Heading for seven

During a winter walk the other day, I stopped to look at this ancient tree. One thing about the southern part of England is the variety of trees. Many have been imported from other countries, but this one is native. It got me thinking about hikes I've taken in different places, which led me to ponder what has happened over the last nearly 7 years.
When I began my first blog, back in October 2011 (after a few months of writing the software), I had no idea where it would lead me. At first it sat there empty until the first post and then I desired to get back on the road, something I had not done much of for a long, long time.

At first I wandered about various places in the UK, usually only a day trip away. It was in one of the rail stations that I remembered a journey, which began from the place, where I had taken a wrong turn in Madrid, back in 1972. In September 2013, I headed for there. Enroute a discovery was made, Pamplona and the Basque Country, which I vowed to return to.

Restarting isn't much different than the first time

Back in the summer of 1968, I set out across the USA. I didn't have much of a clue and it was a bit of a wild journey. Starting out again, in 2013 was pretty much the same. I had forgotten things and now we have backpacker hostels, digital devices, much better backpacks and things are a lot more expensive. I went as far as Seville and took a bus back to London, I had, "put my toes in the water"—and wanted to swim. A new learning experience took place and I was extremely limited in what I could carry, but as I look back a lot has been learned and I've experienced some new things.
Talk about changes. My first camera was an Argus C3 then years later a Nikon, both 35mm. Now I carry a little Leica/Lumix digital camera that's great and fits into a shirt pocket no less!

By February 2014, I'd saved up enough to get back on the road and headed for Pamplona again. During that time I spent many hours with a fellow named Fernando, who was staying at the Hostel Xarma when I was there. He came from the Basque Country and I learned a lot from him about its history and people.

The weather was atrocious, for a whole month I was damp. First in Pamplona, then on that really strange trip to Lisbon and further down to Boliqueime in the Algarve (what a nice little town). Returning to Lisbon as it was sideswiped by a hurricane added to the misery, then back to Pamplona for a few days and met Catalán, a jewelry artist.

A very new thing to me was happening, I was beginning to make friends. That's something I never did before. Being raised from small childhood in the intelligence community meant, you do not make friends—period! Far too dangerous for you and them, so I never learned to do that and, many decades later, still struggle. But, here I was meeting people and returning to Pamplona to see them.

The Iberian Peninsula has always been a favorite of mine, so more trips have been made. Various towns in the Basque Country were visited and enjoyed (for the most part). By the time 2015 finished, I wanted to expand my horizons and in February 2016 jumped on a plane to Italy. I'd still like to spend some time in the South of that country as well as Greece (in particular Corfu).

More time in Portugal (seven weeks) and Pamplona again. Some trips to other places in the Basque Country as well, ending the year in Jerusalem.

Almost a year down

Jumping up from the chair at my computer console, I immediately was struck by severe pain in my lower spine and ended up on the floor, unable to move. That was February 2017. For the next 10 months, I was in and out of bed, every time I went a little way and sat down it happened again. The vicious cycle compounding the injury. Things seemed very glum and for several months the idea of not being able to travel again hung there like a monster, waiting to devour me. I was not a happy bunny at all.

During that time I did little. There were several blog posts waiting to be posted and all I did was click the Publish button. Eventually I began to lose the weight put on by not being able to get out and the pain began to go, enough that I was able to do a series of tutorials on dev.Macgyver Photo Editor for Android. Though I couldn't travel, I could write and did the requested series about what it was like to backpack around in the late 1960's and early 70's.

My shoes are muddy and legs ache

How great it is have that happen again as I get back into shape. Looking over the last nearly 7 years has taught me a lot and I can now make some very basic plans for the next trip.
I bought a new but older Galaxy Mini for a fone. It does not drain the battery when off. I only use a fone for emergency etc. I don't want all my eggs in one basket.

One big difference is that I will take my Galaxy S2 fone only for the camera (most 2016 fotos were taken with it and they are fine for a blog) and the tablet (depending on trip length). Reason: my new laptop with Leica/Lumix and all their bits weigh 6.5lbs, The tablet and smartphone, with all their bits, weigh 1.5 lbs. I save 5 pounds of weight. So, total wieght on my back is 10lbs, without water. That's a shirt, light jacket (if needed) and the backpack (with all it's stuff). I don't need anything else.
It's a bit of surprise to me that I managed to fit everything needed into my Gootium bag, if I just wear shorts—and I'm rockin' 6.5 lbs (just under 3 kilos, without water)!. Not sure whether I'll use it (just to be different for a change) or my backpack.

Where will I go?
A short stay in Pamplona, down to place north of Barcelona (where Catalán has moved to) and then....
Mar 15, 2018

latest comment at top
Yes Cez, that tree has a little hole in the middle. What it reveals, I won't know until I get there.
Mar 17, 2018 at 1625
Cez iof eTramping
That ancient tree seems so magical, Ted. It's so great to learn more about your beginnings and how you developed over time.
Mar 17, 2018 at 1608

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