Walking through remote landscapes and reflecting meditatively on life has become my new way of life. In 3 month periods I explore and make pilgrimage, meeting fascinating people along the way. Then I return to my home in Edinburgh to write about it. Through this I weave Shiatsu: teaching and giving sessions as I go.

‘these are the roads that bind us’ Roseanne Watt from Between Islands

My mother taught me to read before I started school and plied me with books for which I am so very grateful. Among them were first-hand accounts of adventure in foreign lands: ‘My Journey to Lhasa’ by Alexandra David-Neel, ‘As I walked Out One Midsummer Morning’ by Laurie Lee, and ‘The Songlines’ by Bruce Chatwin.

At this impressionable age who knows how much I imbibed. I certainly remember sitting on the train as a young teenager on my way to school and longing to run off across the fields and be on my own.
I craved to go beyond the garden gate, to follow the road that passed it by and to set out for the unknown. Alexandra David-Neel
I had one experience of solo travel in my twenties, when by chance the friend I had planned to go interrailing with couldn’t come at the last minute. I started in Barcelona, Spain through France to Italy and Barcelona in Sicily, finally reaching Switzerland for the stunning journey through the Alps. Otherwise, it wasn’t until I was 53 years old that I started to walk solo.
Exploring is my way to search, to understand. Walking is my teacher.
Sarah Marquis, uber-explorer
The Swiss alps, 2017.
Arriving in Spain on the ferry from England, September 2016.

Walking without a donkey – Travels in Spain

I wrote some of these blogs when I was away, and added to them on my return. Each one covers a place (or more than one) I visited, and are numbered according to the order I visited them.

‘But we are all …too, travellers with a donkey; and the best that we find in our travels is an honest friend. He is a fortunate voyager who finds many.’ RLS *

* Travels With a Donkey in the Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson (incidentally a son of Scotland). https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/Robert-Louis-Stevenson-and-His-Walk-with-a-Donkey

In January 2019 I discovered the Scots word for a donkey – cuddy – when I came across The Cuddy Trail on the Berwickshire Coastal Path in England.

Walking without a dog – travels in Scotland

I was not able to stop walking when I first returned to Scotland, and so set about exploring my home city and further afield with ‘a new eye’. I have given this group of blogs a slightly different name, in recognition of the fact that most people I meet are out because they have a canine friend to take with them. Me – I’m just crazy about walking and need no excuse.

Taken from Aberdour, Fife

Scotland is as spectacular as Spain, although it must be said that the sun does shines a little less.

I have always enjoyed a good conversation, and now I have discovered a joy of writing – inspired by the places I have been and the wonderful people I have met.

The words simply tumbled out of him and he listened to them in astonishment as they lined up, seemingly of their own accord, to create a meaning that became apparent to him with surprising clarity only after he had spoken them.‘ p 31-32 A Whole Life, Robert Seethaler.

Walking without a donkey – Travels in France

Happily, I was asked to teach Shiatsu in Paris and as I was already on the continent I thought I would walk in Normandy. Another lucky co-incidence then occurred: I had been working on a Shiatsu mobile application, Tsubook, and was invited to visit its creators who live in Normandy. When I searched on the map I saw that they lived on the coast only a few days from Mont Saint-Michel. I immediately knew I needed to go there and so, another walking project was born. That was where I walked in May 2017.

One of the ‘randonnée’ way markers along the Normandy coast, France

I walked from Agon-Coutainville to Mont Saint-Michel along the Randonée GR223 and then inland to Pontorson. I also had a beautiful day on the Brittany coast.

Later in 2017 I visited Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France.

Then in 2018 I went to Spain and France again and started the Fife Coastal Path. May saw me trek the St Magnus Way (Orkney) in Scotland, my home country. I also added photo essays and other blogs of London and Edinburgh.

IMG_20180527_094259 (359x640)
Orkney, Scotland.

I have been meditating for over 20 years and visited retreat centres for brief periods and this is connected to my more recent attraction to pilgrimage.

It is said that the hardship of a pilgrim journey invests the path with its power and that each step is an offering.

‘My Journey to Lhasa’ Alexandra David-Neel p. xii

Here are my blogs telling you about some of my adventures.

Read travels in Spain

Read Travels in Scotland

Read Travels in Edinburgh

Read travels in England

Read travels in France

Read travels in Austria

Read travels in Switzerland

Read travels in Norway

Read St Magnus Way

Read Ireland

Read Croatia

Read Greece

5 thoughts on “Travel blog – an introduction

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