2014 Camino Francés

Departing for the Camino

June 18, 2014

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”   –Mark Twain

Beep, beep, beep, beepThe insistent noise of the alarm clock jolts me awake only to be followed milliseconds later by a New Age ringtone, “Crystal Drops”, emanating from my phone. The combination would be annoying at best. At 4:00am, it’s downright scary.


I am drowning in Crystal Drops.


I hit the snooze button on the clock and fumble around awkwardly with the phone for several seconds before figuring out how to turn off the app. I turn on the bedside lamp and with a loud sigh, rest my head on the pillow. In 18 hours a stranger will have her head on this pillow and my head will be miles above the Atlantic Ocean.


A couple of “snoozes” later, I manage to drag myself from the bed (I will miss my bed) and stumble to the living room where I make a valiant attempt to have a last minute cuddle with the cat. But Little Boy isn’t having it. He pulls away, little knowing that this is our last cuddle for six weeks (or maybe he does know and is punishing me).


Giving up on the cat I head to the bathroom. After washing my face and running a brush through my hair, I return to the bedroom where I strip the bed of its flowered sheets and matching duvet, replacing them with a beige and white set for Lauren and Chantelle, the Australian cat sitters I will probably never meet. Tonight Lauren will fly in to SFO, then take the Airporter to Manzanita where she will be met by my best friend, Steph, who will take her to my apartment to begin her 4-week U.S. adventure. (She’ll be joined later by Chantelle: you can read about their world adventures on their blog, Girls…)


I begin putting on the outfit I laid out a full week ago, which brings to mind my colleague, Marian; first year teacher mentor, weekly hiking buddy, intrepid traveler, friend, and interestingly, person who lays out her outfits for the week on the bed in her spare bedroom every Monday night like clockwork. A random memory of Marian making soup for me after a surgery I had several years ago pops into my head unexpectedly and I tear up for some reason. Somehow I suspect that the Camino is already working its magic, filling me with gratitude for all that I have and the simple gestures that are so easy to overlook when consumed by the daily grind.


While dressing, I quickly discover that my new fluorescent green Iniji “toed” socks (Japanese tabi style) present more than a small challenge, which is almost impossible to overcome in a rush, so I give up and shove them in the pocket of my purple parka where a dark chocolate bar has already been stowed for later consumption on the flight to Spain.


The phone rings at 4:30 as I am attempting to take a picture of the cat (for the blog, of course; blog experts claim that the majority of visitors to a blog read only the captions below the pictures). It’s the taxi service confirming my request for a cab at 4:45 a.m.. I emphasize that the booking is for 4:45…I need each and every one of the next 15 minutes. 


When the cab arrives, I am already downstairs. The driver (do we say “cabbie” in California?) pops the trunk, I carefully place my pack, which will be my home for the next month and a half, inside, and we drive away.

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  • Stephanie Bjeldanes June 18, 2014 at 22:20

    Wonderful post. I really love reading these. I will miss you dearly (dear) for the next 6 weeks. Your apartment and Little Boy will be in good hands with Lauren and Chanelle — I’m sure! xoxoxoxoxox Steph

    • Sometimes She Travels February 18, 2015 at 09:13

      Thanks Steph. I love that you read them. My apartment and Little Boy were definitely in good hands!

  • Chloe June 19, 2014 at 00:02

    I see a book in your future! ! Best seller. 🙂

  • billie June 19, 2014 at 23:27

    Cara – fabulous post — I felt like I was right there with you, Hope the flights were all uneventful and that the rocky start in Spain will create many opportunities for laughs in the future! Love, mom

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