Podcast episode 7: Didi from Morocco 

I’m excited to have Didi on the show. He was one of the reasons that motivated me to get this show going in the first place. He’s a professional freerunner from Morocco who is also Muslim. Not only is he talented, he is a genuine good guy who is very humble. He is also very dedicated to the sport and shows it through the years of hard work. The reason I thought of Didi when deciding to do this show was a particular incident that happened to him a couple of years ago. We go over it in the episode. However, how he responded was beautiful and something worth sharing.

Other topics we discus are his culture and how traveling has impacted him personally. The big thing I really liked what we talked about is how he views hard work. He doesn’t allow anything to stand between him and his dreams. I can attest to this by saying his work has gotten him out of Morocco and now living in Europe. He is paid to teach and be a pro freerunner. Best of all he gets to live a life that he can truly call his own. So sit back and enjoy another episode of the Art of Happy Travels.

Podcast link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-art-of-happy-travels/id1332413224?mt=2&i=1000402663580

Day 1 the Journey begins

It’s 4:45am and I didn’t get great sleep last night, but I’m ready for the day! I gather my gear and fill my water bottle all the way up. Fred and myself started walking out of the village and up the first part of the mountain. The sun is rising now as it casts its rays over the valley. It’s very beautiful out here. On the way up, I notice another young guy named Logan coming from behind. He’s also here by himself traveling from Tennessee! So the three of us start walking together. Of course they are both taller than myself and are killing it. I’m always behind, but it’s ok. I’m enjoying the views. A little after 5km in, I begin to see over the clouds. The perfect time to take a snack break. As I’m sitting and eating, I can’t believe I’m actually here doing this. This all started from a conversation months ago with a former hiking friend. We were supposed to do this together, yet here I am. Is it because I’m trying to prove something to him that I’m here? I don’t know, but it’s interesting that I’m here on my own. That was what I was trying to avoid at all costs.

After walking with sheep and cows all over the place surrounded by clouds below me. It really just takes my breath away how beautiful this trail is. I continued on my own coming what looks like a…food truck? It’s the last official place to get any food or drinks before crossing the boarder into Spain. I didn’t feel the need to break, so I kept on going. At about this time the scenery starts to change and now I’m walking in a misty forest where I find a fountain. This is where my two new pilgrim friends are hanging out. We continued on as more clouds roll in. I enjoy it as it adds a bit of mystic to the area. The clouds start to break away as we make it to the highest point. From here you can see the first Spanish village we will be staying in. It’s all down hill from here!

Along the way, we meet another three pilgrims traveling together. They are from Italy, so I started calling them the Italian Stallions. A good group of guys named Filippo, Andrea, and Michele. I told Fred and Logan that we had to beat them to the next village. I start this competition in my head to beat the Italians. As we got closer to the village, I start to notice how tired I am. It’s been a long day of about 8 plus hours of hiking. What we did in one day, many pilgrims take two to do. So when the very large municipal came up ahead, I was overwhelmed with excitement! My first thought is “Did we beat the Italians?”.

We have arrived in Roncesvalles. The municipal is large and old from the the looks of it. However, you can tell it’s been renovated when you get inside. They have a large lobby area where we are assigned beds in what seems like large cubicles with two bunk beds in each one. I’m put in a cubicle with three other random older strangers. Fred and Logan got lucky and were assigned into the same one. It’s ok, since they are not far from me. So first we shower, clean our clothes, and get some much needed food. The three of us ended up walking around a bit and explored the village. It’s smaller than the last one we stayed in. It also once again looks medieval with stone buildings and a church that looks like it’s as old as the Catholic religion. This village is important as it’s the starting point of the Spanish Way. I go into the church to attend the ceremony. I’m not religious, but I want to experience it. So many people from many walks of life do this. I wonder what motivated them. For many who do the pilgrimage, it’s for some kind of life changing reason. For me, it appears to be for trekking and drinking purposes only. By the end of it all, we will see if something changes or if I even find my true reason for doing this.

I walk outside and see Logan and Fred on a patio outside a bar drinking wine or also called vino tinto. We start drinking and talking about the day.  I look around to see a street sign that reads “Santiago De Compostela 790″…we still have a long ways to go. As the sun begins to set, we crawl back to the municipal wasted. This is only day one and I feel like so much has happened. I remember someone saying a week on the Camino is the equivalent of a month in our usual life back home. Everyday is full of activity and talking to good people over some drinks. What more could I want? Until tomorrow, buenos noches.

If you want to support the cause, you can do so here: paypal.me/theartofhappytravels

The Camino de Santiago (Prologue)

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port ( Starting village)

Why am I here? I have traveled half way around the world to walk 500mi/800Km, but why? The guide book says I should have a clear reason, but I honestly don’t have one. All I know is that I’m here about to embark on the biggest journey of my life and I have no idea what got me motivated in the first place. Hopefully by the end of this journey I will not only figure out my why, but solutions to issues within myself.

The journey didn’t start great coming from Paris. I enjoyed the city however got scammed out of 150 Euros! That’s Camino money that I was going to live off of. How could I be so dumb? I’ve traveled enough at this point to know better, but I still fell for it. The three cup game with the ball underneath the cup looked easy. I saw other people winning, so I thought I could do it. It wasn’t until I lost the money that it hit me like a ton of bricks, that it was all a scam. I was so angry at myself for falling for that underneath the Eiffel Tower which had sadly soured my experience. It’s a lesson learned that I hope doesn’t cost me down the path.

Now I find myself in this beautiful village in the foothills of the Pyrenees trying to think positive about what lies ahead. According to the book, I need to get to the municipal ( town/city hosted hostels that are for pilgrims) early. It’s a first come, first serve basis. Along the path to the municipal I met a couple from Irvine California of all places ( Where I used to live). It’s really random, but nice to talk to others from home when you’re traveling alone and far from it. After the talk, I saw a guy sitting outside the municipal. He’s a little older than myself  from Vienna. We talk for about an hour before the old wooden door opens up and a nice older lady greets us with “Buen Camino”. I check in, get my first stamp and a bed.

The room is full of  bunk beds and thats when I met someone closer to my age. My bunk mate Frederik from Denmark. We talked and got ready for the night. I cleaned my clothes and hung them outside. That’s when I meet other pilgrims named Angel from Puerto Rico and Smarta from Poland. Angel talks about how he tried the Camino before and didn’t make it due to an injury. So he is going for round 2! After our talk, I walk around the beautiful village. The buildings and architecture make you feel like you’re in a fairytale. I feel like I’m back in time or in a Lord of the Rings adventure, minus a ring and orcs. I find a small cafe and drink a glass of wine (not sure it’s a good idea with what just happened in Paris). However, I wanted to enjoy the moment and that’s when the thought started to creep in “What if I get hurt and don’t make it?”

After the glass, I walked back to the municipal enjoying the village. I can’t believe tomorrow I start. Will I even make it? Will I in someway change? Will I actually figure out why I’m even here? There is so much doubt in my head right now, yet I know that either way it will be an experience that I will never forget.

Episode 6: Jordan

One minute you don’t like someone and the next minute you’re having a deep conversation about life. This is how this podcast episode started. The day before I recorded this episode, I was on my way to Jerash from Amman. I was doing this on a Friday, Which is the holy day for the Muslim religion. So getting transport would be more challenging. However, when I have a goal in mind. I don’t want to dwell on roadblocks (pun intended). Anyway, I was talking to the hostel host about how I could get there and this older lady comes out of her room and sits on a couch and says in a rude tone ” It’s the holy day, what are you thinking trying to go out there?”. I looked at her and said “It’s none of your business what I choose to do with my day”. At that point I ignored her and got the info I needed and off I went.

The next day I walk into the lobby and see the older woman sitting there. I just smiled and said hello. Sat down and to eat my breakfast. I didn’t bring yesterday up because to be honest it didn’t matter. What happened next was amazing. We just started talking. She shared her story with me and I said wait, I must record this. Of course it’s tough being in a lobby at a hostel trying to record a episode. However, you do what you have to do. The conversation was a great. Unfortunately, some of the information about her life didn’t make it in. I was hoping she would share her story about living in the desert for 10 years and the struggles she has faced in her life. Now I will say I didn’t agree with everything she said. However, it’s important to get other perspectives of the world out there. That’s the whole point of the show. So sit back and enjoy this weeks episode of The Art of Happy Travels!

On a side note: I recently started a donation pages through PayPal and patreon.com. If you like what we are doing. Feel free to support!

And a Patreon page!

Thank you everyone!

Paypal: PayPal.me/theartofhappytravels

Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/theartofhappytravels

Podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-art-of-happy-travels/id1332413224?mt=2#episodeGuid=6adf39bbbbe6d2da4715ddc6c6655825

Day 1 the Journey begins

It’s 4:45am and I didn’t get great sleep last night, but I’m ready for the day! I gather my gear and fill my water bottle all the way up. Fred and myself started walking out of the village and up the first part of the mountain. The sun is rising now as it casts its rays over the valley. It’s very beautiful out here. On the way up, I notice another young guy named Logan coming from behind. He’s also here by himself traveling from Tennessee! So the three of us start walking together. Of course they are both taller than myself and are killing it. I’m always behind, but it’s ok. I’m enjoying the views. A little after 5km in, I begin to see over the clouds. The perfect time to take a snack break. As I’m sitting and eating, I can’t believe I’m actually here doing this. This all started from a conversation months ago with a former hiking friend. We were supposed to do this together, yet here I am. Is it because I’m trying to prove something to him that I’m here? I don’t know, but it’s interesting that I’m here on my own. That was what I was trying to avoid at all costs.

After walking with sheep and cows all over the place surrounded by clouds below me. It really just takes my breath away how beautiful this trail is. I continued on my own coming what looks like a…food truck? It’s the last official place to get any food or drinks before crossing the boarder into Spain. I didn’t feel the need to break, so I kept on going. At about this time the scenery starts to change and now I’m walking in a misty forest where I find a fountain. This is where my two new pilgrim friends are hanging out. We continued on as more clouds roll in. I enjoy it as it adds a bit of mystic to the area. The clouds start to break away as we make it to the highest point. From here you can see the first Spanish village we will be staying in. It’s all down hill from here!

Along the way, we meet another three pilgrims traveling together. They are from Italy, so I started calling them the Italian Stallions. A good group of guys named Filippo, Andrea, and Michele. I told Fred and Logan that we had to beat them to the next village. I start this competition in my head to beat the Italians. As we got closer to the village, I start to notice how tired I am. It’s been a long day of about 8 plus hours of hiking. What we did in one day, many pilgrims take two to do. So when the very large municipal came up ahead, I was overwhelmed with excitement! My first thought is “Did we beat the Italians?”.

We have arrived in Roncesvalles. The municipal is large and old from the the looks of it. However, you can tell it’s been renovated when you get inside. They have a large lobby area where we are assigned beds in what seems like large cubicles with two bunk beds in each one. I’m put in a cubicle with three other random older strangers. Fred and Logan got lucky and were assigned into the same one. It’s ok, since they are not far from me. So first we shower, clean our clothes, and get some much needed food. The three of us ended up walking around a bit and explored the village. It’s smaller than the last one we stayed in. It also once again looks medieval with stone buildings and a church that looks like it’s as old as the Catholic religion. This village is important as it’s the starting point of the Spanish Way. I go into the church to attend the ceremony. I’m not religious, but I want to experience it. So many people from many walks of life do this. I wonder what motivated them. For many who do the pilgrimage, it’s for some kind of life changing reason. For me, it appears to be for trekking and drinking purposes only. By the end of it all, we will see if something changes or if I even find my true reason for doing this.

I walk outside and see Logan and Fred on a patio outside a bar drinking wine or also called vino tinto. We start drinking and talking about the day.  I look around to see a street sign that reads “Santiago De Compostela 790″…we still have a long ways to go. As the sun begins to set, we crawl back to the municipal wasted. This is only day one and I feel like so much has happened. I remember someone saying a week on the Camino is the equivalent of a month in our usual life back home. Everyday is full of activity and talking to good people over some drinks. What more could I want? Until tomorrow, buenos noches.

If you want to support the cause, you can do so here: paypal.me/theartofhappytravels

The Camino de Santiago (Prologue)

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port ( Starting village)

Why am I here? I have traveled half way around the world to walk 500mi/800Km, but why? The guide book says I should have a clear reason, but I honestly don’t have one. All I know is that I’m here about to embark on the biggest journey of my life and I have no idea what got me motivated in the first place. Hopefully by the end of this journey I will not only figure out my why, but solutions to issues within myself.

The journey didn’t start great coming from Paris. I enjoyed the city however got scammed out of 150 Euros! That’s Camino money that I was going to live off of. How could I be so dumb? I’ve traveled enough at this point to know better, but I still fell for it. The three cup game with the ball underneath the cup looked easy. I saw other people winning, so I thought I could do it. It wasn’t until I lost the money that it hit me like a ton of bricks, that it was all a scam. I was so angry at myself for falling for that underneath the Eiffel Tower which had sadly soured my experience. It’s a lesson learned that I hope doesn’t cost me down the path.

Now I find myself in this beautiful village in the foothills of the Pyrenees trying to think positive about what lies ahead. According to the book, I need to get to the municipal ( town/city hosted hostels that are for pilgrims) early. It’s a first come, first serve basis. Along the path to the municipal I met a couple from Irvine California of all places ( Where I used to live). It’s really random, but nice to talk to others from home when you’re traveling alone and far from it. After the talk, I saw a guy sitting outside the municipal. He’s a little older than myself  from Vienna. We talk for about an hour before the old wooden door opens up and a nice older lady greets us with “Buen Camino”. I check in, get my first stamp and a bed.

The room is full of  bunk beds and thats when I met someone closer to my age. My bunk mate Frederik from Denmark. We talked and got ready for the night. I cleaned my clothes and hung them outside. That’s when I meet other pilgrims named Angel from Puerto Rico and Smarta from Poland. Angel talks about how he tried the Camino before and didn’t make it due to an injury. So he is going for round 2! After our talk, I walk around the beautiful village. The buildings and architecture make you feel like you’re in a fairytale. I feel like I’m back in time or in a Lord of the Rings adventure, minus a ring and orcs. I find a small cafe and drink a glass of wine (not sure it’s a good idea with what just happened in Paris). However, I wanted to enjoy the moment and that’s when the thought started to creep in “What if I get hurt and don’t make it?”

After the glass, I walked back to the municipal enjoying the village. I can’t believe tomorrow I start. Will I even make it? Will I in someway change? Will I actually figure out why I’m even here? There is so much doubt in my head right now, yet I know that either way it will be an experience that I will never forget.

The Camino de Santiago

The French/ Spain boarder

Hello everyone!

A couple of years ago I walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela on the French way. It took 31 days and after every day I did a journal entry of my hike and experience. Recently I have had people ask me to do a post about it. So, I’m dusting my journal off and will be doing a day by day write up. So you guys can get a feel of either what to expect or  want to live it through my eyes. Either way, I want to share with you an experience that had a large impact on my life. However, before I start writing about this journey. I want to hear what you want to see in the posts. What will make it worth your time and more importantly what information will help you the most. So please comment or email me at theartofhappytravels@gmail.com. I’ll start posting my stories in a week. Thank you for reading and looking forward to sharing!