The Do’s & Dont’s of Walking the Camino de Santiago

Taking a break from finances today to talk about my other passion – travel!  This is a continuation of my guest post So You Want To Hike the Camino De Santiago published today at GoCurryCracker.com.  If you are interested in knowing the In’s & Out’s of walking the camino, please hop over there to check it out.  If you’re interested in the Do’s & Don’ts, keep reading….

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Points along my 2013 Camino

Of all the lessons I have learned in life, I have learned the most from my mistakes.  The Camino De Santiago was no different.  It took a failed first attempt to wisen me up before being able to successfully complete the 500 mile hike multiple times since.  Today’s lesson is for you to learn what to do and what not to do before ever setting foot on the trail so, unlike me, you can be a first time success.  You’re welcome in advance.  🙂

First, a brief bit of history…

The Camino De Santiago is an ancient footpath in Spain with many starting points but only one ending point, Santiago De Compostela (SDC).  The history of  The Camino dates back to the middle ages when it was once (and still for some) used as a pilgrimage to the visit the remains of St. James The Apostle, located in SDC.  Since then it has also been used as punishment for thieves, bragging rights for Kings and Queens, and more recently, for historical, spiritual, or tourist related purposes.

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Now, I don’t pretend to be an expert on hiking nor on the camino itself, but the following are tips that I have picked up over my past 5 camino’s.  I hope you find them useful!  🙂

The Do’s & Dont’s of Hiking the Camino De Santiago

First, the DON’TS:

1.   DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE – this one should be easy for most but let me break it down just in case there is any doubt… Continue reading “The Do’s & Dont’s of Walking the Camino de Santiago”

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Lola, Landlording, & Life

It’s been a while, ladies and gents!!  Let me give you a quick catch up before we can move on to the latest…

AUGUST

  1. PORTLAND – Far Away Friends, Couchsurfing, & Lola Retreat!

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE the Pacific Northwest?  I DO!!  Many moons ago I lived in Ashland OR and, looking back over the years, I still consider it one of those magical times in my life where my surroundings had the ability to refresh and energize me.  The trees, mountains, and clean air (compared to city life, that is) were a true delight.  Every time I am back, I feel right at home…

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Born Treehugger

I arrived in Portland a day before Lola Retreat so I could meet up with my friend, Angela.  Angela and I met in 2013 while hiking the first ever European Peace Walk (EPW).   The hike itself was tough, but the friendships made on that trip were solidified by an unspoken bond that only happens when you hike painfully long days in excruciating heat across 6 countries with little-to-no route information.  Such a BLAST!!  🙂 Since then, I have met several of my US-based EPW buddies on work overnights, some met me in Spain to hike, and last year while on vacation, I met Angela in her home town of Dublin.  It was only proper that I meet her when she visited the states.

We made our plans a week before Lola but when I checked for accommodations I realized the downside of our timing – the fucking solar eclipse!  NOOOOOOOO!!!  As awesome a sight for many, this “once in a lifetime” event put a damper on our plans…until we consulted Couchsurfing.  Now, I have stayed in a ton of random places during my travels (barns, old classrooms, churches, monasteries), but I have never Couchsurfed for fear of being murdered in my sleep.  I am happy to say that fear is now gone…and it was so easy!  Not only were our hosts super accommodating, they were also very informative (all for $0!!!).  They told us about a local hike called the 4-T Trail.

Continue reading “Lola, Landlording, & Life”

Spreading the FIRE

As a flight attendant, there are no two things more important than your base and your seniority.  The base becomes your home and your seniority gives you access to the best trips and vacation weeks possible.  For a few years now, my seniority in Chicago has been stagnant due to the droves of flight attendants jumping ship from MDW (Chicago Midway Airport) in favor of the DEN base.  To add insult to injury, DEN has been voted Best Base 4 years running (dethroning MDW from our own winners streak) and has quickly become the more junior base.  What does that mean for me?  My decent seniority in MDW would be muuuuch better if I too took the DEN bait.  Hmmmm…  In early July, I decided to jump a flight to Denver to see what all the hullabaloo was about.  Maybe I too would jump ship.

Let me start by saying, I love the mountains and all the fresh water lakes that they create.  I also love the oudoorsy life and all it has to offer including the fresh air, camping, hiking, kayaking, swimming.  With the exception of skiing (grace is not a word best used to describe me), I love it all!  The closest I ever got to that type of lifestyle was when I worked in the ski shop at a resort in Ashland, OR.  Being surrounded by the mountains and their constant unrelenting beauty, made me feel alive.  In that regard, Denver didn’t disappoint…

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Breathtaking, right?!

After a few days I decided that as much as I loved Denver and all it has to offer (and despite the urging of my DEN friends), I have no plans to move at this juncture. 🙂  Instead, I made a mental tally of the things I liked (Happy Hour, dog friendliness, mountains, outdoorsy peeps) and didn’t like (altitude sickness, cost of living, car dependency) in the event I decide to revisit the DEN base idea in the future.  But don’t worry, folks, this trip was not for nothing.   I’m happy to report I did accomplish something while I was away…

Anita

While visiting, I had the pleasure of staying with my dear friend, Anita.  I spoke about Anita in my last post, how we met through a volunteer trip in Thailand, but I failed to mention we are the SAME EXACT person…minus the fact I am 10 years her senior.  Up until now, our lives have followed similar paths including adventures in real estate, travel, and flight attending. While both of us have no children, we are both dating men in their mid 40’s with teenagers (I happen to live with mine, she doesn’t).  We are both entrepreneurs in various outlets, and love to create new streams of income.  We don’t eat meat, though she is vegan and I a pescatarian.  We both relate to our spiritual sides more than religious.  She has solo traveled all over the world, as have I.  She cranes her head out the window to yell at people riding in horse-drawn carriages on a sweltering city street (witnessed by my own eyes in Golden, CO) and I yell at people who leave their dogs unattended in hot cars.  We both love animals, after all.  😉

Oh, and we are both complete dorks.  But that’s beside the point.

During my stay I was able to catch a small glimpse of Anita’s life in Denver and, ever more fascinating to me, her overall spending habits.  This is where I discovered one glaring difference between us.  She is a spender, ya’ll. Continue reading “Spreading the FIRE”

Make The First Move

Today on the plane I opened a chocolate and was greeted with this message:

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This could mean anything, right?  Depending on where you are in your life, “Make the first move” could be aimed at your love life, a project at work, or something else completely.  It could mean that it is the time to stop procrastinating and start doing.  In fact, that is exactly what it meant for me.  And last week I FINALLY made the first move.

This past Friday I told my boyfriend, John, that I am moving out of our place and back to my city condo for the month of August.  In an effort to keep this post as short and sweet as my chocolate message (my first attempt was 3k words!), I won’t go into the intricate details of what led me to this decision, but I will tell you that it took MONTHS to get to this point.  Though it sounds counterproductive, I needed a certain amount of discomfort to push me out of my comfort zone.  Last week I hit it.  And then the rest miraculously fell into place.

First, a bit of back story… Continue reading “Make The First Move”

Why I Travel Despite It Delaying FI

Some would argue that we have everything we need in our own backyard and, for those some, that may be true.  If you have had the great honor of meeting your mate, having a child, and/or retiring in a home you love with a community you are involved in, you very well may have won the game of life and may not feel the need to search further.  You have cultivated your own utopia and are completely content with your surroundings.  If that is you, I give you my most sincerest congratulations.  I, on the other hand, am not quite there.  My seeds are still being sowed.  🙂

Last week I tweeted about my gypsy soul and my homebody nature always being at odds with one another.  From the responses, it seems I am not alone.  This is a constant battle I fight within myself.  While I appreciate all that I have, my ideas for utopia and my reality are not quite matched up.  Some of that is work related, a fair portion is timing, and some other shit I have brought on myself.  I love the idea of “home” and being completely settled…I can even picture what it looks like in my head!  But a life of contentment takes a certain amount of polishing.  It takes time to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.  It takes time to build that tribe around you.  And it takes freedom to fully explore the ideal life outside of the glimpse you get before or after work.

All that being said, I can’t pretend that once I find “home” I won’t still be tempted to travel.  Because travel does more for me and my insight than any book in the world can.  I’m one of those weirdos who needs to actually touch and feel something to have it make an impact.

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Few books would have included this fabulous street art on a random wall in Cuba.  Even if they had, could they also describe the wet heat of the pavement or the smells emanating from the gutter while lingering to take it all in.  Guess you had to be there!  😉

While I don’t often write about my travels, they are always being planned or occurring behind the scenes.  For someone who writes about money, that may seem counterproductive.  And I get it. Continue reading “Why I Travel Despite It Delaying FI”