New Year, New Plans
Happy New Year my friends!
Like a bear in hibernation I’ve been away and in that time one year passed and another has came our way. I can’t quite explain where all the time went. A bit like a dream it passed in a fog interrupted by meals and family time, kittens that now rule our lives and sunrises that transformed the earth into crimson dyes and orange flares.
It’s been a warm winter (far too warm in fact) so we’ve been basking in the mild weather and brilliant sun.
Certainly all the pets have loved it, and although this unusual weather does worry me for the future I can’t deny we have too. From the fiery colors of fall, the blanket of leaves that now cover the ground to the bare landscape that gets painted daily by the winter sun it’s been a time of change and thoughts of changes to come. And in between things have happened, and plans too.
Such are the ponderings that I plan to share with you today.
Our Kitties Are Growing Up
Our little kittens are not so little anymore.
They’re fully leash-trained now and have been exploring the big, wide world outside like the little adventure travelers they will undoubtedly become. As such they’ve discovered the joys of long grass that sways in the wind, grasshoppers that spring out like play-snacks from hidden dens and all kinds of buzzy, movey things that can be chased around to no end. It’s supremely exciting and sometimes so over-stimulating that all they can do is sit wild-eyed and frozen trying to take it all in.
They’ve also been continuing their education in the ways of hoomans including playing dominos, watching football and generally just laying about. We take all these things seriously, you know…
But that’s not the only big development they’ve had.
Our crazy springtime-like weather has been so believable that one of them (little Dante) went into heat, an event that rarely happens before 6 months of age and never (so my vet assured me) happens in winter.
Now I’ve personally never seen a cat in heat, and having had the pleasure I must admit it’s not an experience I will ever want to go through again. The female hormones that infused my little furbaby transmorgrified her from a cute, sweet, chillaxed kitten into a raving sex-crazed tiger.
There was the overly-affectionate part (not so bad), the frenzied need to escape and seek a mate (a bit scary, but manageable) and then the worst of it all, an incessant ear-piercing meow that sounded much like a racoon being strangled 24/7. A sexy-call (so I gather) that could easily travel several km through heavy traffic.
For 5 days straight we gritted our teeth during the day, slept with earplugs at night and then only got about a week of breather-time before the whole thing started again (Fun fact: once a cat goes into heat, she keeps going through heat cycles every few weeks until she either mates or the breeding season ends….in October!!!). Our agony finally ended this week when the vet did the internal chop-chop, the first appointment I could get after Christmas.
Oh sweet mother-of-peace, even my tinnitus was a relief after that!
Now our cute little kittens are back to being cute again. They hate the cones of shame, but they sleep sweetly, cuddle up to Polly in bed and always have to have at least one paw on each other, the dog or me.
Awwww…it melts my heart.
I’m Out Walking Again
This spring-time enlightenment has triggered more than our dear kittens, and has relit a desire that’s been smoldering in me since last year.
It’s easy to guess of course, for those who read this blog regularly. An adventure that so impressed me I couldn’t help but repeat it, an experience so profound I simply had to do it again. Either that or I’m just a sucker for self-suffering (and travel amnesia makes it seem so much better than it was)??
Yup I’m doing another Camino folks, another long-distance trek, albeit this time in a slightly different way.
It all started around 6 months ago when I casually discussed the idea with Kate while we were camping together in the Pyrénées. I wanted to go back on the Camino, but I wanted to do an “easier” one and explore some new ground. I was toying with the idea of the Portuguese Camino*, walking from either Lisbon (longer) or Porto (shorter) to Santiago de Compostela. Not only would it give me the chance to explore a country I’d never yet seen, but it’s supposedly a much more chillaxed (in other words, less hilly) trail than the Frances.
“Why don’t we go together?” I threw out impulsively, not really thinking she’d agree
A little while later I discussed it with another friend Linda who (so it happens) was already thinking along the same lines. She wanted to do another long hike (she’s already done two: the Camino Frances and the Via Francigena), but Steven (her husband) suffers from plantars fasciitis and didn’t want to do another, plus she didn’t want to go alone. So we tossed the idea about….then she discussed it with one more friend…then another one and bada-bing-bada-boom a few months later there we were: 5 gals ready to go**
I guess this means it’s really happening now???
So here we are again. One year on and I’ve started to get my lazy butt back out there, clicking through the km, getting ready for another long-distance hike. It’ll only be ~280km this time, a mere 15 or so days, a baby trek compared to the one I did last year. But it’ll be new ground with new peeps, both of which I’m super excited about. The extra bonus? I’ve got all my gear sorted already so all I need to do is get ready and go.
The adventure starts end of March. Stay tuned….
*Note1/ At some point I’ll be doing an in-depth post on the Camino Portuguese route. In the meantime this post from Stingy Nomads is an awesome resource to read.
**Note2/ You can see ALL the info on everyone who is going on this adventure in Linda’s post from today on their blog
I’m Sensing Changes Ahead
A New Year always seems to turn a page somehow, even though it’s really just a construct in our minds.
And this year seems particularly so for me.
Betwixt the lights of the Christmas tree, fires in the open hearth and walks outside, my mind has been intensely occupied by the now. These last months there’s been a deep shift in my soul and I’ve started to question where my life will go.
Perhaps you’ve sensed it in my writing? I wouldn’t be surprised if you have.
I’ve been writing this blog for almost 13 years now, an incredibly rich, abundant 13 years, and I’ve loved every minute of sharing that adventure. But I also feel the need for a new direction is at hand. I honestly, truly don’t know what that means yet, but I do know I that won’t be blogging weekly anymore. For now I must go inwards, away from these external things of man, to re-find my inner-Nina-fire and see where it leads me.
It may be just a short break before the adventure takes me and I get that overwhelming urge to write again. But my dear readers it may also take a little while. At this point I just don’t know.
So I guess my message is this: be patient with me, I am with you and I do feel I will be here again. In the meantime may the joys of nature take you, and I’ll see again you soon my friends.SPONSORED LINK:
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Pamela - Maggie Valley says
I love all of this. Do you!!!
Donna M Sims says
Your kitties are so cute and curious. Thank you for the education about going into heat….Yikes. Polly is looking a little older. Your pictures really reflect the changes in weather and season….so pretty. Enjoy your walks.
Yes, Polly is becoming an older gal 🙁 always hard to see. But she’s still doing really well.
how exciting for you…
It’s hard to keep writing a blog for years on end, much less a weekly one. And I’ve found that since we got off the road, I have less to share and less to gain from sharing. After 13 years, I have no doubt you could use a nice long break to find your fire again – whether it be the fire to write or the fire to do something else. Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy this time away from the blogging grind. In the meantime, perhaps you can at least post some photos from this Portuguese Camino on Instagram? I’m sure there are many of us that would love to follow your trek. And if you ever find yourself in Lisbon, let me know. I’d love to take you out for a beer.
I’ll prob write/post about the Camino once we get closer as I know I get the writing bug whenever I travel. And thanks so much for the beer offer…always welcome 🙂
Blogging is hard and I admire when people do it regulary and respect when they say they need to take a step or two, or three, or more back a bit. I thoroughly enjoy your posts. If they don’t come as frequent, they will be like a wonderful gift that isn’t expected if they appear.
Cheers. Best of everything, always.
Thanks so much Diane.
Have to say I’m excited and happy for you regarding your next Camino! I love your blog and will miss it dearly – but I’m hoping it will still exist, just going to be less frequent. All the best on both your Camino and inward journey!
I do believe I’ll be back as I really do love writing & photographing (and sharing all that). But I have to find a new balance I think. For now at least, a weekly blog is just a wee bit overwhelming.
I totally agree with Diane’s comment. And many years ago we had a pair of sister cats like your girls. They slept together every day literally wrapped up in each other’s arms. It was beautiful to see. Take care of yourself.
It melts my heart to see them hugging. Taggart and Rand used to do that (their entire lives), and I was so happy to see our new girls do the same.
Sanford Simmons says
Been following you guys for years. Enjoy your traveling blogs.
My stomach sank when I read the last part of your blog but believe me I understand! Good for you wanting to do another major hike. Soon, soon I hope this knee will allow me to at least take a good long walk! Wishing you all the best Nina!
Danielle Wallace says
I do enjoy your blog and hope that you will continue writing even if it is just once in a while.
Kristy Walker says
I have followed your blogs for years. They inspired us after we left Japan ( and the military) to full time for almost 2 years with our 2 Golden retrievers who have long crossed the rainbow. One of them made it to the end of the trip with us, but both massively enjoyed the adventure. The time on the road was both Good and bad, long and short. Losses and gains. The rhythm of life surprises you how it continues when traveling along the road. We studied your blogs to extend our boon-docking times in the spectacular Big Horn and other areas of Wyoming and Idaho. We learned that something needing repair didn’t mean we were slackers, it meant we were really full- timers and life was not the same as in a stationary home. We searched your blogs for help when adversity reared it’s head. Your blogging life has helped us in so many ways…we will be forever indebted.
Life for us is different now, with new professions, a new (old) home, and new adventures- but we are still camping. ( Hope to always be camping.)
If we don’t cross paths, please know that your work blogging has a ripple effect that has helped many. I wish you all the best, and truly hope you find what you are looking for in your walkabouts.
Sending love and light,
Awwww…thank you for the lovely comment Kristy. It really means a lot to me that folks have found my blog inspiring over the years. And I’m glad to hear you’re still camping, albeit at a different rhythm.
I’m excited for your next adventure. And whatever awaits you at the other, I’m here for you.
Barbara Goodman says
Whatever you decide Nina, it will be for the best for you.
It’s been 5 years for me reading about your travels and let me tell you it’s been exciting. Just reading your blog makes me want to get up the courage and do things, I hope I can one day be as strong as you, to act on my dreams.
Whatever you do I send you love, peace and happiness.
I do hope to continue, maybe just in a different way. And thanks very much for your lovely comment.
Lauren Brown says
Hi Nina and Paul,
It’s been quite a while since I’ve accessed your blog and it looks like I finally got around to it just in time to read an important one!
I just emailed you a lengthy greeting and update to the last email address that I have for you. If you don’t get it, please send me an email from any new address and I will redirect.
Many good wishes on your Camino Portuguese,
Linda Davey says
Lovely post, Nina. I know how hard it is to step away from something you have nurtured and given so much of yourself to over so many years. It is made even more difficult when you have such loyal readers. I know you’ll work it out and do what’s best for you. In the meantime, I will have the pleasure of your company on a fantastic adventure, and I am so looking forward to it!
Wishing you only beautiful things. Thank you for all the wonderful blog posts!! Enjoy your time away from the blog and revel in what you discover inside yourself!!
You are the third long time blogger that I follow that is taking a step away. It is so interesting to me how I feel that I know you when we’ve never met!!! I’ll miss hearing from you!
Thank you again for all that you’ve done for so many!!
My best to you and Paul and Polly and the two kittens!
Nina, wow! I’am flabbergasted!
I will miss you for sure!!
Thank you for all you’re done, just wish I had found your blogs sooner!
Take care and all the best to you❣️
Thanks dear girl, you’ll be greatly missed.
Dear Nina, I have always enjoyed your blog – love your flowery, refreshing and thought provoking writing. I will miss your weekly blogs. I wish you good health, happiness in the love of your dear pets, many wonderful adventures and long lasting friendships. Enjoy life!
Bob McLean says
Without any hoopla and rather suddenly, I just stopped writing a couple years ago by now. I fount that, after we moved back home from Austria, I didn’t seem to have too much to say. I can at least go to the blog and search out a particular trip or topic to relive some of the time we spent there, and in The Netherlands. As the time goes by, we (Travelling Companion and I) find it more and more difficult to remember just when and where we were. So I’m glad I did it when I did. And I’ve followed you going way back, so there will definitely be a void in “blog land” for me at least.
Being stationary for so long has definitely affected my blog-writing. Or at least I’ve found it more difficult. I do agree though that having all that history written down somewhere is quite a boon for my old grey cells.
Mick Tinker says
Thank your for your unselfish sharing. We have been full-time for 5 years and I often check your old routes and campground reviews because of their real-word clarify. I always wondered if I’d blog, but alas there are special people who can and then the rest of us!! Haha. We are amazed by how much we have done in 5 years, but we will be house based in 1-2 years. I will be inspired by your transition and your search for continued adventure.
Sue Malone says
I echo the comments of so many of your friends here, Nina, your blog is something I truly look forward to and have followed for years. I have learned so much from you, all the way back to where the best dog beaches were in Florida, and stories about traveling 395 with your friends, wasn’t that Chris and Cherie? Now in their boat? Things do change a lot, don’t they. I love your kitties. You know I am not a regular blogger, I learned long ago that I don’t have enough to say to make that worthwhile, so my blogging is sporadic, but keeps me happy. The only time I get overwhelmed is when we have been moving a LOT as we were last fall, As you know, I got the last post done six weeks after we finished the trip! Last question, maybe too personal to answer, is that are you OK. Inside OK. Is everything OK. You are always upbeat and thinking in a positive way about the future, and sometimes your hidden heart stays hidden because you are so kind and usually talk about the good stuff. I am wondering if you are thinking of leaving France? and praying that your life and your marriage and your health are all doing well too.
Thank you for your heartfelt comment Sue, I really appreciate it. I can’t deny I’ve had a few months of turmoil and have found it hard to blog regularly for a while now. All is OK though. I just need to re-find my footing. I’ll get there…
Kristin Lambert says
I’m so excited as an armchair hiker, now 76 years old, that you are going hiking again. Linda-Steven’s blog and yours are the only ones I follow faithfully, along with Ruth-Kevin’s, but it’s almost like going along with you. Thank you for sharing these experiences with us, those who won’t be able to do it again ourselves.
Much love and hugs, Kristin from Alaska (but now RVing in Mexico).
It’s lovely that I get to go back, and with Linda no less! I think it’s going to be a good adventure.
Jeff Threatt says
I’ve been following you for many years now. you have pointed me to wonderful places to visit and food to eat. Flaming Gorge in Utah and The VLA in New Mexico come to mind. Eating at Mi Casa in Benson AZ was a find.
I can understand the need to take a breath from blogging and just live life without thinking about explaining it.
There is one thing that is up in the air. Many months ago, you reported you guys were building you own MH. What has happened?
Take Care, Have fun, enjoy.
The van conversion project is still….shall we say….in the works. We’ve made some (very, very slow) progress, just not enough to blog about. Right now it’s actually going through paperwork approval for conversion, a very complicated matter in France that we had to get some help with and is finally coming to fruition after many months. Once the paperwork goes through it should (ha!) be a simpler project. Anyway that’s where it stands right now.
Karey B says
I have looked forward to your blogs for many, many years. I enjoy your writing style, adventures, perspective on living life in France and your beautiful photography. So excited for you to be doing another Camino and this time with friends. I want to thank you for the many years of enjoyment I had reading of your adventures and will definitely miss your blogs, but totally understand they are a lot of work and commitment. Best wishes to you, Paul and your furry friends.
I’m older than you, and have entered the stage of can’t remember things. The blog has been instrumental in our remembering the flavor of the events, what happened, where we were, why we were there, and etc. I can only recommend that if it’s important, blog it or write it down somewhere else. I’ll miss reading you!
The blog has been a wonderful resource for me personally too. I do think I will get the urge to write again more regularly, but just can’t say right now.
Terry McKnight says
I’ve followed your blog for all 13 years and enjoyed it immensely. I know the effort it takes to produce content on a near weekly basis. You have my respect as it is not easy. I thought about a blog years ago but soon found I had way too many expensive hobbies, both time and money wise, to do quality content. I feel honored that we were able to meet you both years ago. I wish you the best. Thank you.
It is quite the commitment to write weekly (or 3x per week as I used to do back in the day…phew!). Each blog post probably takes me 6 hours to produce, even if it only takes ~10 minutes to read. I’ve enjoyed it so that’s the main reason I’ve continued for so long. I just need to decide how to manage it going forward.
Terry McKnight says
Oops, I may have sent a comment to post using a different email address. Hope this doesn’t confuse things. Of course no need to post this comment, thanks.
Jamie Feinberg says
Congratulations on your upcoming adventure! Early in my personal development journey I befriended five women online, and we are still friends to this day, holding each other accountable to our goals and supporting each other when things get tough, both in person and online. And we have such fun together! I’m glad you’ve got some time with similar folk, and I wish you all the best. We’ve so appreciated your blog. I am having a similar identity crisis with my own blog. We are here if and when you’re ready to return, and in whatever form.
I love the friendships that are made on adventures. They’re something special, and many do endure like yours have. I so understand your identity crisis…it happens to the best of us, and we can’t always predict where it will take us. Hope yours takes you somewhere great, to the next chapter, whatever that is.
Erica Hammer says
I’ve so enjoyed following you, Paul and the paws for many years in “The Beast”, and your France home, the Mini Beast, and your hiking adventures.
Although I would hate to have you quit blogging (you have such winderful writing skills!), I wish you all the best in whatever your decision is.
But I do hope you will at least occasionally check in to let us know how all are doing – – we care about how all are doing!
Thanks Erica for the lovely comment. I do hope the fire to write will return.
Tami Fox says
I’ve read all of your blog posts…and it inspired us to go full time RV’ing. We’re going on 5 years now. I’ve loved reading of your adventures and campgroung reviews. Thank you for all of your adventures. Take care, and hope to see something every now and then.
Aaron and Beth Jones says
Buen Camino Nina! You’ll find what you need! Be safe on this next journey and whatever is coming after it.
Terri Pilate says
I feel bad that I missed this post when it first hit my email box. But I’ve been missing you. Wheelingit was my first fulltime RVing blog and we are finally taking off for our first extended trip around the the US and Canada. Thank you for the the inspiration and I hope we hear from you again.
Erica Hammer says
I miss reading your blogs, but hope you and your family are having a great spring, with many adventures planned in your future!