Back In the Western Hemisphere!!

Well, it’s official! I’m back in the western hemisphere and to be perfectly honest, I’m thrilled. Paris feels wondeful. I’m rejuventated for sure!

How could I not love coming “back home” after the wonderful flight I had from Doha, Qatar to Paris? Oh sure, the flight out of Bangkok had it’s usual “Thai” attributes – long lines at the airport for Qatar Airlines, lovely little Thai girls in cute uniforms waiting on customers as slowly as is humanly possible, and on the positive side, the traditional wai and huge Thai smile given by a young man as I passed through the last door before boarding the aircraft. Thailand is such a contradiction all the time! One minute I would just laugh and fall in love with the craziness and the next minute, I was exasperated with the foolishness of their ways!

Arriving in Doha, Qatar, I was astounded by the scenery. The water in the Persian Gulf as you get close to Qatar is an amazing in color…so blue. And compared to the light brown earth/sand of Qatar, it really looks beautiful. I have never seen so much sand in my entire life! Doha is a city in the middle of, well, sand. That’s it! There may have been a tree somewhere out there, but I never saw one! It was just sand. The Doha Airport was lovely and say those words loaded with sarcasism! There was nothing to it! The plane didn’t even use a jetway! We landed, walked down the steps and boarded a bus to the terminal, made our way through the passport control area, and then promptly moved on to the gate to board the next flight!

At this point, things really started looking up for me. As I handed the agent at Qatar Airways my boarding pass for the flight, she told me my ticket was upgraded to Business Class. SCORE!! Business Class is the way to go on long flights, that’s for sure. I just can’t afford it!! For the next six hours, I enjoyed a nap, great food, and wonderful service.

Sweet! Business Class!

Even coming into the rain in Paris, I felt something like a sense of relief. It felt like “home”. Things seemed normal to me. When I was in SE Asia, I didn’t realize how much I felt out of synch with things. Don’t get me wrong – I had a wonderful time there. But I’m just as pleased to be back into the western hemisphere!

Just a little note here….wifi access from here on in will be a little sketchy. Tomorrow I take a train to Geneva to pick up my stuff for the Camino. I’ll be back in Paris for a day after that – which I intend to use fully seeing more of this beautiful city. After that, I head to Bayonne, France for one night and then on to St. Jean Pied du Port for a night. Barring any unforeseen issues, I plan on starting the Camino on Sunday, May 6th!! I will NOT be bringing my pc with me and I’m not sure that I’ll have (or want) access to a pc while I’m walking. Spending time in fellowship with other pilgrims is important – to me, more important that finding Internet service! I hope you will all forgive me! Thank you as always though, for staying with me and keeping good thoughts going for me!!

Cheri 🙂

Ending….to the waiting…I’m BOOKED!!!

Wow! December 13th and I am finally booked on my round the world trip!

So here’s the deal – I opted to keep the flying to a minimum. I’m heading out February 1st for Singapore. I have stops along the way of course, in San Francisco and Hong Kong! On February 3rd, I’ll be in Singapore. After that, I can decided when I want to move on to Malaysia and Thailand.

Now, about Thailand. Many of you know I have this ridiculous fear of snakes. I’m going to try and be a big girl and just relax and not expect snakes to come out of nowhere in Thailand just to scare me! But I will be cautious I’m sure. I haven’t figured out why I think they will be EVERYWHERE! But, the ticket is booked. I’m sure if I get too freaked out in Thailand, I’ll turn around and head back south or maybe further north to China! No matter what, it’s a done deal now!

After SE Asia, I’ll be heading to Europe for a few months. I’d like to see some of eastern Europe. I’m flying into Paris, but I’ll be doing lots of overland travel on the trains. Eventually, I’ll be heading to southern France to start my Camino de Santiago walk! I have a friend in Europe who will be holding my things for me for this journey!

After Europe, I’m heading back. I really have no STRONG desire to see Australia and South America right now. But, I am considering these parts of the world for my next trip. Oh God, already I’m thinking beyond this one. I’m obsessed.

So, I’m done waiting to purchase the ticket, done hesitating because of my fears about snakes, do I have enough money, where should I go; done thinking maybe I should just kill the travel bug altogether and settle in to another cubicle job. I’m done wondering when I should go, what’s the best time in regards to weather. I’m done worrying about travelling solo. Oh the list could go on and on! The truth is…..I’m ready!!!! 🙂

Oh and for those of you who think world travel is expensive, my ticket was less than $3000! 🙂 Thanks to Justin at airtreks.com for all his hard work in putting this together!

Ending my day….with a little reading that’s scaring me!

So here it is….the kind of stuff I read at the end of the day! This is actually just the tip of the iceberg – my NookColor is usually in use also!

For the last few years, I’ve been making a conscience effort to end my days by either reading or journaling or both. It calms me! It’s a time for me to let my mind be at peace. Especially with journaling, I find I am able to empty my head right onto the paper. Writing is especially important for me when I’m struggling with something or another. It’s like, well, once the words are on the paper, the pain or sorrow or fear are now out of my body! I feel like all the stress flows out of body through my hand as I’m writing.

When I read, I usually try to find things that are soothing. But lately, my reading material is focused on the Camino de Santiago of course. Those of you who know me could have figured that out! Once my mind is on something, it tends to go full steam ahead! So here’s the deal – I’ve read all my books about the facts concerning The Way of St. James. Now I’m reading a book by a women my age who did the Camino Frances which is the same route I will take. Her name is Jane Christmas and the book is “What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim – A Midlife Misadventure on Spain’s Camino de Santiago de Compostela”.

I’d like to be able to report to you that this book is encouraging me to do this walk. Quite the contrary! The book is funny, irreverent, exciting! It’s also, for lack of better words, scaring the crap out of me! Her descriptions about her first day tackling the Pyrenees has me re-evaluating this little adventure I have planned! As I read, I laugh out loud about the struggle she is having because she just makes it all sound so funny, and yet, I know this will not be nearly as funny when I’m actually doing it! She curses her way up the mountains and wonders what the hell she is doing, a middle-aged, out of shape woman in a foreign country on a walk that somehow, is supposed to bring her closer to herself or God or other people or whatever! Reading her words, I can see myself in this same situation! I have a feeling I will be repeating some of the same awful words I’ve read on the pages of her book!

It’s a good thing though, that once I start a book I read it to the end. She is past the mountains now and realizing what her journey is about and just like every book I’ve read about the Camino, there is a change happening inside her. Once again, I’m reassured after all that scariness, that I too, a middle-aged, out of shape woman can do this! Buen Camino!!!