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. 😂

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 mañana (working on my Spanish skills since headed into Spain 😄) 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 Père 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. 😂 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. 😄


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 Rosé 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!

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…

Hiking…

I love hiking but since getting injured on the PCT in 2015 and only getting 648 miles in, I’ve lost a lot of my lust for the actual hiking part.

I’ve been going to therapy too and it’s like my entire life has been unraveling before my eyes. Everything I thought I knew and was sure of has shifted and new perspectives and feelings have taken over. It’s an extremely painful yet enlightening time for me.

Many of my self-sabotaging ways came from toxic shame. Defined roughly as: ” When shame becomes toxic, it can ruin our lives. Everyone experiences shame at one time another. It’s an emotion with physical symptoms like any other that come and go, but when it’s severe, it can be extremely painful. … Unlike ordinary shame, “internalized shame” hangs around and alters our self-image” (https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-toxic-shame/). Realizing a lot of fucked up shit has happened to me (and not because of me) when I was young, has helped me to stop drinking so much (I no longer crave it as I did) and has helped to appease the suicidal urges.

I’ve always prided myself in being so independent but I’m realizing that being this obsessively solo/independent chick is actually just as bad as being a needy woman. There is no balance and I’m finding myself so lonely. I’m trying to open up to others and let myself be helped by others.

While I used to LOVE hiking solo, I’ve been mostly wanting to hike with others but with all the recent medical issues (surgery, forced temporary early menopause, etc), my fitness level is so bad that I feel like I’ve been slowing people down – especially on uphill – and holding them back from enjoying themselves. Will just have to find super slow people to hike with for now. I’ve been forcing myself at least once a week to hike SOME PLACE, doesn’t matter what. I just haven’t been doing it 4-5 nights (almost 30 miles) weekly like I was for my PCT prep years back.

My foot is still also swelling after 5-6 miles on day hikes. Will have to figure that out and go on a crazy fitness regime starting New Year so I can be ready for Camino de Santiago which I’m thinking I’ll start late April next year. Research for it has already begun. Super stoked! With my tax return, will just book a non-refundable flight and, that way, I’m forced to go. Hahaha. No excuses!