A little over 500 miles later..(pics included)

WOOOOO! it’s all over:) currently sitting beachside reflecting back on the past 34 days of rising around 5-6:30 am, walking anywhere between 7 and 12 hours and being bed ridden for the remaining of the days resting aching feet, joints and blistered skin. This was a very spiritual journey for me, although I am not a man of religion, I do know and have had direct contact with a the Light/higher consciousness/cosmic energy or GOD for you mainstream thinkers, which led me to the Camino de Santiago in the first place. I’ve found my calling, I’ve gained clarity and wisdom far greater than I could have imagined and now have a much better feel for Life and it’s great mysteries.

Thank you Camino for showing me my purpose in this life, thank you for making me realize how much my family means to me, and thank you for the amazing people you’ve placed in my path along the way and last but not least, thank you for really teaching me to just let go and LIVE.

Life lessons learned over the past 34 days, from the border of France to the tip of Spain.

1. Each day started off smooth at around 6am (still dark out) and I would walk until around 2pm sometimes later. In life, if things are meant to be it will almost always start out smooth, with a passion, joy or energy that really hits home with you. However, you will be tested along the way, and before you reach your goal big or small the universe will test your will power to overcome and the intentions you hold in your heart to make sure you’re well deserving. So know when things get hard, yet when your vision is still strong to keep moving (in my case one step at a time)

2. You’ve heard it before and I’ll tell you again. It’s the journey NOT the destination. Learn to perceive each waking day as a destination of it’s own and look into the eyes of those who matter most to you and appreciate the journey and never ending destination of friendship, love and appreciation.

3. Cultivate your inner child, get silly and let loose! laugh at yourself, talk to yourself do whatever the fuck you want. Look at your life as a book and make sure you’re entertaining the reader!

4. Dare to imagine. Life is nothing without a great imagination. Everything you see around you made by man was once imagined! Using your imagination is one of the few tools to really free your mind and give you a sense of infinite possibilities and creativity.

5. Help yourself by helping others! even if its just shooting them a big ol’ smile or a charismatic “HEY how’s it going?!” lighten up the energy and moods of others and I promise you’ll see improvements of your own.

6. Always observe, but never judge. Observing is sitting on the edge of a river looking into the meadow, not labeling trees as trees, or grass as grass but just observing free of judgements (labels). If you see Tiffany having a break down because her boyfriend bought her a silver watch instead of the white Michael Cors watch, instead of judging her behavior just observe and move on. Judging really just brings forth negative energy within yourself and get’s a snow ball rolling in the wrong direction, you’ll even notice yourself getting tired after a while.

7. CHARACTER! In life you will always be marketing and selling yourself, even before the service or product you may have to offer. Establishing a strong character is crucial. Always keep your character in check and forever work on making constant progression in the way you see yourself in your dreams. Follow your gut feeling, be moral and never let greed skew your view!

8.Preparation. Anything is possible with a good base of preparation. You can’t be a great gymnast without having a lean, strong body. You can’t fight Floyd Mayweather and expect to win without preparation. You can’t be happy in life and with the external world unless you’re happy with yourself at the core of your being, and that takes preparation by traveling, exploring, testing the waters, facing your fears, until you’ve shaped yourself through experience of trial and error.

9. LEARN TO LET GO! life really isn’t secure, seeking security is really an insecurity! everything changes constantly! it’s ok to seek knowledge of security but sooner or later you need to give up and realize you will never actually have a full grasp over a situation 5 years from now. People walk in and out of your life, employees quit at moments notice, you can get a text from your dad telling you that you owe a $570 international phone bill, like what just happened to me! Learn to let go of attachments, don’t let yourself become a slave of possessions.

10. Most importantly, a successful external world will not exist or will only be temporary until you have a successful inner world. Chase your truth, find your passions, if you don’t have joy and enthusiasm in your life it might be time to switch things up a bit. Center your mind through meditation, yoga or excersizing. You must always seek to improve and nourish the mind, body and soul. If your lacking in one area you won’t be at your full potential. Don’t get caught up in the rat race and lose focus of how special you really are.

With courage to walk your own path, discipline to keep yourself in check and the will power to know what’s best for YOU no matter how crazy, weird or different that may be from your neighbor; Success is only a patience game away;)

I’ve got a lot more but just wanted to share a quick 10 lol sorry for rambling, Enjoy the PICS:)

 

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Santiago de Compostela!!
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before Christopher Columbus set sail this was known to be “the end of the world”.. super inspiring moment for me thinking about the endless possibilities

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Adrien and I cooked up our first vegetarian dish together:) going to miss my hippy friend
Adrien and I cooked up our first vegetarian dish together:) going to miss my hippy friend

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Final week! 60 Kilometers remain – Camino De Santiago

alright alrightt alrighhhtttttt! 60 kilometers (2 days) away from hitting the finish line! emotions are raging, feet aching and hair longer than an eskimo caught in the arctic mid winter! Continuing to meet some amazing people as well as running into those I wished farewell weeks ago thinking i’d never see again. The bonds made here have really been something else, it’s like everyone I’ve encountered so far have there arms and hearts wide open just really caring to hear and feel for what you’re all about; might that be views on life, experiences, stories, comfort, wisdom, knowledge and theories of various topics, goals, business, politics etc. etc. The difference between these encounters and the majority of the encounters like such back home is these people are the LEAST bit judgmental and have a much more loving approach/understanding.

Enjoy the Pics:)

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ZzZz sleeping baby
ZzZz sleeping baby

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Camino De Santiago – Part 4 (334 miles)

Slowly, but surely. Step by step. Mountain range by mountain range. I am getting closer and closer to the end of this life changing experience.

Young or Old, Whoever you may be or think you are. If your stuck in a rut, confused on your life’s purpose or just need some clarity and understanding I STRONGLY recommend buying a one way ticket to France and embarking on this 30+ day adventure. You really start to understand why all the wise men and women over the years, emphasize simplicity. It’s like the more you add to your life the higher the bar is set to maintain your happiness which usually only makes you want more and more. When you keep things simple you learn to appreciate the pines in the pine tree, not just the forest that it is surrounded by.

Enjoy the pics, and sorry for the late update:)

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wedding crashersss
wedding crashersss
Leon Cathedral
Leon Cathedral

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little man has swagg
little man has swagg

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another amazing note left on my bag in the morning
another amazing note left on my bag in the morning

This is a MUST watch: Message for Humanity

This stuff get’s me going lol. It’s more than obvious that we’re living in a fucked up world. If your not fighting for change then at least support those who are. We don’t need anymore accountants managing another mans greed, or outsourcing business moguls who care more about maximizing their marginal costs then the well being of humanity, or fashion designers wasting time on materialistic bullshit. Did you know we’ve had the cure to cancer; free energy was invented long ago by Nikola Tesla, and we have the technology and resources to provide a sustainable life without killing our own habitat. All these great things are either kept a secret or put in the archives simply because of GREED and the blow it would cause to stocks and the pockets of those in power! Wake up people, you see the worlds economies crashing and governments being revolted against, these next 5 years are going to be detrimental to our future and future generations, it’s time to act and expand your mind beyond the cubicles of your office, or walls of your home! Politicians are nothing but snakes, so stop thinking they’re going to change anything.

ENJOY:)

Camino Stage 2: COMPLETE – 212 miles

Yeaaaaaa babyyy stage 2 is completed!:)

Stage 2 was grueling and the scenery was the least motivating compared to the first 100 miles of stage 1, which made it a lot harder to push through mentally. Majority of the walking was through endless cornfields, and dried farm land and on top of that the heat was scorching my delicate Greek skin to near melting. To kill the time and help maintain some sanity I ended up buying a few audiobooks on my phone which would last for anywhere from 6 to 8 hours, as well as started to stray away from the whole solitude approach and decided walking with people might help mix things up a bit and add some spice to the never ending days that would lie ahead.

I met Bastien, a 26 year old German dude who ended up being a really cool guy. I walked with him for about 3 days. One of the days, we ended up sending our backpacks on taxi and walked a record breaking 54 kilometers in a little over 12 hours! After that I was ready to fake my death and have my travel insurance prepare a free flight home for me, it was one hell of an experience… literally.

However, that trek made me realize the power of the mind and how much your perception and reaction can effect your motivation and will to finish. If you keep a strong spirit and visualize your destination with a sense of humor and compassion rather than with resistance and frustration you will notice a big weight of stress and negative energy lifted off your already fatigued structure. As I took up a more childish and humorous approach to the situation, joking, running to release energy and catching myself laughing out loud at how stupid we were to think we would make this trek with ease, and somehow felt the whole situation funny while Bastien on the other hand was acting like the kid who left the candy store empty handed. Sometimes you really just have to laugh it off, I promise you’ll feel much better in the end!

Today was the Half way point, and day 7 of becoming a vegetarian (that’s a whole other story)! I decided to continue past Santiago another 3 days to achieve walking the whole land mass of Spain to the first sight of Sea in the city of Finisterre, Spain. Wish me luck!

Enjoy The PICS:)

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Bastien and I right before our 54 kilometer walk
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Sunrising.. possibly the most peaceful walk yet
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coming over the hill to see this in the distance wasn’t too inspiring lol

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Stage 1 of the Camino De Santiago: COMPLETE

Last night about an hour before bed I ended up striking up conversation with these two middle aged women, one from South Africa and the other from Spain. It was pretty ridiculous how things turned out. After explaining to these ladies about how i’ve been out of commission for the past 2 days, with a strained ligament; the Spanish woman leaped up with excitement and muttered something in spanish to the english speaking South African. Me, being lost in translation, Miranda, the South African then explained that Matilda had a cure for me and swore i’d be better by sunrise!

without hesitation I jumped up with peaking curiosity to what this cure she claimed was all about. Matilda then brought out this herbal oil called “Arnica” and handed it to Miranda as she massaged my foot for about 5 minutes. It was a miracle, the chances that I ran into these two ladies who ended up having an ancient herbal cure was just way to chilling for me to come to reasoning with.

Anyways, Today I walked. 20 kilometers. I have now hit the 100 mile mark and can proudly say as I sit here in Logrono, Spain; I’ve accomplished stage 1:) ENJOY the PICS!

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Stone hut i slept in last night...
Stone hut i slept in last night…
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FREE wine (vino) and water (aqua) i couldn’t believe my eyes!

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little spaniards playing by the river
little spaniards playing by the river

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A letter Matilda left for me on my bag before i'd awake wishing me well:)
A letter Matilda left for me on my bag before i’d awake wishing me well:)

3 days. 44 miles. 25 hours of trekking

Well, here I am, 3 days into the Camino. Exhausted. Sore. Driven, and committed. Today was by far the longest and most grueling of the three, as I sit here aching in pain, in need of an ice bath to sooth my feet; I’m more than proud of myself for pushing through a 12 hour hike today. Conquered two mountains, got to ease my way through the rolling hills of the green spanish country side and met some great people along the way.

Starting in Saint Jean Pied de Port, France; I’m now sitting in a bar/restaurant in Obanos, Spain trying to think of the words to help give you an idea of what these past couple days have been like. I’ve had countless encounters with people from all walks of life, young and old; some with children, others with their pet dog. The size of your bank account, or what power you hold amongst your colleagues back home, doesn’t matter here. We’re all equally struggling with one common goal, to reach Santiago.

Being a 21 year old, solo traveler from California has definitely gained me a reputation around here, it’s pretty cool. I’ve had people offer me walnuts, chocolate, and these prune looking things with seeds at the core of them, with a couple questions following like “what do you do back home”, “what made you want to do the Camino”, and “what is your plans for when you return”. I can’t wait for what the next 30+ days have in store.   ENJOY THE PICS!

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Days leading up to the Camino de Santiago- Paris, France

Here are some pics from Paris and my journey south to Saint Jean Pied de Porte where I will start my 500 mile walk across Spain tomorrow. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Camino de Santiago, or road to Santiago check out this link http://www.theway-themovie.com/camino.php to give you a quick overview of the journey I will be trekking for the next 30+ days!

My Dad ended up selling my motorcycle for me back home so now I have some financial cushion to wander without any limits, just how I like it:) I also ended up getting a volunteer position for a family in Spain starting mid-September after I finish the walk, where I’d help on a farm with horses, cattle and livestock. I’m really excited and glad this opportunity came about so that I have some kind of blue print in regards to what my next move on the chess board will be. After this volunteering position I’ll either make my way back home, volunteer again at a backpack hostel doing some type of hospitality, most likely bartending. We’ll see but for now I need to get some rest I have to tackle 21 miles tomorrow starting at 7am. wish me luck!

CAMINO PREPARATION:

Finances: $1,500 would be a good amount of money to expect to spend per person while still trying to live frugal enough to experience the true essence of the Camino. I personally spent about $1,100 (staying at the cheapest Alberguer’s and eating with a $25-35 a day budget)

– have enough money to give you security in case you need to buy an extra pair of socks, shoes, jacket, etc. The road is very unpredictable and your body really starts to breakdown at certain points where you may need to come up with some funds for blisters or whatever else you may encounter!

– Make sure you have travel insurance!!

Comfort: Remember, you are walking in various elevations and weather conditions. Pack light but universal. My bag included: 2 pairs of Nike Dri-fit shirts, 2 pairs of zip off pants, 2 pairs of hiking socks, 1 hat, 1 bandana, 2 pairs of boxer briefs,1 head light, tooth brush/tooth paste, pocket knife, first aid kit, water proof wind breaker, laptop for my blog and 80 liter back pack.

Advice for what to pack: THE ABSOLUTE BASIC NECESSITIES 

-Nike Dri-fit or any other quick dry/breathable clothes is HIGHLY reccomended

-QUALITY shoes! your shoes and socks are going to make or break your experience! make sure to invest in your feet and comfort! I ended up starting with Nike free runs and had to purchase a pair of $100 hiking shoes 6 days into the Camino due to straining a ligament in my foot due to my shoes:/

– I recommend purchasing zip off pants, ones which you can start the cold mornings in and zip off from the knee and below when it starts getting hot mid-day.

– 60 to 80 liter Back pack. I personally used a 80 liter but you can get away with a 60 easily. I needed more room for when I was in Thailand and Greece which is why I decided to purchase something a little bigger. Invest in a high quality back pack, it is a great investment and you never know when you’ll get the call to adventure again 🙂

– First Aid kit which includes Band-aids, dis-infectant, bug spray, duck tape, nail clippers and a pocket knife

– Head Light! you want a LED head light for those early morning walks, you start anywhere between 6 and 8 am and the earlier you start the darker it is outside. The head lamp is much more convenient and lighter then your ordinary flash light.

-Umbrella (depending on what time of the year you go) I went in August and experience 2 days of rain, without an umbrella I would have been doomed without a doubt.

– Quick dry bath towel! This was my biggest mistake, I actually ended up having to use hand towels from the bathroom to dry myself off every time I took a shower since I didn’t pack a towel.

– Even though I didn’t use one, packing a sleeping bag would be a smart decision. If not, you’ll be alright since the Alberguer’s usually have extra blankets in storage.

Don’t over prepare or stress the slightest bit over preparation. You can purchase anything you don’t have in the major cities along the way. Believe me, the struggle and lack of luxury makes the experience far more rewarding. There is a strong realization in regards to Simplicity. Cherish the simplicity and prepare to live those 30+ days in the barest and purest way.

 

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haha this is how the French cope with not having a beach… They gather sand along the river and lay out like theres no tomorrow
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Louvre Museum
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Bullet Train station. 5 hour trip to Saint Jean Pied de Porte (beginning of the camino)
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Saint Jean Pied de Porte, France

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From the Mountain Peaks to the Gardens of Kastania

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Interior view from my humble stone abode!

The ethics, morale and knowledge of these village people are growing on me more and more each day. The sense of community is something I have never experienced back in the states. People here come and approach you as if you were best friends within the first glance of a smile. I constantly preach to the few who can understand that, even though America may be rich materialistically, where you can acquire the nice house and exotic car if that is what you desire; we lack the richness of the soul, and that even though America is marketed to the world as the “American Dream” there is nothing intrinsic or fulfilling about it. “Don’t gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is greater than silver or gold” – Bob Marley

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Waterfall posing in the mountains of Kastania. Bear, Wolf, and Sheep territory
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Thea Eleni in her garden. The elderly of the village love their gardens
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Johny the horse taking me on the ride of my life
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my 2nd cousin Anna and I before going out for some cafe!
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Stefani Village, neighbor to Kastania
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My non-english speaking friends
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shepherd and a couple of her males
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Herd of sheep
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Evangelina thinks she can fly
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Thea Eleni and Stelios home
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This is where I am staying, have the whole house to myself so if any of you from back home want to come live the village life for a while, your more than welcomed;)

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Aristea and I
Aristea and I

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Elsa and Thea Eleni. miss these girls
Elsa and Thea Eleni. miss these girls

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Warm Kastania welcoming- YiaYia’s Village

After two consecutive nights of partying in Athens and Chalkida. The Boukis boys caught their flight back to the states around 3am and the following day I caught the bus to continue my nomadic travels. After saying by to my Ralph Lauren Polo attire and dusting off my Nike dri-fit shirt, cargo shorts and anti-blister socks it was time to head up north to Kastania, where my Yiayia was born and raised.

Within the first 5 minutes of arrival, before I could even get a drink of water I was rushed up to the the panagia (festival) where there were a little over 200 greeks watching dance performances, clapping and screaming with energy levels far beyond the energizer bunny! It was a trip! I was being bombarded by greeks drenching my cheeks with kisses starting from right cheek to left! It was an authentic Greek welcoming to say the least.

After watching performances for a rough 15-20 minutes and meeting family, I was told that there was going to be an announcement for my arrival and that I was going to have to dance with the local group!! keep in mind I’m in my traveling clothes, haven’t eaten in 8 hours and dehydrated as hell and now I was going to get a introduction to over 200 Greeks and having to dance along side boys and girls in costume!

It was time, the microphone rang out and in greek they were saying something like this ” Hello everyone, I would like to introduce Kosta Makris, grandson of Effie Chumas; He is here from California to visit family let’s give him a warm welcoming in name of his Yiayia who is well respected in this village!” and as they clapped I did my bows and prepared to dance. PICTURES BELOW!

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Village Yia Yia on her donkey