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Confidence – bringing my Camino-self home.

I still remember to this day the words a section manager at my workplace told me a number of years ago.

“You’re your own worst enemy”.

He knew me from working with me day in and out. And I agreed with him. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this. Having a lack of self-belief can stop us achieving goals. I certainly had a few goals I wanted to achieve, but a voice inside this little head of mine kept plugging away…”I can’t”, it said.

So I didn’t.

I’m sure I would be in a different position to where I am today – both in and out of work – if I had a little more self belief.

One evening, while watching one of Anthony Suzuki’s brilliant “Beyond The Way” videos before he walked the Camino Frances in 2015, he explained that he didn’t have a great amount of faith in himself to arrive in Santiago. It was then that he brought up the famous story by Dr. Suess “Oh, the Places You’ll go”. In it, Dr. Suess says:-

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go”.

Andrew used this piece as motivation, he gained a little faith in himself and he completed his Camino. I had never heard of this story until it was brought up in the video and it was a great eye-opener for me. The difference is, for me, while on Camino, I have no shortage of confidence or self belief. I open up and bloom. I love meeting people, telling stories and I suppose I am the opposite to who I am at home. So you can see why I return to the Camino year on year.

The trick is adopt this attitude to everyday life at home. The above few lines push me in the right direction.


Another passion of mine…

I’ll let you into a little secret..

lyricsIn another lifetime..well, not too long ago, I used to enjoy putting one word after the other to create sentences. From the age of 12 right up to my mid-20’s, I got great enjoyment out of writing and playing guitar on a regular basis. It was a pretty fun thing to do and I was even in a band at one stage. Sure, every 20-something was! It was a rite of passage in life.

However, in time, life got in the way and writing reports and reaching deadlines replaced this little obsession of mine. I have still listened to music all along, but my two guitars are now gathering dust in the corner of my room and my collection of songs are in a box alongside them. I haven’t looked at them in years.

But tonight something happened that hasn’t happened in quite a while. I put pen to paper and wrote eight lines. It’s not much, but it could be the spark. My inspiration? The Camino, walking and its memories.

I’ll probably forget about it tomorrow and leave these few lines lying where they are but this whole thing surprised me. Will I kick on from here? I’d love to. If I can write a part of a song without music I’d be pretty happy. It’s all about being creative I suppose and this is a great way. I had also thought about buying a ukelele before Christmas as it is so easy to learn (plus they only have 4 strings).


Double D4 Run & New Shoes!

The weekend so far has been great..get out and enjoy it if you can! Fine weather, a perfect Friday night and win in a raffle….. and it’s only Saturday. You can’t beat that!

First of all, last evening, I walked just over 5km in a fun run / walk event with all proceeds going to cancer research. This was the Double D4 Run. The course of the run was on Sandymount Strand, a stretch of beach along the south cost of Dublin. Over 250 took part and I clocked in at 47 minutes. Not bad for just walking. The winner arrived home in 18 minutes. Unbelievable. I often wish I could run but I run into pain (pardon the pun!) with my tendons and shin splints. If you can think of a way to get me running, leave a comment below!

After the race, a delicious BBQ was made available to all and some great music was played. There were some great prizes also. I won a voucher for a pair of Brooks runners / trail shoes! At first, I didn’t know a whole deal about the brand. I had worn Colombia, North Face and Meindl on all my Caminos and I was quite happy with them. However with a little research, it appears that they are very popular in the US and well recommended as a trail shoe. So, after speaking to Drew over on, I was recommended the Brooks Cascadia 11. Now I need to call the Irish rep to arrange a fitting. It’s a pretty decent prize, so I’d like to thank whoever arranged that.


I’m also well into my preparations for the Gudbransdalen in Norway. May 2018 is pretty much set in stone at the moment. So far, I have purchased a Therm-a-rest Z-lite Sol sleeping mat (above), an Alpkit Hunka bivvy bag (which I have yet to receive), and Alison Raju’s Guide to the walk to Trondheim. Onwards to adventure..


Storytelling and the Camino..

So last night I was at a storytelling event at the great Abbey Theatre in Dublin. I was there to listen to 10 storytellers who had reached the The Moth Dublin final, but most importantly, I was there to support a man I met on the Camino in 2013. Storytelling had taken hold of his life since then, but this is a very good thing. We had met a number of times since our times on the Camino, most recently at the Camino Information night that I spoke at. He also told a magnificent story of the many varied people he met while he on his way to Santiago.

The Abbey was full, and shortly after 8pm the first performer took to the stage. Each story must be mo more than 6 minutes in length, must be true and points are awarded for delivery also. To some people, this kind of thing might come naturally, but to others, there are a lot of factors to consider. My Camino buddy appeared 2nd to last with a powerful story. When he had finished, nothing could be heard but silence.


A tiny flame started to burn in my head after leaving the Theatre. Could I do something like this? I have always liked creativity whether it be blogging to writing music, but performing to a crowd is a major crutch, no matter how small. I’ve never been a confident person…and you need tons of confidence to speak or perform in front of a crowd. That said, speaking to 50-60 people at the Camino Information night was a start and if I can do that, I am going in the right direction.


First Walking…Now..Running!

Kili-Run-124So you all know I have a passion for walking. I have for many years and I can’t see that leaving in the near future. However, I wouldn’t consider myself “fit”. I walk on average three to four times a month, not including my time in Spain. So I would consider myself overweight. With Christmas fast approaching (ugh..I dislike that word!), I thought I would give running a shot. I have tried before and failed after I got pains in my legs. Some may say that once you can walk, running will come naturally, but I feel that running is a different ball game as it puts more pressure on the legs (and is less enjoyable!!).

Anyway, a group from work are getting together from tomorrow and starting up a Desk to 5K plan. The hope is that by the 21st of December, I should be able to run 5K uninterrupted. That’s the hope anyway. If I fail, I know that I should stick to walking.

Footwear and Street Performers..

So now Christmas and 2013 are both well and truly over, we can look forward to 2014. Four days into the new year, I haven’t come to terms with that one extra digit after 13 and when writing dates, I am still writing 04/01/2013. I’ll get used to it soon.

Anyhow, today was a good day. Ever since I made up my mind of going back to Spain, I have been quietly planning but today I visited town and bought a few things. The Great Outdoors is a fab store to visit if you want to buy clothes, accessories and footwear to wear outside of the home for walking, trekking, or whatever. They have some great staff too. Receiving vouchers over the Christmas period was enough for me to pay a visit. I haven’t walked down Grafton Street in a while but it is still crowded, filled with people taking advantage of the post-Christmas sales. 

I bought a decent pair of shoes, Colombia Peakfreak Enduro. Not the shoe I was looking for but I was tempted into buying them based on the fit and also from advise from a guy working there who happened to walk the Camino twice before. I just need to get used to them and break them in. My North Face Hedgehogs have served me well over the last number of years but I needed to say goodbye to them. 


I also bought a lightweight Snugpak sleeping bag, another brand I was recommended. The bag I brought in May was far too big and very awkward to put in it’s sack in the early hours of the morning. Hopefully this will save some space.

I booked my flights to Biarritz and from Bilbao on Thursday and all I need to do now is find some where to stay in St Jean Pied de Port. I think I will wait until I arrive there as I hear the small town is not short of cheap rooms, bed and breakfasts and albergues. Next on the list is to get walking again.

Before I finish up, I spotted this man on Grafton Street on my way home. Quite a few people were looking on, scratching their heads in bemusement, including myself for a while.


There is a secret behind this levitation. You can read up how he conjures up this “magic” here.

So…where were we?

Hi folks..I’m back. I find it hard to believe it is a month since I put finger to keypad and wrote. I guess life got in the way. I keep meaning to sign in, say hello to everyone and then sign out, but that is a little too much like facebook. I even forgot my password! I’ve just finished brushing down some cobwebs while reading some posts written by some followers.

I may as well say where I have been all this time. Don’t worry..I haven’t left Dublin or anything..I haven’t decided to pack my bags and move to Spain on a whim..although I would jump at the chance. Incidentally, a few people have told me that now is an ideal time to take that extended break. I have no ties, no mortgage, no’s a great time to do it. It’s a nice thought alright, but….maybe later! The word “regret” automatically leaps into my mind!

As you are all aware (if you have been reading my blog), I have a mortgage approved for quite some time. I have been looking here and there and had pretty much bought an apartment in north Dublin. I was beyond happy as it was central and the prices are getting higher, so I got a good deal. But before I signed on the dotted line, I wanted to check one final thing out. The original architect’s report..drawn up in 2000..which was by chance in the middle of the riddled Celtic Tiger. I wanted to see if he had approved the build. But he didn’t. He denied liability, as there were no fire breaks in the walls. The words “Priory Hall” jumped into my mind and I ran from that sale as fast as I could. I’m delighted I didn’t sign as I would never be able to sell in the future. I have pity on the current owners, they will have a tough time trying to sell it. Imagine if there was a fire there…actually no, don’t! So I am back to square one and I’ve decided to wait until the new year to start looking again.

I have decided to go back to Spain to finish the remainder of the Camino, but not until September. I have gotten used to the May / June time slot, and I wonder what it will be like in September. I reckon 10 days will be enough and I will have it completed. I may leave it a few years after that and walk the full stretch…for my 40th! Who knows? I am meeting some folks I met in Burgos in May before Christmas. It will be great to see them again. And I hope to see a few others who plan to visit Ireland from Canada and France respectively. I’m actually looking forward to walking the first few stages, they aren’t busy and there are no day trippers, unlike in Galicia.

He terminado mi clase de español para el año, pero no sé qué hacer ahora. Creo que necesito más prácticas de conversación! You might need to use Google Translate to figure out what I said there, but it’s about learning Spanish 🙂 Oh..if you are planning on learning the language, you shouldn’t pay a should 1) visit 2) read El Pais online and 3) watch a Spanish speaking channel. You will pick it up very easily. And practice makes perfect. Surrounding yourself with like minded individuals helps too. That goes for any language. Rosetta Stone..ripp off, more like!!

Well I think that’s about it from here. I have a few e-mails to write and an episode of Breaking Bad to watch. Yes, yes, I know it is finished but I am still catching up. I’ve avoided spoilers for a while so I’m doing well!!

Ups and downs..

Hi all. A few things have happened since my last post. Not only have I become accustomed to the move, but I also have paid my deposit. No going back now. I have decided to do the Spanish evening course also. That will be on Monday nights. Apparently the course is entirely in Spanish and I am a bit rusty. Actually I haven’t spoke a word to anyone apart from using it in Spain. And that was hastily put together. So I wonder how these 10 weeks will go.

And finally and most importantly, my Camino plans have changed from being concrete in nature to being wet and soggy. I’m not sure if I will go back next year at all. If I do, it will be in September or October. This has been a kick in the teeth as it is all I have been talking about since I got back. Ask my family. 

Anyway, life goes on. Until next time.

Simon’s Cat

I’ve never been one to spend large amounts of time on YouTube as I tend to get sucked in and before I know it, it is 8am. But..I’ve fallen hook line and sinker for Simon’s Cat. Check it out for yourself and prepare for your new addiction.

Spam Post Humour

I reguarly receive spam posts which are blocked from my blog. Some are trying to sell me something, others are asking me to visit their virus-ridden website. However, this one just made me laugh. I hope the person who wrote this stands up and pats themselves on the back!

“certainly like your website but you have to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very bothersome to tell the reality nevertheless I will certainly come back again”

Excellent stuff!