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The Day King Tutankhamun Changed My Life

The Day King Tutankhamun Changed My Life

“You know… If you trust in yourself, you can do anything!” Sammy’s words echoed round my mind as I looked up, panting, at the Egyptian buildings which surrounded me. It was a sunny July day in central Cairo. The shouts of street vendors blasted my eardrums; the smell of frying meat on spits and pungent piles of […]

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What Makes You Happy?

This afternoon, a man on a bike cycled past me. He had headphones jammed in his ears and was singing along to music which was only faintly audible: the song was one I didn’t recognise, but the big smile on his face spoke for itself. ‘How nice – that man is really happy!’ I thought. And […]

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A Pilgrim's Ode to a Camino Packing List

A Pilgrim’s Ode to a Camino Packing List

On September 12th 2015, I started walking through the city of Leon in northern Spain. For the next twenty days I walked to Santiago de Compostela, then onward to the coastal towns of Finisterre and Muxia where I arrived on October 2nd. It’s been almost a year since I set out on the Camino, and I’m starting […]

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Kindness and Community on the Camino

Kindness and Community on the Camino

They say the Camino brings out the best in people. I didn’t believe them at first, but it’s true. Becoming a pilgrim means talking to, befriending and helping out others just for the sake of it. Walking the Camino turns individual people from strangers into a community – and a special one, at that. Where else would you […]

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A Day in the Life of a Camino Pilgrim

“I follow the arrows, and when my feet hurt, I stop. What more do I need?” Our group of pilgrims sits at a circular table made of stainless steel in a nameless town in Spain, a fresh round of beers in front of us. As Carol argues her case for why the Camino is so simple, […]

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The Spanish Challenge: Walking the Camino with Spaniards

The Spanish Challenge: Walking the Camino with Spaniards

NB: Long-term readers may remember that during my travels through South America, I wrote a series of articles about my Spanish learning progress called ‘The Spanish Challenge’. It’s been a while since I added to the series – but the Camino is the perfect place for its resurrection! “Que es una chinche?!” It was almost […]

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You Know You've Walked the Camino When...

You Know You’ve Walked the Camino When…

A lot of people don’t understand the Camino. When you tell them you’re voluntarily walking four hundred kilometres through Spain with all your possessions on your back, they don’t believe you at first. Once you’ve convinced them that, yes, you’re serious – just like many thousands of other people from all over the world, who do […]

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Confessions of a Camino Newbie

“Is my little toe supposed to feel numb?” I’m walking through the forests of Sigulda with Janis, my Latvian guide. I’m wearing newly purchased hiking boots with equally new insoles which the shrewd saleswoman in Cotswolds Outdoors insisted I needed. I’m hyperaware of how my feet feel. At each step, with every shifting muscle and every twinge […]

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Sometimes I’m Scared to Travel – But That Doesn’t Stop Me

“Don’t you get scared? Travelling alone?” The girl from Paris spears a piece of pineapple as she looks towards me, across a table groaning with freshly cooked food. Outside, the sounds of Havana’s streets ricochet from one crumbling balcony to another, caught in the billowing folds of hanging laundry. I smile, mentally preparing the phrases […]

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On Urban Walks and Inspiration

Walking in a city is an interesting occupation. At every step there are groups of people to squeeze between, smears of dog mess to hopscotch around and stretched-out wads of dirty chewing gum to avoid. There are oddly shaped houses and the glinting metal of office blocks glinting in the sun, mysteriously scented street food […]

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