Life Throws Curveballs

14 Oct

…..but that doesn’t mean you have to cower.

My Camino hasn’t gone as planned. That was hard to come to terms with. However, the Camino takes and the Camino gives. I’ve finally welcomed the changes with open arms, and it has been a godsend.

Am I still a bit unhappy? Sure. Like 8%. The other 92% is having a fantastic time. Remember, it’s all about the journey. Sure, the destination is nice, but the journey is the bulk of the adventure. Don’t let blinders keep you from seeing life happen.

Why this post? I’m sitting in a café in O Mesón do Vento. It’s raining and 49F outside. I’m pretty much soaked, and the café con leche hits the spot. My left leg has started hurting again, and I’m weighing pros and cons on the next choice (mainly how much more soaked do I want to be).

To quote Grace and Favour: “…..but she was happy!” And I realized, I am. It’s taken over a year to get back to this point, and I know the time it took was necessary. Was I impatient? Very much so. Did I realize the time needed prior? Of course not.

Life’s not perfect. Don’t try and force it to be. Let it run its course, adjust where you can, and everything will work out in the end, even if it’s not the way you expected or initially wanted.

Life will throw you curveballs. Question is: will you catch them, or will you cower?

xox

Jess

Camino Inglés, Day 1: Ferrol to Neda

10 Oct

Stats:

Starting Point: Hotel Silva (previously walked from hotel to starting point on Monday)

Ending Point: Pensión Residencia Maragota

Steps: 20,271

Miles: 8.86

Overall thought: beautiful country, but why was this on my bucket list again?

Seriously though, I thought I was going to die at the 7mi point. Out of water, no fountains, I was overheated and dehydrated. The only place to sit was on the ground, but if I did that there was no guarantee I would stand up again.

I never quit.

I never called for a taxi, or caught a bus.

I made it to Neda.

Then I slept for an enternity. Woke ul at 1930 and contemplated dinner, since all I had eaten was a few strawberries, some nuts, and a cliff bar. Said nope, rolled over, and went back to sleep.

I hope Day 2 is a bit more smooth. And I still need to find a poncho, or a bin liner, or something, because rain is still in the forecast for the next few days.

Anywho, here’s some photos from Day 1.

xox

Jess

And so it begins

Well, if it’s THAT easy to get home…..lol

Pilgrim arrow! Pilgrim arrow!

When the tide is out……

No clue, but they’re cool looking. Reminded me of Harry Potter, tbh.

A hot pink house!

The church after a hideous hour of walking uphill

Its cemetary.

Goats!!

Donkey!!

Which way do I go? Which way do I go? (I went left)

100km to go!!

Neda

Wrapping up my off-day in Ferrol

9 Oct

So, you already saw the post on the Naval Museum. What else did I do before the Camino? Well…..

I had this rainforest rain on me from the inside out. Don’t ask.

Saw these cool post office mail slots

Then……

I went by the Tourism Office to get my credencial stamped for tomorrow.

After that was hotel check-in time. I stayed at Hotel Silva. It was perfect for the price (€29), was near a bus stop and a grocery store. If you’re wanting to stay here and then start at the official start of the Camino in the morning, you’ll be doing a lot of backtracking. I avoided that by finding the official start today and walking the route to a certain roundabout of which I will walk to from my hotel tomorrow. Cutting to those fotos now, because excite!

The official start mojone!

Camino marker and info stamp

The steps Irish and British pilgrims would ascend once they arrived to Spain.

Older ones submerged

That aside, back to the hotel. Here’s my room:

Simple. I don’t need much for a single night stay. And like I said, perfect for the price.

The rest of the day flew by, and now I’m in bed, about to start Day 1 of my Camino. Here’s a few more fotos and I’m signing off. See y’all tomorrow!

xox

Jess

I have zero clue

Quesos!

Dinner, and snacks for tomorrow.

Museo Naval Ferrol

9 Oct

Not going to lie, my plan for the museum was to whip in, look for a bit, get a sello in my credencial, and then leave. What ACTUALLY happened? I spent almost 2hrs there, and forgot to get the sello. Sigh. Worth it though.

Upon arrival at the Ferrol train station.

Going on walkabout.

Latrine from when the building was a prison.

Are you my mummy?

That’s a wrap on the Museum, kids. Hope you enjoyed some of the highlights. Okay, a LOT of the highlights. If you ever find yourself in the Galician region of Spain, keep this museum in mind.

xox

Jess

Trenhotel: Madrid a Ferrol

8 Oct

Mainly a photo post, as I climbed aboard, was shown my compartment, showered and passed out. Tidbits may or may not be dispersed throughout.

Not bad. And he put the top bunk up for me. Mine folded up too, if you wanted to sit on stools.

My compartment key

Toiletries kit that was included

Glow in the dark emergency signs

When I woke up (and I slept hard), I got dressed and went to the cafeteria car for a couple of cafes con leche, and a croissant.

After that I repacked, enjoyed watching towns roll by, and relaxed. Not a bad way to travel. I’ll make sure my flight is a bit closer to train departure though.

Next post: Museo Naval Ferrol

xox

Jess

How NOT to spend 10hrs in Madrid

8 Oct

Seriously though, arriving to Madrid beyond worn out was the worst thing I could have done. I had zero energy to do anything except hang out at the Chamartín train station, and even that was pushing it. I’m surprised the Police didn’t question me being there so long since we kept crossing paths the whole time. But really, if I had arrived rested, I would have gone to the Real Madrid stadium for a tour. Instead, let me enlighten you how to have a non-touristy day in Madrid.

First, get a train ticket you can’t read and no one can help you out. Like this one.

Everything on the ticket makes sense, but nothing matched up to what I saw on the platform, so after 10min I decided I’d risk the fine and play the overly ignorant tourist card if metro police said anything.

Leaving the airport

31hrs traveling at this point.

First Spanish doggo! They love their dogs. They’re everywhere!

At this point, I hear the announcement that the next stop is Estación de Chamartín. Since my trenhotel was leaving from there that night, I figured might as well get off there and get acquainted with it. Yeah, there ain’t anything around.

Decided that as it was 1030a, I needed to grab breakfast.

The juice was freshly squeezed, iberico ham is as smooth as butter, and the cafe con leche? Never drinking that swill starbucks sells again lol. I also picked up my first Aquarius of the trip. Might be my last. I know it’s supposed to be like a gatorade, but it isn’t. At all.

Then came 5hrs of ppl watching.

People run around the station catching trains. People make out in the station like it’s their last goodbye. Families cried saying bye to loved ones. Tourists walked around confused.

But allllll the doggos! I wanted to pet them, but better safe than sorry.

Then it was dinner time. Tried another restaurant this time.

Simple and to the point. Nothing to write home about, but still good.

I left the restaurant and people watched for another hour. Then I wanted another cafe con leche, so went to yet another little cafe area, enjoyed the coffee. Saw some cool artwork down a stairwell.

José Lucas, whoever you are, it looks cool.

At this point it was like 2000, so I knew we were down to the final 2hr wait (told you this was lame and boring). Then finally my train landed in the queue. Excitement began to come alive (mainly because I wanted my boots off after being in them almost 48hrs)

Ferrol!!!

Paper ticket

Then the time came: our platform number appeared and we were off!! Got to the train, was given the key to my compartment, et voila! Wanna see inside my room? That’s the next post!

xox

Jess

Travel to Madrid, part deux

8 Oct

This probably shouldn’t even be a post on it’s own, but you can’t have a part 1 without at least a part 2, right?

Our flight to Madrid was uneventful. I had hoped for more sleep, but managed almost 3hrs between the dinner and breakfast services, which isn’t bad considering the flight was only 6hrs. I swear, going to Newark threw everything off for me. I’m used to 10hr international flights, so having it split into 2 30%/70% ones threw a wrench in my routine. Life, right?

I did end up with no one next to me, praise be! Lol. Extra room for my rowmate and myself!

As far as the rest goes, here’s a few fotos and then I’m signing off. Love y’all!

Can you tell I’m half dead to the world lololol

And so begins flight numero dos!

Because Mia loves them (yuck!)

Almost there!

Goodbye plane that hit the worst turbulence ever

Madrid Airport, groovy all day.

Random shuttle shot as we head to Terminal 4 aka the airport metro station

Til next time,

Xox

Jess

Travel Day to Madrid, part 1.

6 Oct

Word of the Day: Fatigued

Got up before my alarm went off at 0230. Got to the Parking Spot 30min before my reservation. Only had to wait behind 1 person at TSA. Timing was on my side.

Then I get to Newark only to find out my layover went from 6hrs to 8hrs. Le sigh. But hey, it can only be worse. Like the woman handling an overseas flight by herself with 4 kids? She earned those 2 beers she had at lunch. The woman with the screaming kid? She earned the 10min nap in her chair once her child fell asleep. The older couple being pushed in wheelchairs? Well, idk what they are traveling to or from, but kudos to them for not letting any health issues stop them. So yes, having to wait an additional 2hrs? No biggie.

But here I am, sitting at my gate, charging my phone, and writing in my Adventure Book. As busy as this airport usually is, I’m happy I’m here during non-peak time. It’ll be interesting to people watch once like 1600 rolls around.

(Oh, and my knees are still sore from being crammed into the back of the chair in front of me.)

Stay tuned for part two, coming your way sometime tomorrow, along with my “First Day in Madrid” recap.

xox

Jess

It’s 4a on a Saturday. Even on my schedule I should be asleep. At DFW.

Obligatory “shoes and airport carpet” foto.

Awkward bathroom selfie at Newark

Night before I begin my Pilgrimage

5 Oct

Okay, so technically it’s 8 hours before I begin.

And I’m still not packed 😄

Life has thrown some curve balls at me this week. On top of work being chaotic because of the sort opening (and my need to have everything as perfect as possible), my banking info was stolen, AND this afternoon I came home to my aircon leaking into the guest bathroom.

I mean, seriously?? Is this a pre-Camino test? If I can handle this week, then walking 74mi will be a breeze! *knock on wood*

So let’s see. Packing wise, I’m doing okay; just slow going……….

45min later, have a packing list via fotos:

Necessities (journal, pilgrim credencial, shell, and waist wallet)

Electricals (I eliminated the usb reading light after this foto)

First aid items, diaper pins to pin stuff to backpack, carabiners, and S-hooks.

Toiletries, meds, and tissues.

Clothing: 2 sports bras, 2prs Darn Tough wool socks, 3 tank tops, 2 kimonos/shawls, and 1 scarf.

Hard to tell, but long sleeve zipup workout hoodie, 2prs of leggings, and the two drysacks.

Hairbrush, guidebook, two towels, silk liner and silk pillowcase (bedbugs be damned!), and the chilly mini neck towel.

A most excellent guidebook!!

All packed up and ready to go! (Oh, need to write my last name on my boots. One of the carabiners will be used to keep the shoes together to avoid them being mistaken for someone elses)

Closeup of patches and shell. (Also, 32oz waterbottle in side pocket)

What cracks me up the most is that, even with all that I’m carrying, this pack is still lighter than my work backpack lol.

Will update tomorrow night sometime, or else Sunday morning after I arrive in Spain.

Much love everyone!

xox

Jess

6 days! (and no order to the thoughts in this post)

30 Sep

I leave for Spain in less than a week! I’m ridiculously excited, even if I am exhausted from this work project. You can always sleep when you’re dead, right?

Ever feel like you’re too prepared for a trip? I’ve been going through mental checklists the last few days: accommodations? passport? euros? clothing? backpack? blister kit? extra bandaids? both pairs of wool socks? I know I have everything ready, but my anxiety kicks in, so I just deal with it. Though, I do need to decide on what kind of waist wallet to wear. I could use a money pack to go around my neck, but the thought of walking with it like that already makes my neck react. It also doesn’t help that the weather is going to be a mix of partly cloudy and rain (that reminds me, need to buy a poncho now). It may come down to how I feel the night before I leave and just choose the waist wallet based on that night’s mood lol.

I still have people asking me why I’m doing this. Then, when they hear “pilgrimage”, they get *that* look on their face, and I shut down, because I’m not trying to get in a religious chat with anyone. I’m doing this for me. I need a spiritual retreat; a time for my soul to heal. It also doesn’t hurt that both the Camino AND Spain are on my bucket list, so 2-3 birds with one stone.

Spinning the wheels for a moment, as I was sitting at my altar at home a couple of nights ago, I did let my mind wander to how I’m really feeling towards the start of my Camino. Am I nervous? Of course. Nervous and anxious to about the 3rd level. Scared though? Nope. I’m excited, and can’t wait to have this adventure. Fear doesn’t control me, and I won’t live with any more regrets (still regret not doing one thing in Mexico, but c’est la vie). I kept my must-see list to a minimum this trip: the Camino, the “end of the world” in Fisterra, and then in Madrid, the National Archaeology Museum and the Temple of Debod. There is a lot more I would love to see in Spain, but that will have to wait until my next trip.

That’s it for this rambling mess of a post 🙂 I leave you with two quotes that speak volumes for/about me:

 

xox,
Jess

Work stress can’t dull my excitement!

10 Sep

It’s been awhile, I know. Life goes on, regardless of documenting every second of it. Synopsis? Stress. Anxiety. Nerves. Excitement.

I’ve started a new position at work and it’s basically required me to flip my schedule around. I’m back to the graveyard shift (which I tend to do better). I’m a bit stressed with it, but I’m also ready to get it going 110%.

The best part lately has been my growing excitement for my Camino! I’m anxious and nervous, but in the good “eek first time doing this” kind of way. I love it! Hostels/Hotels are as booked as I want them to be. The middle days are flexible depending on how far I walk those days. Overnight train ticket has been purchased. Clothing, footwear, backpack….all taken care of. I have been paranoid about my passport going missing, so I check on that daily lol. Sometimes you have to let the anxiety do its thing.

I’ll be sewing on my patches this weekend and spraying my backpack to help prevent bedbugs *knock on wood*. The boots need a few more walks in them for me to be confident that they are fully broken in. I know I need a few more odds and ends from Target and REI, but nothing that is detrimental to my trip if I don’t get it done prior to departure.

As far as my back-n-forth debate on taking my hiking poles with me….I’ve finally decided to NOT bring them, and to buy a set of poles at Decathlon in Ferrol. They’re a much lower price there, but, from what I’ve been told on various forums, the quality is quite good. If I have time in Madrid before catching the overnight train, I may scout out a Decathlon there. We shall see.

Ok, I’m yawning, so this post must come to a close. I hope everyone is doing well. I should have a few more blog posts before the journey begins, and *hopefully* a video or two up on YouTube. I’ll let y’all know 🙂

peace and love,
xox
jess

Fly Fast, Fly Free

8 May

painted by me, May 8, 2018

Life always throws curveballs

31 Mar

Thankfully this curveball was a good one. Nee, not good, great! I had given up on ever owning anything on my own, thanks to my inability to manage money and my credit in my 20s (live and learn), but the desire to have my own piece of this earth was always in the back of my mind. You know how it is, that little “well *maybe* I’ll be able to…..one day.”

Ladies and gentlemen, that one day finally came!

I now own my very own piece of Texas. It’s desert. It’s going to be offgrid. And I love it. Try and take it from me, and I will throat punch you.

It was 110% unexpected. I hadn’t been back to West Texas since my Geography field school at University, but I always did love it down there (and seriously, it continuously amazes me how vastly different regions of this state can be). I’m grateful to Moeder for finding the property listing, and to my parents for being willing to drive down there with me. Never underestimate the knowledge your parents have, even if they do frustrate you sometimes. (Love you both!!)

I want to drive straight back down there, put fencing up and start building the house, but a) come on Jess, you don’t really know how to do either of those things, and b) you’re now on a 5yr plan to move down there (or you have to win the lottery first), so patience padawan.

I’ll end this with my favourite photo I took at the ghost town down there. See y’all with the next post!

Start of my Camino Gear

13 Mar

It’s starting to feel real!!

Over the weekend my friend A and I went shopping, and started out at REI. I had some hiking socks to pick up, and wanted to look at the backpacks, but I didn’t think that I would walk away with a backpack AND hiking poles! I had come to terms with not finding a backpack that I liked and that was comfortable, but even a continent away, the camino provides.

The backpack is the women’s REI co-op Trail 40 pack, in Medium (and the colour Graystone). It also comes in a Small, and in the colour Oregano. It’s really comfortable. The employee, who I asked many, many questions of, let me know they had bean bags in various weights to put in the packs, so I put in 2 5lb bean bags and walked around for a bit. Granted, I know it’s not the same as trekking through Spain for 6-8hrs at a time, but still….the shoulder straps didn’t dig in at all, and the pack stayed in place. Two pre-camino, pre-training thumbs up. Also, the zipper to the main compartment makes a u-shape (like a suitcase zipper), so there’s no having to dig in through strictly top-loading openings to get to the one item you hastily need, which has fallen to the very bottom. There’s room for a hydration bag, plenty of pockets, and room to hang items on the front, plus two side zip pockets on the hip straps (one on each side). Considering I’m only walking for a week, this backpack is more than perfect for me!

Now the hiking poles. I’ve been debating on getting some, but the more research I did, the more I leaned towards the affirmative. So after finding my pack, we turned to the next aisle and were overwhelmed with choices. And the cost! Holy hell, I didn’t realize two pieces of aluminum and some cork would cost so much. Then, like with the pack, the camino pre-provided. There was a clearance bucket with three sets of poles in it marked down to half the cost of the poles I currently had my eye on. So I tested them out, felt confident they would keep me upright, and added them to my purchase pile. (They’re the REI Co-op Traverse Print Power Lock Cork Trekking Poles – Pair in Antique Moss.) I also grabbed a pack of rubber walking tips for the poles, because I remembered camino alumni talking about the clickity clacks of the metal tips hitting the pavement early in the morning when leaving town. Don’t want to be disrespectful to the townspeople trying to sleep while we all leave at the crack of dawn.

I got some other odds and ends, but I’ll include all those when I do my packing post in late September. Next up, comfortable hiking boots, because my current ones will make my feet curl up and die before the end of day one (That’s a visual for you, eh?).

If you stuck around to this point of the entry then I give you props. Thanks for reading, and Ultreia!

xox

Jess

Cali Vacation – Day 1

14 Feb

I should call this the day I stayed up 21hrs, smh. (and Day 2 looks like it’ll be nearly the same)

Left for the airport at 345a, dropped my car off at the Parking Spot, shuttled to Terminal, and then waited in line at security for 45min. Never seen so many groups going anywhere in February. Wonder if they were all going cruising? Anyways…boring flight, made it to LA, and checked into the hotel. Blah blah blah lol.

This Hilton is nice!

The room is a lot bigger than the Marriott rooms, so that’s a plus (and it was cheaper, yay). There is no fridge which sucks, but we’ll make it work somehow.

Moving on. Day 1 was chill because I was the first one to LA. Katrina and Chris arrived at about noon. We met up, had lunch at Denny’s and caught up. After we parted ways, I went to the hotel, was hoping to meet up with an aunt, that didn’t work out, and by then I was nearly dead to the world. Stayed in the room, put on pjs, turned on the Olympics and eventually fell asleep.

I swear, this vacation will get more interesting lol. Promise!

xox, jess

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