Seldom do I know at the start of each week what the newsletter topic will be on Friday. For years, it was always exclusively about finding love after 50 in one form or another. But five years ago, I decided to expand its reach, and changed the newsletter's name to "On Life and Love After 50."
I did this because as we age, not all of us will always find love. I think most of us would like that, but for many, the dice haven't rolled that way yet. Does that mean we just give up living because we don't have a partner? Does that mean our life should be totally dedicated to finding a mate? Hell no.
What it means is we need to pursue life with gusto as best we can and tackle the challenges on our own, or with small groups of friends. We must strive to enjoy life and make it interesting and enriching. Today's story is an example of that. It comes from long-time Champ, Zoe, who lives in Glastonbury, England. Here's how she's on the move.
Zoe wrote, "I am off tomorrow to walk 500 miles. Overweight, under-fit me, with a history of bad feet: weak, sometimes wheelchair bound, multiple fractures and all. I'm going to walk the entire Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Walk, from the French-Spanish border to Santiago de Compostela, a city in northwestern Spain, not far from the coast, just north of Portugal."
After reading Zoe's email, I researched this walk. The website, Walkingthecamino.com stated: "Since the 10th Century, pilgrims have walked to the shrine of the Apostle Saint James at Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. The routes to the shrine originate from all over Europe. The routes are known as 'Caminos,' or Ways.
"Walking a Camino was a traditional penance and pilgrims received an indulgence to pardon their sin. Today, walkers who complete at least 100 kilometers (62 miles) of a Camino earn their Compostela certificate when they reach Santiago. They carry a pilgrim passport or credencial which is stamped along the way. Walkers are treated well by locals as part of the 1,000-year tradition."
The website added that trails are well-marked and there are plenty of accommodations along the way. I noted that there are more than 50 hotels in Santiago de Compostela.
Zoe said, "I have no idea how long it will take me, most people walk many times faster than I can walk and it takes them between five and six weeks (if they walk it honestly and don't hop on a bus from time-to-time). For me, it may take twice that amount of time-10 to 12 weeks.
"I am nearly 70 and before I started practicing, I had never walked further than to the next village-two miles. However, I have can now do ten miles on a good day.
"I will still look forward to Friday's newsletter. Some of the pilgrim refugios (places to stay) do have electricity and some even have a computer, but not all of them.
"My inspiration is the American Peace Pilgrim, Mildred Norman Ryder, who walked 26,000 miles crisscrossing America making my 500 miles just a doddle. Five hundred miles isn't really that of course, but I will manage. "
To find out more about Mildred Ryder, I checked the website about her: www.peacepilgrim.org.
The information revealed: "From 1953 to 1981 a silver haired woman calling herself only Peace Pilgrim walked more than 25,000 miles on a personal pilgrimage for peace. She vowed to 'remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food.'
"In the course of her 28-year pilgrimage she touched the hearts, minds, and lives of thousands of individuals all across North America. Her message was both simple and profound. It continues to inspire people all over the world."
We wish Zoe well on her pilgrimage walk. Hopefully, she will keep us updated as she walks across Spain one step at a time. Her walk might inspire other Champs to make the same trek or visit that area of Spain.
Our Champs are fascinating people--with or without partners--as they prove week in and week out.
Zoe in her pilgrim hat
Have an enjoyable week-end.