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Burgos, Spain…today!

That's how I'm ending my long travel day and 10kms walking all around Burgos. Simple dining alfresco from my hotel room now…

Buen Camino and goodnight!

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Getting to ONE’s next Camino…

1 day away…then here!

Love those relaxing Saturday mornings at home.

This Saturday was special.

Coffee. Cool weather. Cereal. No humidity. Yogurt with honey, blueberries, strawberries, and granola. More coffee. No TV. Chocolate chip pancakes. NYTimes. A sweet morning for 4, 2 boys and 2 parents. Mom goes for a run. Dad goes to Kinko's too anally retentively copy his passport, credit cards, and other id documents.

Sweet last hour of lunch on our patio and customizing messages on stones.

Prayers too. Then, we load up for the airport.

We are there 2 hours before my fight. One hour less than recommended. It was fine.

Hugs. Kisses. Love you's. Texts of well wishes and Love. All good. Really. Great.

Breeze through security and I'm roaming around my gate and concourse.

Then, my Camino officially began. Tap. Tap. And, two nice gents, long-time pals, just stopped me in international concourse to ask about my Camino out of the blue. They noticed my backpack shell. It begins here, it seems. Unbridled friendliness, curiosity, and quick fellowship, before we all 3 take on our Camino's (theirs from St. Jean in France). That wonderful tap on my shoulder ended with handshakes and, of course, "Buen Camino!"

I can almost taste Spain after that.

Suffice it to say, this flight is not Air France. Delta is fine. Just enough. Adequate. Our last trip to Spain went through Paris and it showed. This one went through Atlanta and it shows. Even sleeping on this flight lacks in potential for recharge, relative to the French. C'est la vie.

On our plane, a lovely college girl named Jessica plops down beside me. She's heading to Madrid to intern with disabled kids. Good for her. Plans to graduate on a six year plan after changing majors. She's young. Plenty of time to figure that out. She reminds me of our
girls, especially when she curls up on the two seats reserved for both of us , as I gave up mine to cross the aisle for more room for both of us. Much to the displeasure of a young man who thought that he could make a sofa out of three mid-plane seats. Sorry, Charlie. You might just have to sleep upright or leaning into the middle seat like a grown-up flying to Spain. FYI. It's not even 6pm, my friend.

Even after cocktails, I'm jazzed, finished a Doc about stand-up comedians, and I'm blogging. And dinner is on it's way. Smells good, but we shall see.

Before and after the big reveal….

Okay. Delta veg lasagna tastes good. The rest. Ick. Cheesy lasagna is just fine.

Back to #MyComfyCamino …it's here. Nighttime over the Atlantic. Delta folks just killed the cabin lights. I guess mom said that we are all supposed to sleep now. Hmmmmm… nope. Not me. Watching or listening to another stand-up comedian and I'm fine. Just sayin'. Okay. Okay. Mom, I'm just blogging again!!!! And falling asleep. Never was good at all-nighters.

Made it to Burgos…next post will just let my pictures and videos do the talking, from walking into Burgos from the nearby bus station to my AC Hotel by Marriott, to my walking tour and 3 tapas & wine stops for under €15 combined. Pulpo (€3), seafood combo (€2), and 3-course (€7)…all three with vino tinto.

Can't you just taste Spain????

Ultreia!!

Camino 2017 looking good to start…

Just a day away from flying off and just an overnight to arrive in Madrid Sunday morn then here by early afternoon….

Not a bad start at all. No Meseta highs over 90 degrees f in August.

The Camino provides.

All packed here and ready…

I am so ready to get there and discover new places, people, and experiences of Spain and many other countries. That is a given on any Camino. You just need to be ready and open to the unknowns.

I am. Just stay tuned.

Next big adventure is almost here and will be shared here, of Facebook, Vimeo, and YouTube as wifi allows.

Buen Camino!

Cheers!

And, Ultreia!

Camino 2017 packing peek with Max

Our youngest's take on my Camino packing…Just trying to keep it light folks…Max jumps in and offers a quick summary of my Camino backpack & daypack contents…only three more days until Burgos!

My Comfy Camino….

There. I said (typed) it.

My next Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain begins this weekend. Two years ago, I went to Europe for the first time, at age 47, at my oldest daughter's request. Not a pure holiday. But three weeks of travel and mostly walking 300+ kilometers from Leon to Santiago in northern Spain. I did it for her. Then, I did it for me.

It was exciting, mind-altering, simple, delicious, relaxing, entertaining, and painful too.

My biggest concerns were our health , well-being, safety, and comfort. Our health states were fine. She's an athlete. My big belly was countered by my strong heart & legs, plus irresistible charm. Our well-being was challenged by living each day without certainty about where we would be during and at the end of each day. Sure, I had a great guess via the best guidebook. But, we were winging it daily. Safety was never a real concern. We had each other and our new Camino family was always around us at every stage of our walk. Lastly, how comfy could I make this experience for both of us? After all, we would be in pain at some point. That was a given. How could I position us well to counter the inevitable pain?

Here's my plan then and now:

* start off with a known hotel after a long flight and bus or train ride. AC Hotels by Marriott are my €50-90 choice, with breakfast. Hot showers, clean rooms, and reminders of what you are leaving behind (bigger city comforts) gives me what I need.

* take one expert guidebook (Brierley) with notes from other books and experiences plus one device (IPhone) for writing & communicating where wifi is available

* listen to your body. Drink when thirsty. Eat when hungry. Relax when tired and when some body part is stressed and feeling ways that aren't normal. Nap after every shower.

* find your place, preferably with fun people. You are all in this together, which is "the Camino provides" part. Local Spaniards and fellow pilgrims get you more than you know via body language and simply communicating needs. Water, food, wine, beer, medicine, and help are all around you, even in the middle of nowhere.

* pay extra for comfort, privacy, cleanliness, and maybe a private bathroom. At my age, a clean, quiet (no snoring), safe place is worth the extra cost. No municipal auberges for me. Never. Too crowded, loud, smelly, dirty, and annoying. No thank you. Enjoy, young people and those more liberal than me.

* choose private auberges, pensions, etc. for a few Euros more that pride themselves on comforting the pilgrimage pains and need for peaceful rest. Well worth the cost, in my opinion. We slept only 2 of 18 nights in private aubergue bunk beds – each well-run with fun groups around and outstanding food.

* forget about washing that one set of clothes on a rock. Take 3-4 sets of quick-dry clothes (much easier in the summer months) and find washing & drying equipment or personal services every few days. €5 or so won't break you every few days and you know that they are clean and dry. Plus, your giving back to the Camino economy while saving hours of half-ass laundry drudgery.

* for someone who loves to cook, I stop cooking. Planning and shopping and then cooking is one thing that I leave behind. I let the Camino provide and I budget accordingly. Giving back to those who need it too. It's a win-win and others are glad to do it. Simple, cheap, and delicious…that's my perfect day anywhere that I find myself. Especially on my comfy Camino.

* find your peace everyday. Should be a rule everywhere you go. But, my comfy Camino certainly allows for it, between the usual pains. People, places, and lovely experiences that drown out any negative thoughts, regrets, and realities of life back home. Just be. Alone or not. Just breathe and be.

As we all say, your Camino is yours and yours alone. The above is mine. Not planned out to every detail. Still open to spontaneous moments everyday. But very aware of myself and my basic needs of peaceful rest, relaxation, and recharging after 20-35km walks in the Spanish sunshine.

Keep your Camino and I will keep mine. Always.

Buen Camino….and Ultreia!!!!

Man of a Certain Age is baaaaack!!!!

Out of my winter hibernation, Spring has sprung, and my personal renaissance kicks into high-gear this year of our Lord, 2017!

I’ve made a few drastic and much-needed changes to my diet & activity routines and I feel so much better. Cut out hard booze, minimal meat & salt intake, and back walking long distances as my legs and feet allow.  And, back to my Camino pilgrimage this summer, Burgos to Santiago de Compastella, Spain…and I can hardly wait.   

But, for the here and now…it’s downtown Memphis, where our oldest girl and her hubby live…for now…


Great downtown with music everywhere, lively bars, a speakeasy, the Orphium Theatre, historic sites & destinations, riverside trails to run, bike & walk, quiet spaces, fancy dining to dives like Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken (the best ever) and on and on…we love this booming downtown with lots of young people and their positive energy. 

Just a typical, beautiful, sunny Saturday evening with pizza, salads, Coppola Rosso, cannoli, and great company on and off the patio…


Beale Street is fine to bar hop and enjoy as grown-ups, but Main Street is where it’s at for families and you’re just a couple of blocks from the river trail and green spaces. 

After dinner, we walked about a mile or so to the Loflin Yards beer garden, where ours and many other young kids played cornhole and what looked like a giant beer pong (soccer balls and giant red barrels spaced 15 yards apart) on a huge lawn.  All of the chairs & firepits were taken, as the sun was setting and the temperature was falling.  So, we watched all of the kids go a little crazy with little to no supervision (mom & dad love their Pinot & brew, you know) and a few more of our grown kids friends joined us, bearing another pitcher of a fine, local coffee stout, for even more lively conversation. 


Great kick-off to our latest spring break road-trip, thanks to Bri & Cam!

More to come about our return tour from one end of Tennessee to the other.  

Ciao, for now!

Buen Camino! 

Walking the Camino as a couple

Walking the Camino as a couple By Cathy Seitchik Diaz David and I went to see the documentary, Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago on February 21, 2014. As we left the theater, I said to David, “I want to do this. I want to walk the Camino de Santiago.” At that time, David, not […]

http://thecaminoprovides.com/2016/02/08/walking-the-camino-as-a-couple/

A Tale of Two Pilgrims

A Tale of Two Pilgrims By Daniel DeKay Salvitur ambulando ‐ St. Augustine (All things are solved by walking) Jeanette Lansbergen closed the front door of her home in Rotterdam and began walking south. Two months later she arrived in St. Jean Pied de Port. Along the way she camped out, cooking her own meals. […]

http://thecaminoprovides.com/2016/02/10/a-tale-of-two-pilgrims/

Escape. We all need it. #VacationMovie looks hilarious!

We’ve yet to see it. But, I’m guessing that “Vacation” will be our must-see 20th anniversary film after some fondue dinner.  Right up there with our first movie date, “Dumb & Dumber”.  Funny, yet to the point.  

We shall see if we even escape to dinner and a movie, after the wanderlust/abandonment of July.  Our boys have laid the guilt on thick. 

But, we all need to escape. No matter your age. No matter your socio-economic standing. Just, no matter. We all need & crave to escape the normal, unless one already enjoys his or her abnormal life somewhere special with very special people. 

As kids, we learn to get away. For my generation, that getaway was a bike, a backyard, maybe a pool, one beach trip a year, a sport, a weekend preoccupation, and/or a nightly television show on one of only 3 network channels. There were no gadgets, smartphones, nor Internet. Imagine that, kids out there. 

Today, kids, including ours, have a ridiculous number of cable channels, handheld gadgets, DVDs, and almost limitless internet bandwidth (maxed out our 30GB this month. Ridiculous)  All from our collective couches and recliners. They need to get away from all of that media clutter more than we ever did. 

And, that’s what we are doing right now. Off to the pool. Most kids around the world have no such thing. I know that. Our kids loathe my reminding them. But, it’s true. Appreciate the small escapes, especially those with modest exercise. 

Adults, as we age through good and bad times, really appreciate the all-to-brief escapes.  Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you, pool dad. “Hey, I’ve gotta go back to work” he says to his young son, before his boy climbs up the pool slide. I’ve never had the misfortune of saying those words before…when I actually had a career. Either I was “working “, if one could call it that, or I was not. You know, back when Blackberry phones were cutting edge and drove the business world . (Just saw one on the plane three days ago. He’s Canadian. Loyal to BBs dying day). Nice. Anyway…

  
That’s our escape from our Wii , DVD, and snack-filled sleepover time this morning. Whatever it takes, you know. 

For me, it’s fun times away from the usual and anytime where our collective “Blue Mind” is active…even at our pool. If you haven’t read the book, please do…

  
Blogged about this book and related state-of-mind one year ago today @ https://justbecausetwit.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/heart-healthy-thats-a-blue-mind/  .  No heart monitor this summer. “Celebrate good times, come on!  Let’s celebrate!”

Just one year can make a big difference. Sure, we’re all a year older. Our kids are grown and two are growing up faster than we can comprehend. My Love and I are less relevant…until we leave town and life is less predictable. You know. Normal. 

Escape with ones you love is very good. Even great!  Going it alone might be fine for some to escape. But, my dream of this month came true with three loved ones. Next escape includes another three. 

We head to Chicago for our nephew ‘s wedding this weekend, but I’m already looking into international travel for our next escape to Europe for 4-6 of us next year. Airfare is the largest investment/barrier to wanderlust. We shall conquer that. One way or another.  Preferably round-trip for now. 

Someday. One way for two, please  Others can just meet us there. Wherever there is. 

Really looking forward to that. Selling and giving it all away is the plan. 

Finding our places to not only land, but thrive with others…especially our loved ones and those yet to be born….is our next decade’s plan. By then, we should have two girls with their own families and two boys ready to soar on their own or I’ll be happy to launch them. 

Just saying. 

Ciao, for now. And, salute’, fb amigos. 

  

Guilt & Wildlife. Everywhere. 

An amazing July is coming to a close. 

I loved my 2+ weeks with our oldest daughter on the Camino de Santiago, 

  
my weekend with our youngest daughter in Madrid,

  
 and my four days or so in Costa Rica with my love….

  
…only missing two little dudes who I left behind for almost a month…

  
…and they let me know it. They broke down while I was away on separate occasions and I’m getting it today as Mom had to take off for a product launch meeting early this morning. We have a little quality time due as the start of school is coming fast. 

As I explained to our oldest boy, though his tears, this is just another lesson in what life is really like. You go on unexpected adventures. You miss people. Things don’t get done around the house without effort. Parents need to spend great times together. Job demands time & energy at the family’s expense. That’s life. 

But. Big but here. I promised him that our two decades of fun, tasty, traditional beach trips may be done. More non-traditional beach, mountain, village, and cross-countries experiences may just be our new norm. That’s my promise to these boys. 

From hailing taxis in Manhattan to doing the same in Europe to trekking through countries and soaking up sights via Eurail and Amtrak. My eyes are wide-open now to giving these boys travel experiences that we gave our girls and beyond, as our girls have ventured in their teens and early adulthood. Our boys need that wanderlust sooner than later. 

We’ve referred to our boys, amongst ourselves, as monkeys and they need to greet and meet other wildlife, as we did last weekend…

   
    
    
 
Holler monkeys are tough to see, but easy to hear, especially before sunrise.  Iguanas act like they own the place. Raccoons and birds use the pool as a watering hole. And, then, there are these guys & gals we enjoyed on the way to breakfast….

  
Funny little boogers. Nice early morning surprise.  Loved it. 

Here’s to you and yours , with monkeys or not, finding your happy places, vistas, conversations, and lasting memories….& motivations to do it over and over again. 

   
    
 
Cheers!

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