Just over it

Think I have a fever. Achy, have chills, lungs hurt and feel like I’m burning up.

Having been made to wait for an albergue to open for hours while sopping wet and freezing wasn’t helpful either. I’d pled with the lady to let me come in earlier but she was adamant that I wait until 2 (and I was there by 11am). And they kick you out by 8am and no hotel in sight so no chance to sleep in.

Just over it. My mind wants to keep going but body is shutting down apparently.

It’s been enjoyable up to this point but when you’re alone and sick, it just becomes more and more noticeable that you’re truly alone in this world and you don’t matter. What the fuck is the point of all this? It’s easy to go down a dark dark path when already feeling shitty (which for me is  realizing nobody has even bothered to text me or would even know if I died, including my mom who doesn’t talk to me which then leads to darker thoughts and contemplating suicide. It’s always a relief thinking of it) so trying to keep my own morale up. 

Ugh. Hope I feel better by tomorrow. Been chugging Emergen-Cs. 

Will post lovely pics and things later if things start looking up. 

3 days on Camino

I am resisting the urge to stomp on ahead and disciplining myself to SLOW THE FUCK DOWN. 

My right foot tends to scream at me after a few miles so, in order to do any sort of semblance of mileage, I sent pack ahead of me the last 2 days. The first day of like 10km just straight up hill, made both feet super mad at me and I intend on finishing this. I’m learning quickly that long distance hiking (PCT, AT, etc) are much more about getting to the destination within a certain time frame. I have the luxury to not do that here and everyone I’ve bonded with are also the kind who just want to enjoy this and not make it a race. 

Since I didn’t have much time to prep for this walk/hike/pilgrimage, I’m kind of doing it now so taking it maybe too easy the first week and then plan on pushing myself after building up some strength.

The first day, I came across a lady who was hiking solo and we talked about if we were doing all 25km to next city or staying at the albergue (hostel) in the Pyrenees that usually books up ahead of time. I told her I had just called and got a reservation and gave her my phone to call. Long story short, we started talking and I just fell in love with her. I call her my Camino mama. She is empathetic, hilarious and has a fuckin killer Kiwi accent. We’ve hiked last 3 days together and I haven’t laughed so much in a long time back to back. 

I haven’t slept all that well in the albergues since have had some night terror type nightmares and tons of snoring people (I started recording it. New album coming out is “Snoring Symphonies” πŸ˜‚). 

Having to figure out logistics of where to sleep every night since outside camping is basically prohibited (extremely restricted) makes me quite anxious. I enjoyed the PCT more in the sense that I could night hike if I wanted to and know I could just pull over anywhere and camp.

But learning as I go. The people are terrific and I feel like that bonding and sense of community I wanted on the PCT that I didn’t truly feel, I am getting here. This is more of a spiritual journey as opposed to an endurance feat (not digging on long distance thru hikers. They’re incredible) and it’s what I needed.

Found myself crying walking amongst beautiful trees. Come to find out, some witches were burned there. There is history soaked into every single step of this journey and the beautiful views, sheep, cows and horses roaming free just add to the whole experience.

I have so many other thoughts – from what I wish I hadn’t packed to people I’ve met – that I want to talk about but too tired. Only got 2 hours of sleep last night. 

But here are some pics:

Old monastery that’s turned into an albergue. Stayed there for the night (pics of the beds is somewhere in this batch).πŸ‘‡πŸ»

Drinking coffee out of a bowl at the albergue. Lol. Apparently that’s a thing? πŸ‘‡πŸ»

Dinner at albergue Orisson in the Pyrenees. We all had to stand up and say our name and where we were from. Everyone clapped for each other and it was actually really a bonding moment. Loved it! πŸ‘‡πŸ»


Coming into town at night. So many pilgrims descended upon St Jean Pied de Port.πŸ‘‡πŸ»

Paris Day 4

Not much to tell. Paris has been lovely but also overwhelming. Ready to start my pilgrimage. Actually thinking about doing a silent one (not speaking entire time) just to try it since I know it’s sort of a meditative experience and will help me to quiet down and really take in everything and listen to people but, realistically, doubt that’s going to happen. Anyone who knows me knows I talk – sometimes too much for other people’s comfort. πŸ˜‚

I definitely need to come back when I’m not so emotionally raw so I can revel in the energy here. If Paris was a blind date, they’d be a hot guy that probably thinks I am an emotional wreck and not cool enough to even hang out with. Hahaha. I’ll be back for a second, better, impression. 

I head out maΓ±ana (working on my Spanish skills since headed into Spain πŸ˜„) on the train. Excited to get to the point of this trip which is walking and walking and to heal.

I’ve been having flashback nightmares. Anyone that’s dealt with PTSD knows what I’m talking about and it’s not pleasant. Memories from past abuse come up and even new, sometimes even worse than what I remembered, ones rear their ugly head. So haven’t slept well until today, when I took quite a long nap.

Super grateful for my uncle and his family for taking me in. Not having grown up around family since age 8ish, there’s always a period of awkwardness (for me) but they’ve been so lovely and welcoming that it’s truly been heart melting and I love them for it.

Tourist spots here are cool but seeing people making duck faces, putting up peace signs and taking selfies in front of them just isn’t the type of space I’m in and kind of irritating to me at the moment but if they’re having fun, go for it. I’m just not going to join in. Maybe next time.

Paris Day 3

Today walked for around 8-9km. It was a roller coaster of a day.

I say that because it was amazing at first… my uncle took me to the PΓ¨re Lachaise Cemetery to see Jim Morrison’s grave. While there, also visited Oscar Wilde’s and Edith Piaf’s. Jim’s had a fence before it which was annoying (hate how some people ruin things for others) but what was hilarious for me was that there were 2 people there drinking beer at like noon and smoking while listening to “This is the End” from their iPhone and crying. πŸ˜‚ Like, I get it. Nobody loves The Lizard King more than I do but that was just too dramatic for me. He’s been dead a while. πŸ˜„


Oscar Wilde’s grave (had to have a glass protector around it due to taggers – again, people ruining things for other people) but it had lipstick kiss marks all around it


Edith Piaf grave:


Then we took metro to some other places (I’m such a bad blogger! Lol. Way too tired to write down the exact names and honestly, don’t care that much. I’ll come back another day and memorize it all). 

The rough part happened at the end where some guy selling stuff in a touristy spot got up in my personal space, trying to sell me a bracelet or whatever And I said no a couple times and kept walking. He then GRABBED my arm tightly and wouldn’t let go until I kept walking even faster. Immediately, I started feeling a panic attack come on. 

Side note for context and trigger warning: 

Some know this, some don’t, but I was raped 3+ years ago and despite hiking 648ish miles on the Pacific Crest Trail months later, I gained a tremendous amount of weight (because, I’m sure this is why, I didn’t want any male attention whatsoever), got flashbacks and panic attacks and became suicidal which is when I entered therapy over a year ago. 

Back to Paris: my uncle and I then went on the metro immediately after and some dude with his kid on his lap was just ogling my boobs and staring aggressively at me. I felt like crying. I couldn’t help my body’s response to all this. I could feel a panic attack coming on. Thankfully I’m a part of an amazing Girl’s travel group on Facebook and was able to get some feedback and a girl offered to meet me tomorrow which will be nice.

I’m learning that women travelers have to deal with quite a bit more. We are taught to be nice and polite yet we get harassed a lot more. I’m going to just start being a bitch to people if they don’t respect my space. It’s not worth the Helplessness and feelings of rage after.

Tomorrow, I’m going to try to see the catacombs as soon as they open unless the line is ridiculously long. Then I meet up with this other female traveler who used to live here.

Paris is very hectic but amazing. Definitely coming back when my mind is a bit more settled and open to the crazy energy. I can absolutely see how this place inspires so many artists. 

And, oh my god, the homeless here drink wine, not beer!!! Hahahaha. I’ve never ever seen that before. At first; I saw 2 homeless old men talking, one had a bottle of RosΓ© that was nearly done and the other had a corkscrew and was opening another bottle, THEN, 2 blocks later, saw 2 younger homeless guys sitting on some throwaway couches sipping some Cab looking wine from plastic wine glasses, pinkies out and everything. Thought that was so funny (the wine drinking, not homelessness. That part is sad).

Ok here are some more pics of this magnificent city!

Day 2 in Paris

Yesterday was a tired blur. I slept so much, my uncle had to wake me up at 11 this morning. Granted, I woke up quite a few times but still. I DEFINITELY needed sleep and probably could have slept all day since I’m still feeling exhausted from the 2 days of no sleep.

For me, I’m finding beauty in the quiet moments and simple things. Like breakfast – I’d forgotten how delicious the simple bread/cheese/cucumber and/or tomato sandwiches are. No matter how many times I’d make them in LA, they didn’t taste the same. Maybe it’s the bread or the cheese. In Europe, I think both are just better quality. And the coffee! Oh my, just that alone is much  better than most coffees I get in LA.


πŸ‘†πŸ»my delicious and simple breakfast. YUM!

I was skeptical of the whole Paris hype, to be completely honest. You hear people raving about the city and it just feels like everyone is jumping on some sort of “Paris is cool” bandwagon. But just walking through the streets with my uncle, his wife and my adorable little cousin today, I couldn’t help but be caught up in the energy of this beautiful city. 

There is something powerfully raw in its history and in its architecture and it enchants with its hustle and bustle with quiet corners and streets full of book kiosks and artists. Many of the stores and restaurants look like some sort of film set and, many times, it just feels surreal. 


πŸ‘†πŸ»Absolutely loving the buildingsπŸ‘†πŸ»

There’s too much to see here, I’ve already accepted that I’m not going to even see 1/30th of what this city has to offer. I do want to see the catacombs (bit worried about my claustrophobia but think I can power through it for the experience) and Jim Morrison’s grave (my dead man crush for life). Saw the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and some other landmarks from the outside but, if I have any time, definitely want to explore them longer.

πŸ‘‡πŸ»some sights from today and museumπŸ‘‡πŸ»


I’m here in Paris at a pivotal moment in history. The voting is wrapping up and we will find out in 4 hours who’s won. There’s an anticipatory electric energy you can feel amongst the people. Having just been in the US for their election, It feels very similar although you see Le Pen posters scrawled on with words like “Paris will never accept you” and others with her face ripped off. 

In other non city related news: I’m a bit worried about my foot. It had swollen up yesterday from the flight and, having walked around a bit today in my shoes that were quite tight with my fat feet, the bunyon on the right foot is now aching quite badly. Hopefully the swelling subsides (elevating feet as I write this) and it won’t be an issue on the Camino. Fingers and toesies crossed! 🀞🏼🀞🏼🀞🏼🀞🏼🀞🏼

Paris

Just got here. Headed out first thing soon enough (my aunt keeps telling me to stop spreading my real time whereabouts so this is me trying to be cryptic so that all my many stalkers won’t be able to find me 😜. She has a point though – better safe than sorry and it’s nice to know someone cares). 

Booked my first alburgue since I’ll arrive later in the day to St Jean Pied de Port and it’d be too late to start the trek (since I want to see where I’m going and pick up my Pilgrim passport).

I have realized – and this dawned on me before but was affirmed by some quiet time with uncle and his family today – that I need to slow down. I can’t handle mellow time around people, even family, AT ALL. It makes me super uncomfortable and I feel the need to keep moving (mentally and/or physically) no matter what. I think this is a direct result of my unusual upbringing where I was basically left homeless after being discarded and having to be on survival mode and high alert constantly. 

To be fair, being in survival mode was useful for decades (the high alert and activity) as it kept me from being in too much mental pain and kept me distracted while also not allowing me to be on the streets as a bum. But I’ve realized that it no longer serves a purpose and I am spiritually exhausted and depleted of any energy. 
So my first lesson from this trip- and I haven’t actually even stepped foot on the Camino yet – is to start being mindful and slowing the fuck down.

Holy shit, this trip is going to be life changing if I can learn just how to do that alone. 

2 Days left until Camino trip!

I don’t have anything packed, think I have some sort of an infection since it feels like I’m fighting off sickness,  I’m exhausted and supposed to see people before I go, buy some last minute shit and still weigh gear and tweak it out.

Looks like I’m going to bring only one additional (lightweight) outfit for my trip which means for France, Finland and Corfu, I’m going to be in only 1 of 2 outfits which is different than the PCT since, there, id just be in the backcountry so couldn’t give two shits how stinky or stylish I was. Hahahaha

To be honest, I’ve been super depressed especially since a friend recently committed suicide and just one bad thing after another seems to just happen since to compound the tragic news. I don’t even really want to go but I know doing the Camino will be good for my soul. At this moment though, I doubt it’ll hit me until I’m taking my first couple of steps on the Camino or get my pilgrim passport. 

A little worried that this disassociated feeling will stay with me abroad and that I won’t feel the magic that will undoubtedly be all around me. If I don’t get any healing from this trip, I’m truly scared that my depression will get the better of me and that I’ll give up trying to live in this crazy world. Because if shocking your mind awake with new beautiful landscapes and meeting new people doesn’t do it, what will?

But one day at a time. Today, doctor and REI last minute shopping and starting of packing.

I was told that bringing a tent on the Camino is not necessary… and I do enjoy cowboy camping so thinking of leaving my tent. Can anyone vouch for this? It’s only slightly over 1 lb so still debating whether to bring it or not…