Limping Along (Part I)

Hey there folks,

Forgive the lack of updates. As you recall, I was bound for Chile where our mission group had absolutely no Wi-Fi possibilities. Indeed, one of the stipulations for this trip was a media fast, if you will, that dissuaded me from even firing up my phone. There’s your lack of updates for ya.

But I’m back in the States, in the midst of packing up my belongings, trying to bang out a post in good order.

I have a lot on my mind as of late, and many of these thoughts are swirling about, trying to take shape in the form of words on a page. The writer’s conundrum – how do you write out just one of these many, varied thoughts? It’s like trying to catch the dust floating about in a sunny window: you can clearly see everything, but you cannot quite grasp those motes.

The following passage is based upon a testimony I had to give to the group. Although I had an outline of what I had wanted to say, I ended up firing from the hip and just rolling with it. If you’ve ever heard me speak before, you know I’m prone to word vomit – I’m much better at writing out my scattered thoughts than saying them aloud. Might not be the exact words I used when speaking, but the story is the same. Part II will follow shortly after.

Enjoy this passage about my struggle with faith, the absurdity of reality, the desire to help others at my own expense, and the need to belong.

Continue reading “Limping Along (Part I)”

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We Caen Do This

That’s my well

Hey there folks,

You will see that well I have mentioned a few times in previous posts. I added a total of four layers to it; makes it less of a trip hazard. Not bad for having never done anything remotely close to bricklaying, eh? Apart from working with the animals (and slaughtering a few of them) this was my proudest moment at the Wwoof site. Well said (get it? well said??)

But as you know, if you’ve been following along, my time Wwoofing has come to an end and I once more find myself upon the road with few cares and little aim – the way I like it. I tossed around the idea of walking from Mont-St-Michel towards Santiago, kicked about the notion to spend some time in Paris, even debated the merits of just Wwoofing across France and postponing Santiago in entirety.

Continue reading “We Caen Do This”

And So It Begins

After a final night of schmoozing and drinking with the family, I boarded my first plane at approximately 6AM to begin the next chapter in my wandering lifestyle. My heart was heavy for I was leaving a great many things behind me – the sort of things a man doesn’t want to let go of – but my journey had to begin with this first step.

Two flights and a train ride later, here I am in Illinois at the Our Lady of the Snows chapel, ready to begin some hospitalero training courtesy of the American Pilgrims on the Camino. Already I’ve met a smattering of delightful folks I’m eager to spend the week with – seems like plenty of stories to be heard and shared. It has been a hell of a day and I’m quite an exhausted monkey, but I felt the need to share my thoughts (and packing list) before I became too embroiled in the week’s upcoming events.

Without further ado, let us go over The Packing List.

11 pounds of things I probably don’t need

The bag pictured to the left holds all of my gear for the next few months (excluding the things I’ll be wearing day-to-day). It’s a nice bag, an REI model in the M/L range my brother was kind enough to let me borrow. The rain cover was a bit dull so I spruced it up with a positive message: To the ends of the Earth. Because, really, this bag is going places.

In all, I am carrying the following and justifying them thusly:

  • 2 Pairs of Clothing (Shirts, socks, pant/short combo, and drawers)
  • 1 Rain Coat (ponchos are too heavy and cumbersome; this pulls double duty in colder temperatures)
  • 1 Hippie Blanket (a silly sheet you find at Ren Faires you can fold into various articles of clothing; versatile, lightweight, and fits any occasion)
  • Hiking Boots and Jesus Sandals (walk hard, play hard)
  • 1 Hat and Bandanna (they go on my head)
  • 1 Microfiber Towel (lightweight, dries fast, doubles as an extra blanket)
  • 1 ASUS T100 2-in-1 Tablet (the better to blog with)
  • 1 Fujifilm XP80 Camera (to inundate you with photos; also impervious to much of Nature’s wrath)
  • 2 leather-bound journals (one to keep track of personal thoughts and reflections, the other to document Camino itself and her nuances)
  • Toiletries (duh)
  • 1 Fanny Pack (replete with cash, passports, paper, and exclusive Euro vibes)
  • 1 Canteen (you put water in it)

And that’s it. Everything, excluding the water, comes out to approximately 11 pounds. A good rule of thumb for long distance hiking is to carry about 10% of your weight max. Me being a fatass, that number would be closer to 17 pounds; however, my being a badass ensures this number is far lower and easier to carry. Trust me – you don’t need most things you think you might need when you’re out and about. As my brother said, “Ounces equal poundses.” You have to carry every last ounce so be mindful of that when packing.

After months of planning and prepping, hell, it is difficult to believe the day has finally arrived. Will some days suck? Absolutely. Will my fatbody protest in impotent rage? Of course. Will the experience be worth it? Damn right.

Now then, I am off to find some grub that isn’t coffee, shave my pathetic neckbeard, and hopefully get myself a nap. Until next time, comrades.

Oh and here’s the cutest picture you’ll see today:

Great Oma with her nephew.
Great Oma with her nephew.

To the Ends of the Earth (Literally)

Howdy folks,

There are two things I think I love far more than anything else I’ve encountered on this globe: travel and writing. And that’s what the purpose of this blog serves – to document and comment upon my travels for the next few months.

ASUS Transformer T100, writing journal/devotional, and beer. The better to travel with.

My mother once described me (in front of her class, no less) as impetuous, brash, and off-color. She certainly isn’t wrong in that regard for this journey to Europe and South America was planned and purchased in less than a fortnight with little regard given to logistics, the effects of my absence from home, or any other thought really. I tend to follow my heart, and if I wish to do something, by Jove I’ll do it.

Which brings us here, to Brunomad, and the ensuing adventures we’re to have together as I traverse Europe to once again visit that holy city of Santiago de Compostella. Ah, yes, glorious Camino.

After a brief rendezvous in Illinois to attend the Gathering of Pilgrims, I will sojourn to Dublin, Ireland to make my offerings to the patron saint of Ireland, Lord Guinness. In a convenient stroke of luck, some bloke decided to put the cathedral to Saint James right across the street from the Guinness brewery! After making my devotions along the Wicklow Way, it’s a short ferry ride over to my beloved France where, gods willing, I will reunite with some old comrades, walk her beautiful coastline, and embrace life the way man was meant to: by living it.

Following this, I’ll walk the Camino del Norte route to Santiago, get my credencial, then book it to Muxia (Finisterra is highly overrated) before catching a bus to Lisbon and flying to Miami. In Miami, I’ll rendezvous with my FOCUS group before completing my mission trip in Santiago de Chile for several weeks.

And after that, sheesh, I will get over to Cancun, Mexico for my sister’s long-awaited wedding. Gods willing, I will get to visit Cuba too – big plans, big plans.

And the entire time? Why, I hope to be documenting the sights, the people, the emotions, the whole shebang along the Way.

If this sounds like your mug of mead, then follow along as this digital nomad tackles the world once more.