Alternative Ways to Walk The Camino

There he was again, up ahead of me on the trail, walking his bicycle, his backpack fastened to its seat. I had seen him a few times over the last week but never once did I see him actually riding that bicycle.

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(I’ve gotten a bit behind on linking my posts to this site, so here’s one that was published a couple weeks ago.)

Changing a Habit

I’ve gotten a bit behind on linking my posts to this site, so here’s one that was published a couple weeks ago:


Not too long after I returned from walking the 500-mile Camino to Santiago my mother said, “Your brother-in-law is very impressed.”


“Yeah. He gave you three days.”

“Three days? He didn’t think I’d make it past three days?”

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The Matchmakers of Asheville

She came up to me at the end of class, congratulated me on how well I’d done, and then said, “I have a personal question for you.”

“Okay,” I said.

“Are you dating someone? Or married? Or single?”

“I’m single,” I said, realizing where this was going.

“Well, I promise you I was paying attention to what you were teaching, but I couldn’t help thinking the whole time that you would be good for James.  He rents from me. How old are you, if you don’t mind my asking.”


“Oh, good.  He’s thirty-four. Would you….” She stumbled a bit over what to do next, but I knew how this went.  After all, I’d been in this same position just three weeks before. And told her as much.

I handed her my card and said, “Feel free to give him my contact information, and tell him he’s welcome to call me.”

The next day she called to see if I had plans for Easter, would I want to come to her place? I was sick and had already turned down two other invitations, so declined hers as well. She offered that she’d have me over another time. I wonder if this was her way of making the connection. I imagine not all men would jump at the chance to call a woman they’ve never met before to ask her out, sight unseen.  Though, now that I think about it, the one three weeks ago did just that.


Maybe it’s because it’s spring. Or because I look like I’m in need of a good man. Or because my genes are too good not to pass on (yes, someone told me this.  I took it as a compliment). Whatever their reason, I’m fine with good-intentioned people expressing an interest in setting me up. I’ve heard dating is a numbers game. Just how many first dates does one need to go on is a question I wish I knew the answer to. 

Finding Time to Walk The Camino

“How were you able to take so much time off from work to hike the Camino?” a reader asked a few weeks ago.

The short answer is this: I resigned. However, you don’t have to leave your job behind in order to walk the Camino. If you’ve been thinking you’d like to take the journey to Spain to walk The Way, but are not sure you can take six weeks off, here are a few suggestions:

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A Place of Her Own

While unpacking, I came across a picture I’d drawn a few months ago. A small house.  A garden beside it. Two chairs facing each other, outside under a tree.

I stared at the picture. I’m in that house. 

Around the drawing I’d written phrases. As I read them, I couldn’t believe it.

 People will see my little house and say, ‘It’s so you!’ And it will be.

 There’s room for visitors inside.  They come. From near and far. Old friends and new. The old ones say, “I’ve never seen you this happy.” 

This is my attempt at a garden. It will truly be an “attempt.” 

 I’ll also have an outdoor seating area.  I’ll use it a lot, with my visitors especially, but it will also have a comfy cushioned chair where I write.  

 I had read many times about “visualizing” your future. I had never consciously tried it. The picture in front of me was something I did one day spur-of-the-moment, pulling out my markers and my poster-size post-its (since I can’t write on my walls). I was daydreaming about the tiny house I’d build one day.

As I pondered the images and words before me I noticed that nowhere had I written that I would build this place. And indeed I hadn’t. I had found it on craigslist just one week earlier.

I pulled up to it and tried to keep my feelings in check — I thought it was adorable but didn’t want to get my hopes up before I’d even walked in. But as I walked up to the door to meet the owners, I couldn’t help but hang my mouth open in amazement. I can see myself here. 

The owners took me through the front door and into the living room, and a great sense of calm came over me. This was it.


But you can’t make decisions so quickly, my rational side said. So I told the landlady I’d need to sleep on it.

I called Mom. I told her about the screened in porch and the babbling brook.”You know,” she said, “I only had one dream of your grandmother after she died. In it, she was rushing me through a small house to show me she now had what she’d always wanted: a screened in porch. And I think there was a brook beside it.”

An evening view from the porch into the bedroom.

An evening view from the porch into the bedroom.

I hung up the phone and called the landlady. It was mine.

I sent pictures to friends. Just as my drawing predicted, many of them said, “This is so you!” In just three days, I’ve had the visitors from near and far that I wrote about. The landlady has a garden just across the brook and said she’d be happy to teach me her gardening secrets. And that comfy chair for writing? It’s on the screened-in porch.

Until the weather warms up, this is where I have my morning tea.

Until the weather warms up, this is where I have my morning tea.

The cabin has, in the past, been used as a vacation rental. The guestbook is filled with people professing their love for it, and for Asheville.


“My mother says a guestbook goes with a house,” I told the landlady, recalling the guestbook my parents inherited with their lakehouse.

“Oh, yes, I agree,” she said, encouraging me to continue it’s use. And I surely will. (Consider this your invitation.)

The pie safe in the living room...

The pie safe in the living room…

The stained glass in the porch door.

The stained glass in the porch door.

Lift his beard to find a door lock.
Lift his beard to find a door lock.