Monday, February 10, 2014

Buen Camino

Every year, I try to do something new; something big; something that terrifies me just a little bit.  I like these goals or events to also be something I've always wanted to do, and just never done.  It's part pushing myself beyond my comfort zone and part just wanting to not live with regrets for not having taken the time to do the things I want to do.  My only regret from college (apart from any ill-advised decisions made over a few beers) was that I never studied abroad.  It just never occurred to me until it was too late, and after playing Major-switching Roulette, I just simply ran out of time.

My first year, it was the Philly Tri.  I raced it with my then-roommate Lauren, my parents came as spectators and it was a great day!  We raced home (no pun intended), celebrated her birthday out with friends that night, then woke up and helped our friend Beth move the next morning.  Still one of my favorite weekends.

Triathlon finishers!

The next year, it was moving to Denver (and starting this blog, actually).  In 2011, I ran my first half marathon.  In 2012, I moved back to DC and generally didn't pick one particular event, but in 2013, I bought a house and took a solo trip to Belize to kayak around the ocean for a bit.  It was wonderfully relaxing, beautiful, and filled with so much laughter.

 Finisher Medal/Kicking it in a Belizian Hammock during a kayaking break

But now it's 2014.  For 2014, I have some big plans. 2014 is the year I turn 30.  I'm generally not one to fear aging and I'm excited for a new decade, but it just feels like a great time to mark the occasion with some major goals! 

So come June, I will be hiking the Camino de Santiago, or The Way.  A hike across northern Spain, the story goes that this path was the way of St. James, or the route taken by St. James after Jesus was crucified.  The Way has several different routes, but they all converge at the Tomb of St. James.  Hikers are referred to as pilgrims and seashells makers note the path, much like the white blazes along the Appalachian Trail.

  Santiago de Compostella Cathedral

People have asked why I am doing this and, truth be told, I don't know.  I just want to.  There is no deeper meaning or reason, unlike the pilgrim characters featured in The Way.  I'm not hiking to lose weight, or quit smoking, or work through some deep-seated mental anguish.  I just feel compelled to go. And, much to my mother's chagrin, I feel compelled to go alone.  I just feel the need to go and to see where the path takes me and not having a formal plan makes me pretty happy.   

So, the tickets are booked and the gear list is growing, as is the excitement.  Buen Camino!

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