As we’re suffering under extreme heat here in Europe, I think back on last year, when we had a heat wave for weeks. As the temperatures rise steadily to 35 degrees, I’m looking at a blank piece of paper, trying to make a mind map of everything that is going on in my life and the value I attribute to it.
From Wales to Whales: June 2019
As I was doing that, I got distracted by the giant circle that is TRAVEL and my blank calendar for 2019 and 2020.
I am trip-less.
Nothing planned. No trips. No vacation. No traveling. Read on to discover how I got there and turned things around, quickly.
Do you like looking back?
Our Pembrokeshire Coast Path walk
Last month, I didn’t write a monthly recap as I was in the middle of one of my biggest undertakings. Our epic walking trip along the Welsh coast. For the past 6 months, it was on my mind 24/7. Leaving absolutely no room for other plans or thoughts.
I was preparing myself, physically and mentally, for this huge challenge. We’d walk 300 km (186 miles) in 2 weeks. We practiced long walks. I purchased technical gear to help me be comfortable during the hike. I saw numerous doctors and medical assistants who helped me solve my back and foot problems.
Train to Wales
And then, we hopped on a train to London and traveled to Wales!
I plan to write elaborately about the trip, so I don’t want to spoil all the details here, but the Pembrokeshire Coast Path was epic. We had great weather for most of the part. The hotels and B&B’s I’ve booked were stellar. We had some great foods (mmmhhh Welsh Rarebit!). And we walked.
Not as much as I wanted to as I suffered for 5 days with extreme diarrhea. It was so bad I was googling where to nearest hospital would be and how much more I could take. Luckily, I bribed my doctor at home to give me an emergency pack of antibiotics and they did the trick quite effectively. Relieved things were better, I did feel drained and the lack of energy was something I had to cope with.
I learned a lot during the week I got ill. I made a 360 degree turn from being moody, sulky and truly upset and guilty about not able to perform as planned, to humble and appreciative of what we could do.
Attempting to practice mindfulness
Walking in Wales nature, far away from any decent cell-phone reception and crowds, we both got calm and peaceful. For two weeks, the time we saw the most people was maybe at St. David’s ice cream parlor. On the train back to London, society hit us. Crowds, noises, smells. All the impressions were overwhelming. We wanted to stay in our bubble and hide under the covers. Then we arrived in London and we did exactly that until our train departed home.
This experience taught me I should really get a crack at dealing with these feelings of being overwhelmed and overstimulated. I need to get some help. So I did. The advice I got was to make a mind map and attribute value to the things on my mind. And look into mindfulness. And that is exactly what I did.
Until I got distracted.
Struggles for choosing a next trip
I deliberately didn’t plan for any trips or travels after Wales, because I wanted to use all my energy and excitement to focus on our Pembrokeshire walk. And this worked well. However, when I got back, I struggled with the idea of a new trip. It is not that I run out of places I want to visit. No, the bucket list continues to grow.
Can I uphold my no flying pledge?
It is just the limitations I’ve put on myself. I kinda-sorta don’t want to fly anymore. Which limits my options for short weekend getaways and far-flung destinations. And although I’d like to discover new places, it might be better for my blog to elaborate on the destinations I already attract thousands of visitors.
I kept going round in circles until I was able to voice my concerns out loud. Having someone to bounce ideas off, is perfect for getting outside of your own head. The counter arguments were, that as a travel blogger, I should travel. And there are other ways to save the planet.
Co2 Compensation and carbon footprint offsetting.
I looked deeper into Co2 compensation and off-setting my carbon footprint. I also realized that holding myself to my own (self-inflicted) very strict rules, is not saving the world and leaves me unhappy. So instead of holding on to my no-flying pledge, I subscribed to a monthly carbon footprint offset program where they plant trees for me. I also decided to plant more green myself.
Green and sustainable solutions
And I cut my shower time in half! Saving 20 to 30 liters of water every time I shower, will help a little bit. I’ll also look into becoming vegetarian or at least reducing my meat intake even further.
I also got a couple of quotes for solar panels on my roof and I want to look into getting a sedum roof to add even more green to my living space. It will take a while before those plans are put into place but it’s a start.
Smothering my conscious or actual improvements?
So, are these just ways to smother my conscious and continue to ruin the planet on my own? Yes, probably they are. But I am not perfect and I am limited by my own abilities and circumstances. I still want to reduce flying where possible, but until I quit my job and can travel as long as I want to, I will have to make do with long weekend trips and 2 or 3 weeks vacation time.
Plans for 2019 – part II
And I instantly felt much better. As soon as I made up my mind that I allowed myself to fly, I booked a couple of flights. And I made plans for 2019. I’m super excited, so please don’t hate me too much for flying.
For the remainder of 2019 I decided to make some dreams come true! I booked the following trips:
- Thalys trip to Paris but I’ll visit Amiens and Reims!
- Going back to Barcelona to explore more of the area and surrounding places
- Finally going to visit Greece! As someone who actually studied Greek, and has never been to the birthplace of civilization and modern society, it was long overdue. Only a weekend to Athens but super excited
- More dreams coming true. I smashed my piggy bank and purchased a flight to Argentina!! I have three weeks to discover the northern area of Foz de Iguazu and Salta and Northern Patagonia (Bariloche and Peninsula Valdes). Although I booked some flights, I’ll also be taking the train! I hope to finally see some whales as I timed my visit with a good period to visit Peninsula Valdes
- Iceland! After Christmas, we’ll go discover the land of fire and ice! And the wind. And snow probably. And hopefully some whales for my birthday too!
Wow, that is a lot of planning and preparation to do on my part. Luckily, I absolutely love planning trips and then tell you my tips and tricks, so I guess it is win-win.
Roll on summer!
All in all, I’m excited. Now all I have to do is put aside all these distractions and finish my mind map. Wish me luck! Until next month. Have a great July.
Do you have any summer travel plans? Where are you heading to? Share it in the comment section below.
And with those words I’ll leave you and say goodbye. Until next time!
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