Travel blog – an introduction

Throughout my childhood my mother gave me books and I am so very grateful to her for that. 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 jump off, run 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, when by chance the friend I had planned to go with couldn’t come at the last minute and I went inter-railing from Spain through France to Italy and Switzerland in my early twenties. Otherwise, it wasn’t until I was 53 years old that I started to explore.
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The Swiss alps. 2017.
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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

Walking without a dog – travels in Scotland

I was not been 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’, and have given this group of blogs a slightly different name, in recognition of the fact that most people I meet are walking because they have a canine friend to do it with. Me – I’m just crazy about walking and need no excuse.

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Taken from Aberdour, Fife

Scotland is as spectacular as Spain, although I admit that the sun does shines a little less.

I have always enjoyed conversation, and now 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 happily to teach Shiatsu in Paris in May 2017, 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 invited to visit it’s creators who live in Normandy. When I searched on the map, they lived on the coast a few days walk from Mont Saint-Michel where I immediately knew I needed to go. So, another walking project was born and subsequently realised in May 2017.

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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, plus a beautiful day on the Brittany coast.

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

Then in 2018, Spain and France again, plus the Fife Coastal Path and the St Magnus Way (Orkney) in Scotland, my home country.

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Orkney, Scotland.

I have been meditating for over 20 years and visited retreat centres for brief periods which 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

Note: I have just discovered that deleting photos from my media library at WordPress, the people who host my travel blogs, has meant that those deleted photos do not now appear in past blogs. The recent ones are fine and I am slowly replacing the lost ones. In the meantime, you will find blogs (eg about the Camino Frances in 2016) with text but no photos and I apologise for this.

 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

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