keep myself motivated, I did this cool word art a while back. I love it. I will say these words to myself as I walk.


And you know I had to do it. Here is my traditional trip announcement video for my Camino de Santiago pilgrimage:




The Dream Lives On . . .  Buen Camino!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Trekcapri's Camino de Santiago: A Journey of Reflections & Gratitude

I have only 24 days more to go before I leave on my Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.  I have named this trip "A Journey of Reflections & Gratitude.  My traditional Trip Announcment Video, will posted closer to my departure date. Meanwhile, here's a look at my newly created trip logo. :) 


Why do I deal with the dry dust in my mouth,
the mud on my aching feet, 
the lashing rain and the glaring sun on my skin?
Because of the beautiful towns?
Because of the food?
No. Because I was summoned!

~ Anonymous Camino de Santiago Pilgrim 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Trekcapri's Camino de Santiago: Bad Ass Pilgrim

On my 4th trip, I gasped for air and paused 5 steps from the top!  The Redondo Beach stairs are used by many locals for their fitness training. I'm using them for my Camino Training.  


As I finally reached the top, a girl who was watching me cheered "Bad Ass" and then lifted her hand to invite an encouraging high 5 with me. I laughed, thanked her and gave her a high 5! And so was born my favorite Camino Training phrase, Bad Ass Pilgrim!  I enjoy staying inspired in a fun and kooky kind of way while training. :)

By the way I am now only 28 days until I leave for my Camino. Packing is still a work in progress and my training and trip preparations are ongoing.

If you want to catch your dreams, 
you have to drop your fears.
~ Anton Rubaclini

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Retirement Countdown: My New Fun List

All my life I've created several life lists for myself. We've heard of these terms before . . . . My Bucket List, My Laundry List, My To Do List and My Must See list.  As a retiree I think I’m going to create a FUN list to my list of lists. Ha Ha!  Every Retiree should have one!

My new "fun" list will also include some not so fun things like my declutter projects and selling more unused items on ebay.  So why are these on my fun list . . . well because they are things I need to do and what makes them fun is I don’t have any deadlines to complete them and I can do them anytime I have time to do them, meaning I don’t have to squeeze them in on weekends when I’m not working.  

My fun list will be unrestricted , constantly moving and evolving. They will come in all shapes and sizes and they will weave in and out and through my daily life with no rhyme, reason or structure.   

There will be no time deadlines, no stress, no pressures, no set way of completing them and most important of all, doing them is get this . . . optional.  

Thursday, June 23, 2016

It's Official!

It's official!  I filed my retirement papers yesterday and as of July 23, 2016 I will be free!  It's been a very long 32 years but it's time for a brand new chapter in my life and I can't wait!  Whoo hoo!

And what would a big announcement from me be without one of my signature big announcement Videos! LOL



Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day: On The Camino

The scallop shell is an important symbol of the Camino de Santiago. Legend has it that after Saint James' death, his disciples shipped his body to the Iberian Peninsula to be buried in what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.  A heavy storm hit the ship and the body of Saint James was lost at sea.  After a period of time, the body washed ashore undamaged and covered in scallop shells. 

For the modern day pilgrims, the scallop shell is seen along the trails to help guide the way for pilgrims. It is also carried by pilgrims (typically tied on their backpacks) as a sign of their pilgrimage.The shell is seen as a metaphor for the camino pilgrimage where the grooves in the shell come together at a single point, representing the different routes pilgrims can take to the tomb of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela.

Today, my heart goes out to a very special father, Mr. Larry Fagan.  His daughter, Tammie Fagan is a former co-worker of mine and a good friend. With the help of his loving family he is battling cancer. My prayers and thoughts go out to Mr. Fagan on this Father's Day and to his family.

As I did on Mother's Day, I have added my Dad's name to my Camino shell.  I don't know what my dad would've thought about me doing this pilgrimage. Like my mother, I think he would be supportive, smile and then tell me to just be careful. Love and miss them both!

I know how important prayers from others were to me when my parents were sick and I want to send some love and prayers to others who need them now as well.


And I thought it would be cool to write the names of my sister and her family on my shell so I can take them along with me on the Camino all the way to Santiago de Compostela.

To my dad who is looking down from heaven, a very special Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day Everyone.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day


My mom had a beautiful smile and a big heart. She also had an adventurous spirit and I know that she would have approved of my Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage.

Although I know that she'll be with me in spirit every step of the way as I make my way to Santiago de Compostela, I decided to also write her name on the back of my Camino shell.   


Happy Mother's Day, Mom
With all my love always. 

Wishing everyone a very Happy Mother's Day!


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Retirement Countdown: To Be Re-Born Again

The more I think about it, the more I'm beginning to feel that retirement is almost like being re-born again. As a child I remember that I always enjoyed hopping on my bike and riding around the neighborhood. I would try different routes and ride further out each time, just because I could. It was the lure of discovery and it was the excitement of the adventure.

Being in a structured work environment for the past 32 years leaves very little room for flexibility, freedom and creativity. Sure, my recent travels have given me little slices of that adventurous freedom, but those precious moments have been few and far between.  I miss that child who lived life each day with wonder, that child who enjoyed going for a ride to somewhere new and exciting and that child who had boundless energy with no fear of the unknown.  

In my retirement years I have a laundry list of things I want to do, accomplish and to experience.  Who doesn't?  But at the top of my list, I really want to recapture that child's sense of freedom, that spirit of wonder and adventure and that love of finding new discoveries.   

And it's not always going to be about the big grand adventure that excites me, it's going to also be about the "little" things. One day I was talking to my sister about a recent hike I did. I found myself being excited about telling her that I discovered a new route on the trails? There is real excitement in discovering a new hiking route, reading a cool book, learning a new photography technique and yes even writing a new blog post.  :)  In this new chapter of my life I want to make sure that I savor each moment, each new discovery and each emotion.  

I can't wait for that child to hop right back on that bike again and to ride off to wherever life takes her. 

The Dream Lives On . . . 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

American Idol: The Final Curtain


It's hard to believe that tonight is the last American Idol show! And it's even harder to believe that this is my first as well as my last American Idol blog post!

I started faithfully watching the audition shows with every intention of watching and blogging weekly about the contestants and the competition.  Unfortunately, with a couple of upcoming events happening this year for me (Retirment and my Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage), it has been crazy busy for me to tune in each week.  And it didn't feel right to blog about the show without that 100% commitment to watching each and every performance.  With that said, I knew that I had to write at least one post before the final curtain falls.  

This week we watched as producers, judges and past contestants talked about their Idol experiences. They talked about how American Idol has had such a big impact on their lives, on the music industry and on the lives of so many of its fans.  The show produced so many successful alums to include Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Scotty McCreery and Carrie Underwood.  

I am so thankful to American Idol and to everyone involved with the show for giving us so many great memories, amazing music and most importantly for showing us that Dreams can and do come true!

I have been watching the show this week, including last night's performances between two very talented contestants, La'Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon.  And here's my review:

Treant Harmon sang If You Don't Know Me By Now - I thought Treant did a wonderful job.

La'Porsha Renae sang A House Is Not a Home - This was a brilliant performance and my favorite of the night. She was smooth, soulful and she did Luther's song justice and then some.

Treant Harmon sang Chandelier, and this was his best performance of the night.  Keith Urban complemented Treant on his vocal transitions and his falsetto and JLo felt he should be the winner based on this performance.

La'Porsha sang Diamonds by Rihanna - Loved her performance and so did the judges and audience. Tears flowed down her cheeks as the crowd chanted her name. It was an emotional moment.

I remember La'Porsha from the audition shows and loved her in the beginning and love her now.  And in her own words, I think it would be fun to see American Idol end where it first began . . . with a female winner.  A winner who also happens to be the contestant who gave the best performances and earned the right to be crowned this final season's American Idol winner. Even Kelly Clarkson (who before last night has never voted for a contestant) said that she intends to vote for La'Porsha to win.  I agree and so this is how I voted.


I'm not sure who will win tonight but I think we are all winners for having had American Idol in our lives for so long.  Thank you!  And to my fellow American Idol fans, AnnieNC, FoxVegas, Menehune, SandraC, Marta and so many more of my fellow bloggers who took the time to read my posts, for also sharing your reviews and for commenting on my blog about the competition and wonderful talent that we were so lucky to enjoy.  And now I'll sign off so I can sit back and enjoy tonight's show.

And that's my final American Idol Recap.  Keep on Rocking AI . . .