Sunday, May 12, 2019

Weighed Down and Letting Go of the Burdens

Sam on a 5.5 mile hike this past Friday.

I've been thinking so much about the actual Camino experience.  Not the preparation or talking about it but the actual doing it.  I think it's going to have lots of letting go.  Letting go of the way we imaging it will be.  Letting go of our struggles that weigh us down so that we can be freed up for whatever lies ahead.  It's going to be about taking it one step at a time and just showing up.

We are 16 days away from leaving the country and heading to Europe.  I'm both really excited and really nervous.  It is daunting to think about walking 540 miles in a foreign land with a ten year old.  But when I think about just taking a little adventuresome walk with Sam for just one day it seems so much more doable.  After all we are walking one day at a time.  We are actually going to divide our days into segments so we will just be doing 2 - 3 walks lasting 2 - 3 hours each.  Walking for 8 weeks sounds impossible, but we walk 2 hours like it's nothing.  That's what we are going to keep doing from here on out.

I think we are preparing as best we can.  Last night we slept in our sleeping bags with eye masks.  We are trying to use all of the clothing and items we will take ahead of time--towels and soap, for example.  It's easy to get bogged down in the little stuff.  Is 3 pairs of socks enough?  Do we get a European sim card here or when we arrive?  Should we be planning more of our route or just allow it unfold naturally?  Do we have all of our paperwork?  There are loads of things to think about.  This can be a burden.  We are trying to squeeze so much into the next 2 weeks!

If you're local please join us this Saturday, May 18, noon - 4 p.m. for a Farewell Fiesta.  More details are HERE!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Couch to Camino

Disclaimer:  This is in no way advice for others.  Everyone should see a doctor before making lifestyle changes.  This is my journey.

So I sat on the couch for most of January.  Eating leftover Christmas cookies and making art.  And then one day I thought, "This is not going to get me over the Pyrenees Mountains or finishing over 500 miles of hiking!"

I was super self conscious about my lack of fitness, but I knew the only way to change that was to start moving.  I started walking in the mall after I dropped Sam off at school a couple mornings a week.  Yep, I became a mall walker.  I was slow and steady--just one foot in front of the other.

Then in mid February we started our "long" weekend hikes.  We started with 1.6 miles.  It was cold, rainy, and snowy that first day.  We invited others to join us, but we weren't surprised when we were alone.  If I wasn't worried about making it over the mountains and walking 10 - 12 miles a day for 2 months I wouldn't have been out there either.

The next step was finally showing up at the Y.  The goal there was to gain cardio endurance and core strength.  I was given a plan to work by a very kind young woman, and I showed up.  Sometimes that's the hardest part!  I showed up 3 - 4 times a week for the next couple months.  I felt less foolish and self conscious.  I actually started to take my weighted backpack once or twice a week--usually 14 - 16 pounds on the stair stepper and then to the treadmill for a couple of walking miles--which seems really easy after 20 + minutes of stair climbing!

Our weekend hikes have become longer.  We have varied the amount of hills, number of miles, length of time we stay out.  We've been able to use the time to try out a bunch of gear, too--packs, water bottles and water bladders, trekking poles, socks, shoes, rain gear, hats, sunglasses, underwear (super important to avoid chaffing!), and performance wear pants, shirts, and hoodies.  We've been out in a variety of weather from snow and 30s to rain in 40s - 50s, and sun into the 70s.

I'm not going to focus on the stuff we didn't do because some stuff didn't work for us.  This is OUR camino.  It will be as unique as we are.  I thought we would do more long hikes--12 miles, but instead we have done loads of 6 - 8 miles hikes.  From here my thought is we will do a 6 - 8 mile hike then have lunch, followed by a 4 - 6 mile hike.  I believe are well prepared for this.

And I could not end this without telling you that yoga and stretching have been an essential part of this process for me.  I feel as grateful for yoga as I did when I first discovered it.  Pigeon is opening and relaxing my hips in a beautiful way.  Lots of work on my back in reclined twists, bridge, happy baby, rocking, legs up the wall to name a few.  I am not taking a yoga mat, but I'm sure I will do tons of stretching along the way.

There are a few weeks left, and I don't know for sure that this is going to be enough, but I do know that we have prepared while keeping it fun most of the time.  I feel strong and hopeful that this camino is ours and we have been walking it for a few months now--since the day I decided to get off the couch!  Buen camino!

Three Week Count Down

We leave 3 weeks from tomorrow.  I feel both some panic and excitement.  I think that's probably how a person is supposed to feel when they are taking there child along with them on a fairly extreme trip.

This morning after I took Sam to school I went to the Y to workout.   I did not take my pack, and everything seemed smoother and easier than it has.  I used the stair master a level higher for the full 20 minutes.  I added weights on 3 of the machines I use.  I'm feeling confident and strong today! 

When I arrived home I received an amazingly thoughtful and generous package in the mail from a veteran pilgrim and new friend.

I'm searching for all the small pouches I own to keep things organized in my pack. 

I'm planning for our going away party.

I'm working on an extensive to do list.

I'm feeling so much gratitude as I tick off the very long list of names of people who have made it possible for us to get to this point.  I'm overwhelmed by the names of old friends and new friends who have all been part of the preparation part of this adventure.

I think this is exactly how 3 weeks out is supposed to look at feel for me.  While I'm gaining physical strength and confidence I'm also moving inward toward my thoughts and heart.  This is already a deeply moving experience.  I am continuing the journey.

And Sam. . .

He had a great time leading the way, talking a great deal, and showing no whining while we trained this weekend. 

He also has been tender.  I know he is evolving, too, but without the mature vocabulary to assign it.  So when he cried hard last night about the death of his beloved beta fish, Waffles, I knew there was more.  I just stayed present and silent.  Change is always hard for him.  Loss and disappointment overwhelm in an honest way that I prefer to avoid.  I wonder how much of his growth this summer will be when I can be present and silent. 

Sam has a wisdom that takes my breath away.  He is the logical pessimist to my impulsive optimist.  We often use humor to meet in the middle.  I believe humor will get us through the tough times.

Weighed Down and Letting Go of the Burdens

Sam on a 5.5 mile hike this past Friday. I've been thinking so much about the actual Camino experience.  Not the preparation or tal...