Why should you go on a Pilgrimage

This guest post was written by Rebecca Brown, an avid traveller from Ireland.

 

Do people even go on pilgrimages today? Really? In the age of the Internet and all that?

Odds are, we are further from God (if there is a God) than we have ever been. And I’m not trying to belittle your belief system, I have one of my own too. However, I never imagined myself as the kind of person to go on an actual pilgrimage. In the sense that I will be walking the same road hundreds of thousands of people have walked since the Middle Ages, a road where people died, and which they traversed to feel closer to their deity. Turns out, it was one of the best experiences of my life.

Admittedly, before we took the trip last year, I visited my mother’s homeland (she was born in Eastern Europe). Seeing where she came from felt like a spiritual homecoming, and that’s putting it mildly and overemphasizing it at the same time. When my husband suggested the Camino de Santiago, I was on the fence to say the least. However, he talked me into it, and the five weeks we spent walking across France and Spain were some of the best of our lives. That’s where the inspiration for this piece has come from, and all the people whose faces I am not likely to forget, but who will remain anonymous in the next page or two.

In a nutshell, here is why you should be going on a pilgrimage:

You are either rather young, or rather old

I know it sounds idiotic, but it’s true – we’ve met many young people out looking for adventure. They were in it for the walk, for the miles, for the nights by the campfire, for getting soaked in the middle of nowhere and chasing after a bus, (knowing that riding it is not the true Camino way, but nevertheless caring more about being dry than a true pilgrim). Not all were believers, and not all wanted to come, but I met one of them at Santiago de Compostela, who said it was the best vacation of her life.

On the other hand, we met an older gentleman from York. He has been walking a different Camino each year for five years. He told me he needed the time to spend in his own head, and that nothing can get your brain working like moving your legs. He’d been a top level executive for ten years, and now that he was one no longer, he wanted the time and the space to reflect on those years, the failures and the big wins. No better way to see yourself more clearly than to walk five hundred miles, he said. I’m thinking he’s probably right.

You (don’t) believe in God

Of course, there are those who take pilgrimages to feel closer to God, even today. There are also those who don’t quite believe, but would like to. The devout are some of the most interesting people to talk to on the Camino – they are calm, collected, and they can absolutely motivate you when you are about to chuck your shoes in the ditch and fly home. There are amazing heartfelt conversations to be had while you walk along. You may often find yourself questioning your own views of the world, and I don’t just mean your spiritual beliefs.

You want a challenge

This is admittedly me. I wanted to challenge myself physically and mentally – and see if I could do it. Turns out I can, even if I did want to quit three times. Let me warn you, there will be blisters. There will be rain and wind. There will be annoying people bugging you, but you can’t avoid them anyway. But you will have time to think, you will have time to breathe (I can’t stress this enough) and you will have the incentive to open your heart just a bit more. By the way, I am a terrible cynic in my everyday life, but something about the Camino has changed me. I have not only traveled from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela, I have learned more about life and people in those 800 kilometers than I thought I could.

If this short rant has sold the Camino the Santiago to you as well, here are some of my expert tips:

  • Choose a reliable tour operator. We went with Follow the Camino, based on a recommendation, and we were never once sorry.
  • Choose even more reliable shoes. I finally bought these Hanwag Trek Light ones, and they were great – after I paired them with the right socks.
  • Choose the most reliable socks. The socks are the most important part of your gear, don’t underestimate them for a second.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Upping your water intake will help you feel and walk better, no question about it.
  • Leave the prejudice behind. Simply enjoy the walk and the air and the company. That’s what you’re there for.

Have you ever walked the Camino de Santiago? Would you like to, and if yes, what are your reasons? If these eight hundred plus words have not sold you the idea of trekking eight hundred kilometers, let me know why you are still unconvinced!

 

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Discover the Beauty of Fjords in Norway by Road

If you are thinking of going to Norway, you don’t want to miss the Fjords! Norway is a Scandinavian country with many mountains, glaciers and deep coastal fjords. You’ve no doubt heard of the Fjords, but you may not be familiar with Fjords or what they look like. In this article, we will write about discovering Fjords by Road. There is no better way to discover Fjords than by taking a road trip by car. The beautiful roads with stunning views make a road trip through Norway an amazing and memorable experience.

What is a Fjord?

A fjord is a deep waterway that is surrounded by massive cliffs on each side. The creation of a fjord is a very long process and created thanks to glaciers. Without too much theory and detail, glaciers moved through the valleys and glacial melting formed the waterways that are often deeper than nearby seas.

Discover the Fjords by Taking a Road Trip

The perfect chance for discovering the beauty of the fjords in Norway is to take a road trip with by car. If you have a few hours or a few weeks, you can have an amazing road trip. Many tour operators offer trips to see the most famous fjords, but these are usually expensive and full of tourists. You will experience the most of your trip if you take a car and discover it by yourself. Here are a few road trips that can last for a few hours or a few weeks by car.

Short Trips Up to 5 Days

A short trip (no longer than 5 days) is perfect for people who want to relax and clear their mind from an urban area. If you want to discover the fjords by car, we suggest you to take a journey from Bergen to Ålesund. This can take from 2 – 5 days with a route distance of 500 kilometers. You need to take 5 ferries on your trip, but these are short rides and are inexpensive. The road trip starts in the city of Bergen and the final destination is the beautiful city of Ålesund with its amazing architecture. The road is easy to drive with many curves that are offer tremendous views of the fjords along the road. If you’re a real adventurer, take a tent and camp somewhere along the roadside. Another great short trip is to start from the capital city of Oslo and go through national parks and Haukelifjell Mountains with magnificent views of fjords along the way.

Medium Trips Up to One Week

If you have more time available to extend your road trip up to one week, you’ll discover still more of the beauty of the fjords. There are many different medium length trips to consider. The first one is ideal for travelers who want to discover the southern part of Norway. The trip starts in Kristiansand and ends in the same city as you do a round trip. The coastal road is going by the North Sea offering amazing views of mountains, waterfalls, interesting towns on the road and fjords. The trip length is around 1000 kilometers and it can take up to one week to discover everything on the road. A second trip option starts and ends in the northern part of Norway, the city of Ålesund. The trip is around 900 kilometers long and it offers dramatic landscape along with interesting small villages and towns that will show you the Norway culture.

Long Trips Up to One Month

You’ll get the most Norway has to offer if you have time to extend your trip up to 1 month. If you’re staying in Oslo, you have a chance to take a road trip that will show you the best of the country. The trip starts in Oslo and ends in Bergen with the distance no longer than 1300 kilometers. You could take up to two weeks to finish the trip, but you’ll experience amazing view of valleys, mountains, glaciers, fjords, cities, and many villages on the way. If you want to blend Norwegian culture and discover the beauty of fjords, this is the trip you should take.

Now you have an idea of a few trips that uncovers the beauty of fjords and Norway landscape. It’s time to plan and start your road trip. Have you taken a road trip to discover the fjords in Norway? Share your road trip experiences with us!

 

About the Author: This article was written by Dorothy Goodman, savvy travel blogger at asabbatical.com , a personal travel blog of Adrian Sameli. To connect with Dorothy, follow her on Facebook.

Prevent Jet Lag From Annihilating Your Life

Travel is one of the great rewards of saving and working hard. To see places that you dream about—whether they’re just three states over or across the globe—is magical.

But what’s not magical is jet lag. It can ruin the first few days of a trip, and can make returning to a daily routine after a vacation torturous. Not only can jet lag mess with your sleep, it can mess with your stomach and your mood.

Of course, the more time zones you cross, the more likely you’ll feel the affect of jet lag. Flying a lot and age can also be determining factors to the intensity of jet lag. But there are some simple steps that you can take—before, during, and after a trip—to help lessen jet lag.

One of them is remarkably easy: hydrate. Want to learn more tips to help bust this travel-induced fog? Use the ideas in this graphic.