Camino: Day 32-34

Day 32 – Riego De Ambros to Camponaraya

I hiked in the dark this morning with 5 other people who spoke French but that doesn’t mean they were from France. What I love about the Camino is you choose the language that most people speak and that’s what you speak. The other day I was speaking with an Italian who spoke French so that’s what we spoke together. I STRONGLY suggest you learn Spanish before you get to the Camino. Meeting so many people from different lands has inspired me to learn at least two more languages. Eventually, the guys in front took off and the older people were at the back so I ended up hiking down the mountain essentially by myself. Which was perfect and serene. I found the guys in the next town and I had coffee with them and then walked with them (fastest I’ve walked so far) to Ponferrada where I wanted to slow down a bit. I took it easy walking out of Ponferrada and threw on the head phones. I danced and sang at the top of my lungs the last 5Km. To be honest, when I do that under the sun by myself I feel so alive and in my essence. I love it. I’m in a little albergue in a room with two bunks and me and another red head named Katie from the USA are occupying the bottom bunks. We’re going to leave together tomorrow around 6:30am. We had some good discussion tonight about the USA political state. Very interesting. Also, Monica and Jörg found me and we all had dinner together. Tomorrow it’s a short day to Villafranca del Bierzo (15km and I’ll carry my pack tomorrow for the first time in a few days) where my package was delivered 2+ weeks ago and where I’ll find the love of my life around 6:30pm. Tomorrow is the last day I walk alone and then I will be in a team of two. I’m ready.

Day 33 – Camponaraya to Villafrance de Bierzo

First day of carrying my pack again. I haven’t had any discomfort and it was a smaller distance so I figured let’s go for it. I walked with Katie from the states. 24 years old. I really liked her. We started at 6:30am (dark until 8) and chatted the whole way to Villafranca where we parted ways around 11am. I love leaving early when it’s cool but I still have a fear of walking in the dark by myself so I usually asked if I could tag along with those who left early. Wow! Villafranca! What a great little town. I got the box I shipped a couple of weeks from the albergue I shipped it too. Took out what I needed/wanted and shipped it back to Switzerland 🇨🇭. I did laundry in a proper machine (had to be clean for when I saw Luc!) and then headed over to the hotel/hostel that I booked. It was a proper room with my own bathroom. It’s been a while since I’ve had my own room (hospital?) I had a lovely shower and then relaxed on the bed for a couple of hours. I maybe should have discovered the town but I was more content resting and enjoying the room alone. Then I headed for a drink and off to meet Luc at his bus stop at 6:30pm. It was hard to wait all day!! But oh man, so incredible that he’s here now. I feel this safeness, security and love wash over me. I guess that’s who he is for me. ❤️ We went back to the hotel room for him to shower and park his bag and then headed off for dinner. It was. nice to get reacquainted with him and share my experiences I’ve had. Also, the things I’ve learned about myself. I’m not the same person who started this journey. I’m more the person I want to be. They say the Camino is a metaphor for your life in many different aspects. From the people who I have talked to, my journey may have been the most challenging that they have heard. I also know that these challenges I’ve faced have created something new in me. I experience the upset less intense but the contentment and pure joy in my life is more accessible. Love is a constant and to have the love of my life by my side, is the most incredible gift.

Day 34 – Villafrance de Bierzo to Las Herrerias

First day hiking with Luc. It was a very flat, on the road kind of day. I’d say a perfect introduction to the Camino. I only wish it was so easy for me. 👍🏻 the weather was overcast (what?) I loved walking with him and hearing about violette and how she’s adapting to school in Switzerland and with her grandparents and making new friends. Luc was so curious about the plants and fruit and the cute towns. I realize that I had missed this along the way or I had forgotten and to see it through his eyes was beautiful. He asked a lot of questions about how things are and what I’ve experienced and I really enjoyed being able to share my experience. We stopped in Las Herrerias, this cute little town that had a tree where you could tie your dreams onto. And a beautiful little river where I cooled off my feet. Luc’s first experience in a bunk bed room and I have to say it was a pretty clean nice place. Although… there wasn’t a window and typically what happens is the door gets shut. So with 10 people in the room I woke up at 11:45 sweating and had to get out of the room. I sat on the stairs and shortly a man cane down from upstairs. I didn’t want to scare him but inevitably I did. He was heading outside to get some fresh air and smoke a joint which he invited me to partake in. I politely declined. I’m so enjoying Luc with me my pack is still heavier than his but that’s my choice. Tomorrow up and over the last mountain O Cebreiro and into Galicia. 

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Less than 3 months…

to do list

Wow, it’s sinking in more and more… I’m going to be leaving. Sometimes it hits me in waves, other times like a truck. For soooo long it’s been just a project to get to July 19th. So much stuff to do. Like stuff you never thought of that you had to do, we’ve done it. It’s also totally possible that we’ve done way more than we “had” to.

Not long ago, we really started getting asked more and more “Are you excited? You must be so excited.” To be honest the first thought that would come to my mind was “there’s so much to do”. Which then had me feeling guilty for not being excited, for not being grateful for this amazing opportunity, for actually considering the stuff to do, was a burden.

Wow, that’s when I knew I really wanted to shift how I was relating to the to-do list. If you remember, I got a tattoo of the word “journey” on my arm. Yeah pretty hard to forget that this is all my journey through life, even the daily grind.

When I forgot Violette’s birth certificate and didn’t notice until I had stood in line for 15 mins at the passport office on my flex day only to realize that I’d have to come back again two weeks later with the passport. As annoying as that is, it’s also part of the journey. And when I returned 2 weeks later and the woman at the passport office quite clearly was missing some happiness in her life, I could have easily looked at this as how much I really didn’t want to be there anymore than she did, but instead I zoomed a little extra love her way.

This journey has already started.

More recently, I’ve been looking at how Luc and I communicate with each other. We’ve did a very little bit of relationship coaching with Ruth Sowter from Intimacy for Intrepid Souls the other night. First of all, she’s amazing and offers 1 hour free sample coaching sessions for couples. Secondly, she helped us to distinguish a new practice for how we will operate when it comes to determining how we’re going to make a decision.

It’s so interesting, you would think after 14 years together, we’d be on some sort of common understanding. Oh god no. And it’s things like planning a trip around the world that really tests that. Luc loves to do a ton or research and come up with the best logical plan. Thank god for him because research is not my forte. I more like to move with how I feel in the moment and that doesn’t always jive with logic and research.

For example:

  • After we are finished in the South of France I could have come back to Switzerland for 2 days before going to Spain to walk the Camino. It would have cost the exact same amount. Logically, why wouldn’t I? I could drive for an hour back to his parents, see Violette’s first day of school, drop off some stuff, drive back another hour to the airport and then start my walk. Same price. But instead, I chose to just go straight to the Camino. Mostly because I didn’t want to fly back and forth, and I just wanted to get walking. Neither way is right or wrong. And notice if you sided one way or the other. 🙂

So we determined through the coaching, that we would state our feelings and research and what we each wanted to do. Then we would really check-in: is this something that I need to have go my way today? Am I tired and just want to lounge on the beach? Could I do my own thing? Or could I choose powerfully to do what he’s suggesting because it really doesn’t matter to me. On a scale of 1-10, aligning with our intentions for our trip, where do we see this falling? Worst case, if we both dig our heels in, a coin toss (or Violette) makes the choice.

It might seem so small. But these conversations are important to sort out before you get into these scenarios or trust, love, connection and communication are thrown into the mix (the above example we hadn’t had coaching at that point so Luc couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to do his logical suggestion). And by no means are we going to master this… but we’re practicing and hopefully together we’ll find more communication,  support and ease along the journey.

And there you go… be ready to read about what we’re up to – but with a twist. You’ll get a bit deeper into our lives, how I’m growing, being outside my comfort zone and how that feels; essentially more authenticity and vulnerability than a regular travel blog. I want to share not just the nice stuff but the humanity I face, being ok with failing at things, and that the journey is not always a straight line. After all, I’m a life coach that is travelling… this whole experience is one big growth, love, connection and joy project.

Get ready 🙂

to do list

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Batman

Batman

Yesterday we went to a Halloween event at Victor Brodeur School. Vivi wanted to dress up and didn’t want to do it alone so she asked her papa if he would put on his Batman costume and accompany her (side note: my costume was dirty or I totally would have too). He, of course, said “Yes”.

Off we went to the event and then we decided to go for a walk at Fleming Beach after. It was a beautiful day. There we were walking through the trails, my kitty cat and my super hero. Lots of people walked past us smiling and looking. It was really hard not to notice their get ups.

I was so impressed the confidence that Luc had while wearing his cape and mask. It was something that I would wonder if people thought I was weird if I was wearing my halloween costume, and of course where I’m at these days, I’d probably answer that with, who cares.

At some point we stopped to sit on a bench and watch the ocean. A couple came by, the man stopped and said “I just want to say, what you are doing for your little girl right now is the most important thing a dad could do for his daughter.”

Wow. Instantly I was moved.

V asked “why did he say that?”. I explained “that moms and dads might be a little scared to wear their costumes out in public when it’s not halloween yet. What the man was pointing out is the courage that papa had to show he wasn’t afraid to dress up. He isn’t afraid of what others will think of him. It’s ok to be who and what you want to be. And he’s showing you love and support as you asked for him to dress up too. You’re so important to him”.

This journey of freedom from judgement is showing up in so many different ways. The universe provided me a beautiful example of what power and love is present when a papa wears a costume in public for his little girl and isn’t afraid of what people will think.

Luc, I watched you after that man said those wonderful words to us, I was so present to the love and kindness you had for Violette. My heart grew a little bigger that day and I fell in love with you a little bit more. Thank you for being a wonderful papa to our girls and for being a brave soul. You teach me everyday about myself and I’m so incredibly happy to be on this journey with you. xoxo

Batman

 

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Accomplishment Coaching

Journey

You might wonder what I’ve been doing to move through the self development that I’ve been posting about. Tonight I want to share the amazing 12 month course that I am in and have been in since March of this year.

Accomplishment Coaching is a coaching and leadership course that has changed my life. There are 21 other people that have joined me on this journey as well as the amazing team of mentor coaches. The course creates strong leaders and ontological coaches. If you’ve ever wanted to create your own coaching business, this course doesn’t just teach you how to be a coach, it teaches you how to create your business as well. I started my coach business and have found my passion.

On top of that, if you’re looking for self development and leadership skills, you want to check it out. It creates breakthroughs in your life that are unparalleled.

Some breakthroughs/shifts I’ve had:

  • breaking up my judgement filter from others
  • getting that I’m good enough and I matter
  • busting up my contexts around right/wrong, black/white, all or nothing
  • releasing control
  • seeing how responsibility and integrity has been a prison for me
  • not enough time/too busy is a facade
  • money is just a story we made up
  • finding my voice
  • self love
  • my relationship with my family
  • needing to get things done right away!
  • expectations of others
  • external validation/love
  • playing the middle person in all situations
  • leader
  • fun/play/joy!
  • loving the voice in my head
  • courage/confidence
  • living outside my comfort zone
  • getting supported and being support for others
  • being of service to people and the joy that that brings

What I get from all these breakthroughs:

  • love, PEACE, strength, FREEDOM, passion, compassion, courage, grace, BEING, humanity, being me, authenticity, vulnerability.

This has been the most incredible 8 months of my life. I have an wonderful team of humans and coaches to draw upon to support me in my journey. When I get scared or angry, they are there to ‘get me’ and support me through it in whatever way I need.

If after all that you’re keen to know more, I would suggest to reach out to me and/or get yourself registered in an observation session coming up on November 4, 10-12:30. It’s free and you can watch us go through some of the motions during our monthly weekend. It’s powerful and beautiful to be apart of it. There is also a 4 hour workshop in the afternoon that is called “Power Tools for Living” that costs $135 and is worth it’s weight in gold. Luc and I did it together and it was profound.

Let me know if you’re coming. I hope to see you there.

Journey

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OnFocus Journey

Footprints

Today I share a piece of unperfected writing that I will submit to Island Parent for consideration for a monthly submission for the next 20 months. I’ve never considered myself a writer, hence never thought myself good enough. It’s with fear of failure, trepidation, and feelings of not good enough that I write this – and will submit it anyway. Please share any feedback you have to make this article great. The idea is to have a monthly article posted in Island Parent of the journey our family is taking both from a worldly standpoint and from a inside-out perspective.


My phone bings. I look at it. It’s Trello being updated by my husband. Ahh the sweet sound of our 5 year-in-the-making, 1 year trip around the world coming closer to a reality. (Trello is a sudo project management app that is helping to keep our unquestionably complicated journey in check.)

5 years ago, after living 5 months in Switzerland while I was on maternity leave, Luc (my Dear Hubby) and I decided that we would come back there on a more permanent basis after our eldest daughter graduated high school. 2 years ago, that idea turned into a trip throughout our world. And now we’re 9 months away from leaving.

A lot has happened in that time, I became a personal life coach, we have both approved leaves from our jobs, and our dreams of where we want to explore have grown and expanded. We are discovering what it means to “slow-travel”. AND it all hasn’t been sunshine and rainbows – oh no! I remember wondering what are we going to do with our house (still a bit of a question mark to be honest). There was one particular planning session with Luc that went wildly sideways (I might have said “forget it let’s abandon this trip altogether” – not a shining moment). Our daughter graduated and then left for 4 years of university across the country to follow her dream (yep we’re going without her). And the thought of homeschooling our soon to be 7 year old sends me running as fast as I can to the interwebs.

While I explored my dreams and goals with my coach, I knew that the only thing between me and my dream was me. It’s all possible. It’s also completely outside of my comfort zone. That little voice in my head tells me still “oh this is going to be a lot of work. Why would you want to do this HARD thing. It’s going to be scary out there. Just stay right here where it’s super warm, cozy and you already know how it’s going to go.” Got it. Thanks. And I’m going to chose something different and something unknown.

One of the first things that people say to me when I tell them we’re going on a 1 year holiday “I would too if I won the lottery”. Know this: you 100% don’t need to win the lottery. There is a crazy big community of families that have been living for years on the road. Giving up their jobs and making money while travelling. There are resources out there that can make travelling cheaper (house sitting, buying plane tickets with points, and budgeting to name a few). Coaching can also help to dissolve your relationship to money – it’s definitely helping me.

What I will provide over the next 20 months: many many resources to help families like us, see that this can be a reality. Inspiration to people to live the life that they dream. Courage to show that it can be done. Reality of what life actually throws at you and the humour that surrounds it. The journey that we as parents are on in this world and in our lives.

Our itinerary so far: New York, France, Switzerland (where our home base will be for 5 months and our youngest will go to school in French), I will walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain, Italy, Germany, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Bali, Australia and Fiji.

My journey to get me to where I am right now has been one of self love, self reflection, giving up suffering, control, right and wrong, tapping into who I am, humanity, time and money. I have by no means perfected any of this, it’s a work in progress and I will be working on this until I die I’m sure of it.

This has and will be a journey. I look forward to the journey with you.


Robin Howe is a mother to two beautiful smart daughters (18 and 7), wife, public servant and a personal life coach exploring what it means to be human and what this great big world has to offer. Follow her journey at OnFocusCoaching.ca

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