Good place. good people. It’s always weird when I roll up to a new gym. I think I always feel a little stand offish. Probably because I know not all gym environments are a good place. As far as One World Jiu Jitsu in Newark, CA. It is a great gym to be apart of.
Why do I feel stand off-like when I train in new gyms? Jiu Jitsu is a combat sport. I think you naturally size people up by looking at your training partners. How tall are they? Muscle mass? Belt Rank? How seasoned is their belt? Cauliflower ear? Hands? You can tell a lot about someone by looking at their hands.
After awhile it turns into your gym. Which is a really good feeling. It becomes your second home. You don’t feel like a stranger to it anymore. For someone that traveled around a lot, that feeling of home is something you always want to come back to. Something you are always searching for.
My last post about the Camino. I’m currently in Lima, Peru. I had to finish this subject before I continue my travels.
As I write this I’m in Lima, Peru. Traveling around from place to place is different from walking the Camino. I don’t have to pick up and leave every morning which is a good feeling, but there’s a sense of urgency when you have a goal while you’re traveling. A sense of mission is common with all the other pilgrims. To continue walking whether your goal is Santiago or not. In a normal hostel, it is a motley crew of backpackers, travelers, and tourists with different motives. Lima is no exception. It makes me miss the Camino and Spain. It will be something I will wrestle with but I digress.
I walked with Thomas and Maria for more than half of the way. Thomas is from North Germany, near Bremen. He is studying wood engineering. He is a good person to walk with. I appreciated his honesty and company when we conversed. He has very good travel stories and dreams to travel more. I will see him again in Dresden.
They were a few days where it rained constantly. We just went with the flow. Eventually we got past the rain and the weather was beautiful. Seeing the coast is an amazing feeling when you have been walking inland for many kilometers. Through rain, mud and drinking Sidra. It was some of the best parts of the Camino.
These two German ladies had stopped us and gave us all beers to celebrate the last 100 kilometers of Camino Norte. It was a good feeling to celebrate with beers at 830am. The last few days were just too fast to remember. Before I knew it we were one day until Santiago. It’s an amazing feeling to get to the end.
By the last 4 days or so, I walked with a core group of people. Parti, who was from Switzerland, Thomas, from Germany, Soren, from Denmark, and Maria, from South Korea. We had dinner in Santiago then Maria took a bus to Finisterre. Parti took a bus a few days later with his girl friend to Muxia. Thomas took a bus to Bilbao for a flight back to Bremen. Soren, Thomas and I had a few going away beers his last night.
Soren and I walked to Finisterre in two days from Santiago. It was a beautiful walk with spectacular views. It was exhausting though. Why did I walk it in two days? Off a bet and because I wanted to push myself. It was a hell of a last day. Soren walked with me the entire way even though he won the bet. He said he would stop at the town before Finestera. I’ll always remember that. The fact he kept going even though he didn’t have to. That’s a friend. We parted ways the next day. The next morning I walked to the end of the world and had some long thoughts.
Originally when I finished my obligation with the Navy I was going to move to Spain. After finishing the Camino, I changed my mind. I want to travel to more countries before I want to settle on one place again. I really haven’t seen the world on the terms I wish to see it. So I decided afterwards I will take a year and travel the world. I will see all the countries of most of the people I’ve met on the Camino. So far its going well. In fact most of the contacts around the world are either through the Camino or Jiu Jitsu.
El Fin. A part of me wants to walk it again. For the friendship and camaraderie in walking. Maybe a piece of the Basque country, that was my favorite.
I returned to Europe on a military place because I was active duty at the time, cheap flight. I traveled from Palm Springs, Ca – Baltimore Washington International- Rammstein Air Force Base- Frankfurt, Germany- Madrid, Spain-Bilbao, Spain. It amazing to experience travel in such a quick time frame. I had to make a quick connection when I had a connecting flight in Madrid. My bag was lost. I stayed in Bilbao for a few days waiting for my bag.
I saw it as a omen to see and experience Bilbao for the three more days. The airline eventually found my pack and brought it to me on the first day. I had two more nights at the hostel. It was the same hostel, Bilbao Central Hostel, that I walked two Austrian girls at the end of a night the year before. I spent all night charming one of them and the Danish dude does a quarterback sneak and he makes out with her at the end of the night. (Sigh)
The freshness is gone when you continue the Camino. It did for me when I continued that day in Santander. I knew what to expect already. Follow the arrows. If I’m lost. I know enough Spanish to ask for directions.¿ Por aquí o por allí? ¿ Dónde está el camino? ¿Puede ayudarme, por favor? Estoy perdido. Soy Peregrino. The locals were so helpful even if you didn’t speak Castellano/Spanish. Walk into town and find an Albergue shower, eat, mend you injuries, meet people, wash your clothes, sleep, wake up, walk, repeat. The magic of being a novice to walking the camino is gone vs those who walk it and finish it in one go.
At first I was just walking. I didn’t talk to anybody the first two days because I was racing some Hungarian dude. It was exhausting because I never stopped to enjoy the scenery. As soon as I let it go and just let my journey run its course I started to have fun. I met two Germans, Sebastian and Kristiana with a Dane, Søren. That group made me laugh and reminded me what the camino was about. I forgot about walking when I started conversing and laughing with them. We parted ways several hours later.
Pendules. I came upon an Javier’s Albergue, which was recommended by my guide book. That Albergue was one of the best. All of the pilgrims broke bread and shared a vegetarian meal that Javier made. We sat along a long wooden table and shared songs of our native countries in the respective languages. German, Polish, South Korean, Spanish except American. I really can’t sing. It’s really embarrassing how bad I am. Javier was asked” Why do you do this? (hosting pilgrims in his home and treats them like family) Amongst the laughing, singing and drinking vino tinto with people from all over the world. Javier answered” porque los moments como este.” I smiled because its a feeling that can’t be described without experiencing it.
The next day I met Maria. Here’s where I think everything happens for a reason. Our paths intertwined many times on the Camino. I enjoyed her company more than anybody on the camino. I enjoyed our conversations and her company. I spent the most time with than anyone else. We met up in Madrid after we completed it. It felt reminiscent of Before Sunrise. I said I would visit her in South Korea when I get out of the Navy. Next is Camino De Santiago IV.
Reykjavik, Iceland- Polyglot Conference. 27 Oct-29 Oct
Bay Area, CA
Auckland, New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand
Rio De Janiero, Brazil
Thats a year of travel in less than a hundred words. Just looking at the names seem daunting because of the size of the task. I’m excited for the challenge and the adventure. This is just a prospective itinerary. More than likely it will change.
What I originally planned to do was to hit up these countries with no plan, expectations or mission. I’m 32 years old. I know that I’m not an average traveler. I have specific interests and habits that I do. I go to the movies of the country I’m visiting, especially if I don’t understand the language. I eat the food and I try to learn a little bit of the language. I’m not much of club guy. Not really my scene. I can party if I feel like it but I rather enjoy a good conversation with friends around food and alcohol. Extreme sports. I can be peer pressured into that stuff but I don’t go out of my way to do it. Sightseeing. Yes but it’s not a deal breaker. Most importantly I do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I’ve been training in jiu jitsu for roughly seven years. I’m going to try to train in every country I visit. This type of journey has been done and documented by Christian Graugert in his book and blog, The BJJ GLOBETROTTER. I feel more active as traveler with this goal in mind.
What makes a place memorable when you visit? Is it the food? Sure. Is it the language? Maybe. Attractions? Meh. Weather? 75%. I think what makes a place memorable is the people. I’ve moved a lot in my twenties and in the Navy. The friends I’ve made where I’ve lived, whether they were locals or not, made those years unforgettable. What is the best way to bond with the locals. With a passion we both share, jiu jitsu. We don’t even need to speak the same language. I will blog about this subject extensively for the next year. So look out.
My former blog was a language blog. It was about my journey for a lingua franca, A bridge language. I am still learning Spanish. I think I can understand 60-70 percent of news and audiobooks I listen to, if slow. I can read fairly well in Spanish. I had Skype classes on italki weekly since I left the Navy. There’s still a lot more to learn. Rewind five years ago. I would not have thought I would be able to communicate or make friends in this language but I have. I hit that point in my language learning where I realized that I can communicate and I am able to use it. It’s an incredibly rewarding feeling, almost a drug-like high. I’m addicted too. I want to learn more! I plan to attend two polyglot events, Slovakia and Iceland. What better way to learn more languages than get advice from the world’s best.
I want to record as much memories and ideas to come to me while I’m on my travels. To do so I need to write. I need to make a routine of writing everyday. Which means blogging everyday. Will my blogging be good? Probably not. I want to get in the habit of writing.
What did I do today?
It was the day after my 32nd Birthday. I woke up and studied some German. I took my nephews to the park. I had Skype class for Spanish. I went to Jiu Jitsu.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.
I used to get depressed around Valentine’s Day. It’s a day that the world highlights that you are single. Now I see it as just a day. Not just a day. A day of opportunity. It’s about perspective. For flower and candy shops, it would probably be a blackout day for employees. (A blackout day is a day where you are not allowed to take a day off.) Rightly so, it’s a money making day. That’s how I see tomorrow. Just a day to make money.