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Out And About In Seattle

Big cities don’t thrill me, but Seattle, Washington, has many fun and out-of-the-ordinary things to do, beautiful scenery, friendly people, good food . . . I could go on.

During a recent trip, we spent a few days in Seattle, sightseeing and catching up with an old friend. Though it was typical weather for the US Northwest—with gray skies, occasional mist, and one day of actual rain—we made the most of our time there. And once again, we arrived back at our hotel one evening wondering why we thought we could pack so much into a day—at our ages. (more…)

I Need A New…

So now my first few short training runs are in the bag; six months to go.

Being well into “middle age” (and retired from professional life for a few years now) does not make me old. The body may age, but I refuse to get old. That’s a conscious decision we can all make.

Last year, my logbook indicated that I ran, walked, and hiked a total of 2,700 miles in calendar 2016. At the start of that year, our local running club, the Lake County Milers, posted a mileage challenge―speaking to my competitor’s spirit―and I had some big things planned for the year. For example, I trained for and ran only one ultramarathon, the Redwoods Creek 50K (31 miles), and then I planned for and hiked the John Muir Trail in California (approximately 220 miles plus an additional 30 miles to join the JMT from Cottonwood Lakes trailhead). I also walked my second Camino de Santiago in Spain, the Via de la Plata (625 miles). (more…)

Hiking the John Muir Trail – Early Days

I was freezing! Pondering this notion over and over in my head as I lay in my sleeping bag, I decided: Indeed, I am freezing! And freezing every night for the next two weeks was not going to be much fun. Did I underestimate the cold? Did I not pack the right gear? It was far too late for these questions. (more…)

An Ambulatory Retreat: Hiking The John Muir Trail

My blog has been quiet these past couple of weeks, as I’ve been busy hiking the John Muir Trail (JMT). I’d like to spend a few posts sharing my latest adventure with you. These vignettes will, hopefully, inspire you to continue preparing for your own travel adventures.

During a recent hike with like-minded local chapter members of American Pilgrims on the Camino, I first overheard the term ambulatory retreat used to describe walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. An ambulatory retreat, in my mind, can be any trek out in nature. It is a restorative trek, a healing one. I don’t remember the woman’s name who used the term, or I’d give her credit, but perhaps she, too, had heard it elsewhere. Either way, I am quite fond of the term and its intended meaning.

Members of the local chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino, Muir Woods National Monument. Photo credit: Brien Crothers

Members of the local chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino, Muir Woods National Monument. Photo credit: Brien Crothers

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How to Properly Train for Your World Travel Adventures

Some of the world’s great sights (such as the ancient Mayan city of Coba on the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico) include a fair amount of walking

Last week, in my latest installment on preparing for world travel, I encouraged you to check with your physician or, at a minimum, do a very honest self-assessment before starting a conditioning schedule to meet your adventure dreams. This week, I’d like to discuss progressive training, a method of gradually conditioning your body, to meet the demands of your travel destination. I will also provide you with a generic training plan. In future posts, I will discuss specific goals like hiking the John Muir Trail in California and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Though specific, the training methods for these locations can be modified to meet your needs. (more…)

Ready, Set, Go!

Photograph: Alamy

BUT FIRST—  

Last week I introduced a new series on preparing for your world travel adventures. In that post, I invited you to step out of your comfort zone, broaden your horizons beyond your usual athletic activities, and allow me to be your guide as you embark on traveling the world. I also told you about some of the great once-in-a-lifetime trips that have inspired my lifelong love of travel.

Depending on how your health may, or may not, align with your travel dreams and adventure plans, before you head out the door to aggressively train in the nearest hills, let’s discuss preliminaries (yes, boring stuff, I know!). Some of the first steps to preparing for your adventure are getting a medical assessment from your doctor and then beginning a gradual training program.   (more…)

Awaken Your Travel Bug

Back in high school—oh, so many years ago—a friend of mine gave me a travel article his father had written about a trip to Hong Kong. Looking back, I realized that one article was the seed of my love of adventure and world travel, and it reinforced my own upbringing in which my father always wondered what was over the next rise.

A few of my earlier journals

A few of my earlier journals. Photo credit: Brien Crothers

WHAT INSPIRES TRAVEL? (more…)

Oh So Many Things

Front cover, Su Camino...

Since returning from Spain last summer and sitting down to write about that experience, the one point of that resulting book people repeatedly take away is, “You guys walked 500 miles in 20 days!” We did the Camino Frances in 20 days, due to time constraints, and more as an athletic Camino than a pilgrimage. I too, just like walking and have a good pace, from years of experience.

However, WHEN I do another Camino, I will explore more, stick my head—and the rest of me—into churches more often, I will go to Samos, I’ll venture into museums, and go off the beaten path, go to that village not on the Camino to experience real rural Spain, away from the pilgrim crowds and supporting infrastructure.

Oh, so many things to see, so many roses to smell, so much cafe con leche to drink, so many people to chat with and enjoy their company. Enjoy your Camino, wherever it may lead.

A short excerpt from the book, Su Camino… “I’ve never felt so peaceful in mind, body and spirit as during my time on the Camino de Santiago. Oh sure, there were times when cursed at by a Spanish driver (a pretty senorita) for walking on the wrong side of her village street. Or, when navigating a narrow passage as a large transport truck bore down on the same space at the same time. And that seemingly relentless summer heat. Those temperatures would not have been so bad, I suppose, but our pace, our effort, our daily distance and hours on the trail, all compounded as a foundation of that persistent beast. However, never in my waking hours have I felt so at peace for such a long period of time as when in northern Spain, walking the Camino with my travel buddy Karla and hundreds of others—all friends, I didn’t know.”

 

When the Cat’s Away—the Weeds Grow

Photo credit: Reg Garcia Photography

Our moving to the Mayan Riviera for a portion of last winter was an experiment, one that included many questions: What would it cost? how long could we comfortably stay away from home? how badly would we miss all our friends and close relatives back home? where were the best tacos in town? were there decent (more…)

Name Your Price, in Playa del Carmen

Better, cheaper, longer—or living large, what’s it going to be? The tagline for the well-known travel blogger, Nomadic Matt is Travel Better. Cheaper. Longer. That works great for many people and is my preferred method, especially when by myself or with like-minded friends, traveling fast and light, and out to discover.

playa del carmen grand hyatt

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