Only two sleeps …

It’s just about 2 days – 48 hours – until I leave here for Europe to begin my next attempt at walking across France and into Spain on the Chemin de St. Jacques. It’s better known in Spanish as the Camino de Santiago. I am, as you might imagine, a little trepiditious. This always happens the last few days before I leave for a long walk or do anything else that has an element of risk associated with it. I get the unmistakeable message from the part of my brain that wants to protect me; “What are you THINKING? You could just stay at home, enjoy the lovely and friendly warmth of your family, play golf and eat fries whenever you want.”

But I persevere, not least because I have told everyone that I am going. It’s just too embarrassing to tell everyone that I have changed my mind, especially since I have enlisted people to contribute to a Hospice as I walk. Speaking of that, the response to my Hike for Hospice is very encouraging. We have raised about 13% of my $10,000 goal already and I have had messages from Toronto, Victoria, Atlanta, Houston, and Wellington, NZ that people are donating to their local hospices. I am just delighted by all this. Feel free to help.

Speaking of delighted, last Friday I had a “Doesn’t get any better than this” moment. Carroll and I were invited to my daughter Meredith’s house for Fabulous Food Friday. Typically it’s us plus a small group of close friends, perhaps a half dozen of us. Since we had a TGIF for our community at 5, we asked about arriving at 7. No problem. At the TGIF, many people say goodbye and good trip to me.

So at 7 off we go – it’s a five minute walk – to Meredith’s. When we get in the door, there are a lot more people than normal … and it turns out that it’s a farewell and bon voyage party for me. I am completely surprised and that has happened seldom in my life. It gets even better when most of the people at the TGIF show up at the door within a few minutes of me arriving, wearing big smiles. I find out that everyone has known about this for weeks … and no-one, not even the usual suspects, has blurted it out to me. The party is wonderful and I feel thoroughly loved.

Meredith has had a tough time making this happen. Her fridge failed about ten days ago and the company was able to get her a replacement only on Friday afternoon. My daughter is resourceful and determined. I think that she gets this from her mother.

Now it’s Monday afternoon. I have the travel itineraries done, both mine and Carroll’s, the packing checklist printed and everything that I need (not want) on a single surface to be packed into the backpack and into my carry-on. For those of you who recall five years ago, the backpack and my poles will travel as unaccompanied baggage inside a non-descript black duffel bag, to reduce the risk of loss. As the grandchildren, almost 5 and almost 3, say, “Only two sleeps, grandad.”

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