Hello my friends! It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? At least a month since I’ve posted something here, and since so many of my recent posts have been about my summer journey on the Chemin du Puy, it feels like ages since we’ve actually caught up.
So here I am, with a little post to say hi. What have all of you been up to since I last checked in? I hope there’s been a lot of walking and maybe some traveling and adventures. Some of you have been out on a Camino, some of you are doing your best to discover new local walks. And some of you are continuing to just get outside everyday, walking the same old roads. I like all of these options.
My corner of the east coast had its first snow of the season on Saturday, and I have to say, I wasn’t quite prepared. Mild weather has stretched long into the fall this year, and so even though we’re well into December, I’m not quite ready for winter. But on Saturday, it was unmistakable: winter is here.
I always slow down at this time of the year, and I’m sure that this year will be no different. Already I think I’ve gotten back into a good writing routine, and I’ve returned to my big project, ‘The Book’. This is my memoir about my Camino Frances, interspersed with some other life tidbits (though this ‘interspersing’ is proving to be a difficult task). I’d written the bulk of a very rough draft nearly two years ago, and in the meantime have worked in fits and starts, getting little accomplished before becoming completely overwhelmed and confused about what I was trying to write.
Writing this book has felt, at times, so overwhelming and I’ve felt so far from having anything good, that it’s been easy to just walk away. I always intend to come back, but beginning the process again is difficult and I never get very far. But about a month ago I had this feeling that was hard to ignore- a bit of a tug, a persistent nudge, something echoing and bouncing around my mind: the book. The book. The book.
So I’ve come back to it and it’s been slow going but man, it feels good to be in it again. So that’s probably where you’ll find me this winter- sitting at my kitchen table, maybe with a glass of red wine and some mellow music playing on Spotify, muscling through the language and structure of my story. It’s where I always try to be in this season, sometimes more successfully than not. This year, I hope for great consistency and steady forward progress. Wish me luck!
And, beyond the writing, I’ve been continuing to walk. There have been a few new places: hikes in the Catskill Mountains of New York, a towpath along the Susquehanna River in Maryland, a new walking path a few miles away from where I live. But otherwise I’m in my familiar park, looping through my neighborhood, sometimes pacing back and forth in my apartment when my legs are feeling itchy (ahh, these cold and short winter days!).
On the horizon, well, there’s just more of the same. In an effort to save money for a desperately-needed new(ish) car, it’s doubtful that I’ll be taking off for any long-distance walking adventures in the springtime (but my memories of the Hadrian’s Wall trip last spring are such happy ones, and I’ve already done a good deal of research on hikes in Ireland for the springtime. For now this is just wishful thinking, and Ireland in the spring will probably have to wait at least another year).
But even as I’m staying put for the immediate future, there’s always the summer to dream about. Ahh, these have been such fun dreams. It’s all but certain that I’ll be returning for a 4th (!!) trip to La Muse, my writer’s retreat in a small French mountain village. If I hadn’t made such good connections in these past two years I don’t know if I would have returned again so soon, but more and more I realize that I’ve been craving community. And I’ve had this incredible fortune of finding an artistic community of people I adore, and we have this really special and beautiful place we can return to and reunite in. Several of my friends are returning this summer, and I can’t resist the pull to return with them. And even though I seem to do more hiking and sitting-on-the-terrace-talking-and-wine-drinking than I do writing on these retreats, I think it is good that I’m giving myself the space and time to work on my projects. If I can continue to move forward with my book in these next months, then I just might be able to have a workable draft ready to send out by the end of the summer. Maybe.
A friend from the retreat has suggested a quick trip to the Italian Dolomites after our stay at La Muse, full of hiking and good food, and this is very, very appealing. (Do any of you know anything about the Dolomites? This would be a new area for me and I’m curious to hear of your experiences!).
And then, of course, I want to do some long-distance walking. Maybe some part of a Camino, maybe a trek through England (there are several I have my eye on). There’s still a lot to be figured out, but this is the fun part, when everything is a possibility, and I can research and look through photos and try to figure out what I most want to do. I’m lucky, very lucky, to be in this position.
-I’m still loving my Nadine Walks Instagram account. I try to post a photo every day, all of my favorites from my past-treks and Camino’s. Right now I’m still posting about my walk on the Camino del Norte, from 2015 & 2016. If you have Instagram and haven’t followed this account, please come over!
-The e-book I published two months ago, ‘After the Camino’, is still around. It was such a fun experience to put together a book and share it with people, and I hope that more travelers and pilgrims will continue to find it.
-Have you heard about #walk1000miles? It’s a free challenge that was created by Country Walking, a top-selling magazine in the UK. I think it’s been around for at least a few years, and it encourages walkers to sign up and join a larger community of people who are all trying to walk 1,000 miles in a year. It’s easy to join and is all honesty-based, so all you have to do is track your miles. There’s a very interactive and supportive Facebook group and check-ins throughout the year, which all helps with motivation and encouragement. Even though I’m not in the UK, I signed up and thought it would be a lot of fun to track my miles for 2018. I know a lot of you reading this could be interested in the challenge, so here’s the link… we can do this together!
-Finally, I decided to try to use some affiliate links on this blog. I’m not sure that it’s really something that will be worthwhile for me and for what I do here, but occasionally I talk about the gear that I use on my walks and I love to recommend stuff that has worked for me (like, for instance, my Keen shoes. I will probably never stop talking about how much I love them). So if I use an affiliate link (like I did above with the Keens), and if you click through and end up purchasing that product (or, since this is the Amazon affiliate program, any product you purchase after following my link), a very small percentage of the cost will come to me (and at absolutely no cost to you!). If I make $10.00 I think I will be lucky, and I promise you that I will use that money to buy a coffee and sit somewhere nice and work on a blog post. Any more than $10.00 and I will use it to support this site and my walks. Look for a holiday pilgrim/walker gift guide coming soon! And then I’ll probably forget that I ever signed up for this affiliate thing.
Thanks for staying with me and continuing to read, and if you have a minute, leave a comment and let me know what you’ve been up to in the past few months. Happy holidays, happy winter, and all my best. I’ll be back soon.