Guest Post by Jane V. Blanchard who is author of Women of the Way Embracing the Camino. You can purchase the book on Amazon or the e-book . To view the book trailer or purchase an autographed copy, visit Woman of the Way 2011
I am a 62-year-old modern-day pilgrim. In 2011, I and approximately 300,000 people trekked a network of ancient pilgrimage routes leading to Santiago de Compostela. In 1987, the Council of Europe proclaimed these Ways or Caminos to be the first European Cultural Itinerary.
I hiked 500+ miles across northern Spain on the most popular route, the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago). Many pilgrims start in St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port, a small French town on the border with Spain, summit the majestic Pyrenees, traverse the high central plateau known as the Meseta, and then proceed westward to the cathedral in Santiago. Read more
Islamic countries are sometimes challenging for Western women to visit because the expectations for dress and behavior are so different. But with a bit of mental adjustment you can enjoy places and experiences that our fellow men just can’t imagine!
‘You’re so brave! I wish I was you!’ ….
Taking a big chunk of time off work, going off to explore the world to see what happens, is what young people do. And older people who want to start having adventures before it is too late ( which actually is never too late, only different).
It always sounds so free and wild and , yes, brave. Brave to let go of the familiar and to place your life in the hands of others, to seek companionship among strangers, and to seek for the meaningful among the overwhelming newness of every day.
Jenny Stallard conveys the onslaught of all these emotions in her read-in-one- sitting book of travel advice. The wanderlust is an irresistible force, exciting, challenging, scary, never really satisfied. Jenny has succumbed a few times, by the sound of it, and has helpful advice for others feeling the call to travel.
Practical advice about what to actually pack, and what to put it in. Definitely not a suitcase on wheels. A back pack with side zips is far better than a top loader which you have to unpack every time you want what lies buried at the bottom. But 70 litres is a lot for a girl to carry – find a smaller one, and cut the amount of clothing.
Three changes of clothes are enough, even though you do get bored, you can pick up scarves, pashminas, hats and colourful jewellery at charity shops and craft markets as you go. Jenny advises one decent skirt and jacket, for a job interview or a special occasion, and really sensible multipurpose footwear, even if it really hurts to leave your heels behind.
However she does recommend taking your favourite pair of jeans, most used makeup and even hair straighteners, if they are essential to you. As she observes, ‘ you are not going to boot camp, you are going to live your life somewhere else .’ You want to feel comfortable, to be yourself, but to travel lightly.
I always travel with a sarong- to use as a night shirt, pillowcase, headscarf, skirt, towel or just to put on your bed so there is always something familiar in each new place. I also take eyeshades, ear plugs, radio/ipod, a smart phone, and the latest on my list, an e-reader, all loaded with enticing books.
So buy this book before you leave – the first couple of chapters will help with planning and decision making. The next will guide you through the intricacies of relationships while you travel. Intense, exciting, boring, interesting people will cross your path and you can choose how involved to get. Then after it all is the homecoming, with its own mixture of happiness, meeting up with friends, and discomfort as you ease your way back into some kind of normality.
Amazon Kindle link to book
Ceridwyn Parr articles on Women Travel…
- Risking Everything: Coming out in Coffee Land
- Portugal – 14 reasons to go
- Shopping in London? Choose your battle.
- Betel Nut- red lips, bad teeth, but is it really beautiful?
- Vientiane, capital city of Laos
- Luang Prabang – lovely and langourous
- From Phnom Penh mayhem to laid back Laos
- Thailand – a homestay in an Akha Village
- Cambodia, land of awesome temples, waterways and fabulous food
- The Killing Schools and Killing Fields of Cambodia
Extract from Travels With Tinkerbelle, 6,000 Miles Around France In A Mechanical Wreck (Blackbird Digital Books 2012) by Susie Kelly. Susie has written some great paper and digital books about her travels in France. Read more
Karen McCann shares her experience in this Guest Blog and offers a free booklet with even more ideas.
Moving to a foreign country can be one of life’s most thrilling adventures. But when you wake up that first morning and stare at a calendar that’s blank for the next 365 days, it can feel a bit daunting. How do you go about making friends, finding out what’s going on, creating a new life that’s authentically yours in a country that isn’t?
Ceridwyn Parr reviews A Slow Walk Across Spain: Walking the Camino de Santiago by Karen Manwaring
Published by Watermelon Press 2010
In 2008 I took a short walk at the top of Spain – 115km over 6 days, on the historical Camino to Santiago on the north west tip of Spain. The moment I arrived in the ancient cobbled city of Santiago, I knew I would have to go again. And do the whole 1000km next time. Now I have found the perfect book to prepare me for the second trip, so I won’t get lost, and I won’t get the terrible shin splints which took me staggering into the cathedral in Santiago. Read more
Karen’s website is www.caminocalling.com
‘Camino’ is Spanish for ‘way’ or ‘path’ and ‘Santiago’ translates from the Spanish as ‘Saint’ (Sant) ‘James’ (Iago). There are many Caminos de Santiago - pilgrimage routes that begin in France, Italy, Belgium, England and beyond. Some are still clearly marked and walked by modern pilgrims, although most are not as busy as they were in medieval times. However, the Camino Frances, across Northern Spain has just about surpassed its medieval popularity. Read more
With the release of the highly anticipated film Eat, Pray, Love just around the corner, Budget Travel Magazine recently sat down for a Q&A with travel guru and best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert. She discusses how to get the most out of any trip—even if you’ve only got a week. Here is an excerpt of advice given by the seasoned traveler: Read more
Servas – My Favorite Organization Ever
Excerpt Reprinted with permission from “Female Nomad and Friends” by Rita Golden Gelman. Copyright © 2010. Published by Three Rivers Press/Crown Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. BUY IT HERE
Being a part of Servas is like having family all over the world. It’s actually better than family. People join Servas because they want you to visit them when you are in their country. Not always the case with family. Read more
Well I guess we all have to do our thing – if Liz Gilbert with Eat Love Pray did it for my generation, someone has to do it for the under 30s – Jen, Holly and Amanda have done it and written Lost Girls – three friends, four continents, one unconventional detour around the world Read more