Camino Frances

When Exactly Does a Journey Begin?


Finding the beginning

One would think that a journey of travel begins once you have reached your travel destination. I’m here to say that is absolutely false. While planning my first Camino I discovered that the journey actually began when I decided to go, then started researching all the plans and travel to get to the Camino de Santiago. There was so much that needed to go into it! Deciding where to start walking, deciding what city to fly into, figuring out which plane, train or bus to catch to get to the starting city, finding where I was going to stay and what places along the way took reservations and which didn’t. I could go on and on! It felt like there was so much to figure out and do!

Life is crazy!

Deciding to switch from homeschooling to worldschooling has been the same. We talked about it a lot, just here and there, as an idea we tossed around for many years. It seemed more like a dream rather than something that could become a reality. When we finally decided to make it a reality it was time to start working on our house, updating it and getting it ready to sell. That was a journey within it’s self! We started to do updates to the house, but our schedules were so busy that it was a couple of years before we actually had time to seriously start working on it. I hired out the hardest work so that it would get finished as quickly as possible, but did the rest myself. Lets just say I have done enough house painting to last me the rest of my life! As it got close to being ready I brought in the realtor. This actually made the deadline I had given us a hard reality. It also brought more stress to the table! There were contractors, paint, repair, daily visits to the hardware store, dealing with teens, dealing with a toddler, the husbands busy schedule that didn’t allow him to help, softball practice, softball games, what’s for lunch?, what’s for dinner?, selling off some stuff, but not too much, storing other things, stagers, photographers and so much more! Working my butt off every single day, I ended up still needing to push the deadline back, but finally it was finished and was ready to go on the market! It felt like the victorious end of something great! In reality, it was just the beginning of the next leg of the journey.

So many emotions

This is the first experience we’ve ever had with selling a house. We bought our home 15 years ago and that’s where we have lived ever since. I felt as though it was just a house and selling it would be the beginning to the next chapter of our lives. That is until we received the first offer. It came only a week after we had the house on the market. I was amazed at how fast it was! They came in at full asking price and weren’t asking anything more than what I was willing to give them. It seemed perfect! We all signed the contract that day! I was so excited! Until my excitement turned to something else, not sure what to call it, maybe fear. Realizing we would be leaving the only home my children have ever known and it would be in 30 days! Would they love the house as we have? There have been so many happy memories here. Would the home enjoy even more great memories? They included a letter with their offer that told us how this was the house of their dreams. They had laid under the stars and talked about all they wanted in a home and THIS was it. They looked forward to raising their little family here and all the wonderful things they would do with it. For me, this was perfect! The letter brought me to tears. I sat with my husband, after a long day of softball, tearing up and talking about how perfect this all was and how it seemed meant to be.  At least until 10:00 pm that night when I received the call that the deal was “going sour”. It was their perfect home until they researched the internet options and didn’t like them…..seriously.

Learn some patience

It’s been another week now and I’ve decided I won’t be reading any letters that come with the offers. We have had an inquiry from someone who wanted to do some “upgrades” and wanted to know if we are “motivated sellers”. Since the house has only been on the market for 13 days and priced really well for our area, I can’t say I’m motivated enough to pay for their upgrades. It was probably the best choice for them not to put an offer in. So this journey continues. The one of emotions on a rollercoaster. I get anxious every day for the house to get sold, then remind myself that it will and I just need to be patient. Rather than the planning or the repairs it’s now, when will it get sold, how much will it sell for, is it priced right, will we need to drop the price, getting out of the house on a moments notice so it can be viewed, cleaning it daily and on and on.

The good stuff

If anything is learned from all this, it’s that every experience in your life is a journey. Enjoy the great things about it and learn from the not so great things. I’m just waiting to get to the good stuff now. The planning of the travel and the getting there!

#toddler #caminobabies #changeyourlife #familyadventures #familytravel #forgetnormal #holidaywithkids #LPkids #sellthehouse #teentravel #toddlertravel #travelwithkids #traveldeeper #worldschoolers #worldschooling #caminobaby #bebrave

Are you CRAZY?!

No doubt those are the first thoughts of many people when I told them I would be, not only walking an almost 500 mile pilgrimage across northern Spain, but also taking my 17 month old daughter with me!

If you have not heard of the Camino, let me give you a little background on it.  The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried.  The most popular route is the Camino Frances, which stretches 780 km (nearly 500 miles), from St. Jean-Pied-du-Port, France to Santiago.  This is the route we will be walking.  It is the route I am most familiar with since I walked part of it by myself back in 2012 and have spent a lot of my time researching before I walked and since then.  It is the most well known route and has steadily become the most populated route with pilgrims each year.

Over the years I have gotten a lot of different responses from people when I’ve told them about my excursion.  Some people cannot even begin to understand why anyone would want to throw on a backpack and walk, day after day, for a month or more.  Other’s see it the way I do, as a great adventure and enlightening life experience that is unlike anything we could ever have in our everyday lives.  In fact, I think more people must think this way since the Confraternity of Saint James shows the number of pilgrims receiving the Compostela (certificate you get in Santiago for walking a minimum of 100 km) has increased from 2,491 in 1986 to 277,915 in 2016!  I am sure there are more than that actually walking, since not everyone who walks receives a Compostela.  When I walked in 2012, I did not walk all the way to Santiago, so I did not get a Compostela, yet it is listed that 192,499 people did!  That’s a huge increase of pilgrims in just the five years since I walked.

Ok, so a lot of people are into throwing on a backpack and walking a really long distance, but why throw a baby into the mix of blisters, shin splints, snoring pilgrims and long walks?……Why not?!  What an amazing life experience for anyone of any age!  But ok, if you have to have a reason…

My oldest daughter is 18 and graduating high school this year.  She knows the life path she wants to start out on, has made her school plans, living plans, grown up life plans.  She went through her school years as a smart girl, working hard to get good grades, find that thing in life she thinks she wants to do with the rest of her life, that she’s interested in and would be good at.  I’m a proud momma for sure!  With all of that comes a lot of stress and anxiety unlike anything I ever saw or felt when I was growing up.  To my surprise, since it is completely unlike her, she decided she wanted to take a gap year.  My first thought was, why not utilize some of that time for self reflection and relaxation while also exploring and learning about different cultures?!  The fact that I had a toddler only discouraged me a little and only for a brief moment.  I knew there were people who had walked with children, even babies before.  I had seen it first hand even!  When I walked the first time, there was a mother who pushed her two small children in a jogging stroller by herself, and even had their dog in tow!  When I had seen this the first time, I thought it was unusual, but that the mother was brave for taking on such an experience by herself.  It never crossed my mind that I might, someday, be doing the same thing.  I have read blogs and social media posts of many others who had also walked with their children.  Some with babies as young as only a few months old!  It certainly isn’t impossible to do, so why shouldn’t I be able to do it?!

So here we are, a few months worth of preparation and training and only four days before we begin our adventure!  In the next few days, I hope to post some of the experience of preparing for such a trip and then our experiences along the way.