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Camino Memoirs: The Calm before the Storm and Over the Pyrenees

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Saturday, 25 May 2019 I embarked on my journey to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France today. I had a hard time sleeping last night in anticipation of the first day of the Camino de Santiago , which wasn't even today. I had packed two bags, one for the Camino and another for everything else I would need afterwards to travel around Europe for a few months (including camera gear). The sun was just barely starting to rise when I walked to the train station with my Camino backpack on and my duffel slung across my body; that was quite a weight. The Bayonne station was a small depot with only a couple of platforms. I sat down on one of the open benches across from some men that were of retirement age and a couple of younger guys who all appeared to be Camino pilgrims ( peregrinos ). Some pigeons were walking about in the open area between all of us and the old men were speaking in French and chuckling while playing around with the pigeons; it made me smile.  A train had arrived, but I di

There's an elephant in the room and it's called, the Camino

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I've been trying to reflect on the last year and decade, but kept getting stuck with my words. Perhaps it's because I have done little to dwell on one of the most major journeys I completed last year: the Camino de Santiago. I don’t want to bore you with just another Camino story. The same one you’ve heard over and over. Whether you know about the Camino de Santiago or not I’m just going to tell it like it is and start from the end. It’s something that changes you. You finish it after several weeks of walking on the trail and the weeks seem like just a few days. It’s hard to comprehend how long you’ve been on the trail in the end. It had become a lifestyle. You got up, packed your bag, ate a quick bite, carried on the road, had coffee and food along the way, looked for an albergue (hostel for pilgrims) to stay for the night, showered and washed any clothes, ate dinner, journal-ed, slept and repeated. Everyday started and ended this way and so life was very simple. You didn’t h

New Beginnings

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Ever had that feeling like being stuck, whether it was a job, a location, people? Well, I did. For a really long time. It wasn't until recently that I decided that I needed to take control of my life and follow my heart more. I'm most alive when I'm traveling, meeting people, being out on or under the water and in nature. It felt silly that only a small portion of my free time was actually dedicated to that. I keep hearing more stories of cancer affecting people or freak accidents - tomorrow is not guaranteed. I've been so scared about preparing for the future that I felt like I was slowly giving up on my dream to travel the world, really meet and get to know the people in it and try to make a truly meaningful impact on the world before my time comes to an end. So, I quit my long-time job, sold and donated most of my possessions and left Hawaii after over 10 years to chase those dreams. I want to really focus on the things that make me happy in this life and share th

Day 4: Underwater exploration

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 When I got up and started walking this morning, everything hurt. I feel old, injured and achy. I slept pretty well last night despite the pain and having to get up early to take another dose of ibuprofen. I was going to get up to see Kini and go to the market, but I got woken up by one of the resort staff saying someone was here to pick me up. I didn't know that anyone had responded to the emails I had sent to the dive shop nearby because there's only one small corner of the reception area that has WiFi. I really didn't want to flake out on Kini, but this would be my only opportunity to go diving in Fiji. I made the split second decision and told the worker to tell them that I'll be on my way. I grabbed my suit and clothes that were hanging on the line outside and quickly put them on. I hurried out the door after I grabbed my waterproof camera, wallet, and phone. I went so quickly that I didn't have time to get ready; brush my hair or eat breakfast. The dive sho