Welcome Family & Friends

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting ~ a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last year as I was contemplating my 40th year on this big blue planet, that I have not seen nearly enough of, I thought that it was time to set some firm goals for myself rather than constantly saying “Wouldn’t it be nice to one day…”. Instead of having another blowout birthday bash, I have decided to opt for something a little more introspective. So, that’s it. 2011 is the year I’m doing my Pilgrimage on The Camino De Santiago De Compostela.

Why have I waited so long? Well to be truthful, I really had not heard about it until recently. I actually happened upon the idea watching an episode of "Burt Wolf's Travels & Traditions" on PBS one weekend. Then there's also the finances associated with such a long journey rife with logistics. This endeavor isn’t going to be cheap when you add up plane fare, hiking equipment, 50 euros a day, and time off from work. But my plans are slowly materializing. It’s going to happen - I can see it! I've even asked my friends and family to keep me to my word on this one. I plan on starting my trek in late September during the less congested season. If all goes well, I should end my journey close to the end of October 2011!

I created this blog to keep you all informed on my progress in the months leading up to my trip. This blog will give me a forum to educate everyone about the Pilgrimage and its history...and even comment on the French and Spanish cultures. I also plan on doing a lot of fundraising to help me pay for things I will need, so check back often as I announce events and opportunities for you to help me reach my goals. Speaking of goals, I will also be doing a lot of physical training to ready my body for the long walk. I will be sure to post all my trials and tribulations here as well. I know a lot of you will get a kick out of hearing how I "get back into shape" over the next few months. Please don't hold back if you have any tips that will aid in my fitness.

I will also utilize this blog to diary and chronicle my days while on the Pilgrimage. It will be my main mode of communication since I will be all the way in Spain. I will try and post daily musings of my travels, send out pretty pictures of the contryside, and tell you about all the wonderful people I encounter along the way. My path will take me across 350+ miles of beautiful landscapes starting near the Pyrenees and traversing all the way out to the Galician coast. I’m figuring on 4-5 weeks to reach the Cathedral where the remains of Saint James The Greater rest - I know, can you believe it?!!!

So thanks for visiting my blog! Please come by and poke around as I send out future updates and please spread the word - I want to share this story with everyone and anyone that is willing to listen and learn!

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

Love Always,
Richert Gordon

The Cathedral De Santiago De Compostela

The Cathedral De Santiago De Compostela
Click the above image to visit the Catedral de Santiago

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step...

So I was on the phone with my mom last Sunday (she is currently semi-retired and resides in Hawaii.), and she suggested that I try and do some fitness walking at the local shopping mall. She had the foresight to check the weather report here in Northern California before she made the call (non-stop rain, FINALLY! We sure need it here in Sacramento), so as to deter me from coming up with any excuses to not exercise. I was then faced with the reality that I really needed to start walking to work my way back to fitness. Sitting idle in front of the computer is worse than being a couch potato watching TV all day, and I have been doing BOTH in the past few months following the holidays! So I took her advice to heart, and drove to the Roseville Galleria to get some much overdue walking in. The rain was relentless, so I was glad to be inside. I proceeded to start walking, and was immediately distracted by a wonderful scent emanating from L'Occitane, so I went in and the very helpful salesgirl told me it was a limited edition "Honey & Lemon Shimmering Eau de Toilette" that goes for $46.00 - go check it out, it is FABULOUS!

After my little diversion, I decided it was time to get to the task at hand. I walked half the length of the mall on the bottom level, and was stopped 4 times! I had enough of the hard sell skin care, 30 minute masseuses, & cell phone barkers, so I took flight to the upper level. Much better, and also carpeted. The immediate thought I had was "Gosh, this mall is empty!". There was no one shopping! This economy was being protrayed dismally on the 5 0'clock news, but it really didn't hit me until my stroll that day in the mall. I have worked in retail over 15 years and I don't think I have seen it that dead in a mall EVER - times have definitely changed!!!

I told myself I would walk non-stop for 2 hours. But I only could manage 1 hour and 40 minutes. Boy am I out of shape! Half way through the walk, my left hip started aching so I stopped. I left the mall a little deflated and pessimistic. In order for me to do the pilgrimage properly, I will need to walk at least 15 miles per day. I didn't even make 3 miles. But I remained positive and remembered that at least I wasn't sitting at home snacking mindlessly, or Facebooking, or Twittering!!! I actually had a smaller meal that evening, and I seemed to rest at night a little better.

The following day and still felt a few creaks in my leg, so I decided to wait a day before I gave it another try. The last thing I want to do is injure myself.

Today I woke up to sun-filled windows. The rain broke, and I could actually walk outside. I proceeded to get dressed and set my sights to Blue Oak Park that is just behind my house, not even a block away. The day was immediately optimistic with clear blue skies dotted with puffy white clouds and I was hoping for a little meditation while on my walk. I was so happy to see that the circumference of the park was paved in smooth cement walkways, and no one was there. I had the whole place to myself. Then I was taken by the blooming plum tree branches and wondered how great they would look in a huge vase on my kitchen counter, and that I needed to bring some pruning shears to collect a few later. Why did I not bring my iPod?! Then I noticed the grass was overgrown and wondered when the maintenance crew was coming by to trim the lawn. It was also a little nippy - why didn't I bring a sweatshirt! Then I noticed how my foot started to ache...why am I wearing these slippers again? I need to break in those new boots!!! So much for meditation. I was able, however, to do 5 laps around the park for about an hour and 15 minutes and my hip wasn't bothering me - yaaayyyyy!!!

So I figure I will continue to do my walks every other day and try to work my way up to 2 hours per day. Once I get my pedometer, I will know better the total distance I cover in a single workout. I am glad I have started and I am positive that I will gain endurance and hopefully drop some weight as my fitness regimen progresses. If any of you out there want to walk with me, let me know - I would love the company!!!

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