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Hitting the Road Again and Ready to Fly

Hello again.

Well, my dear friends and faithful readers, I’m back.  A much needed time of introspection and dare I say stagnancy (wow!) did me good.

And now I’m hitting the road again in a big way.  For many weeks, I’ve been spinning a delicate and complicated web putting this next adventure together.

But now, with the bulk of the planning and organizing behind me, I peer over the edge of yet another dark chasm unsure of what I will find yonder.  The hope is that this journey brings me more understanding about the world that I can share with you. And more wine.  Wine is good.

The Plan

My journey starts in Munich, Germany where I’ll be visiting a friend.  I’ve passed through Munich before but never explored the city, so Munich will be a “new” city for me and I’m excited about it.  Plus pretzels.  I’m excited about those too.

Four days later, I’ll be moving on to London for a day of sightseeing followed by four days in the small English town visiting a girlfriend I met on the Camino de Santiago.  Those Camino friendships tend to stick.  She’ll never get rid of me.

After London, I go to Athens for a couple days before catching a ferry to Lesvos Island, Greece.  After the European Peace Walk, I became more aware of the plight of refugees than ever before.  Coming out of my recent retreat I saw images of refugees that tore up my heart.  Meanwhile, in my own country of immigrants, vile political candidates stir the pot of racism.  Hate is a sickening thing, and it has never been and will never be the answer.  My conscience and my heart, despite my protests, tell me to try and help.  Ug!  Stupid heart!  Always getting me into trouble.

And so I am answering the call, going as an independent volunteer to help in any capacity that is needed.

For reference, Lesvos, Greece is just a few miles from Turkey (divided by the Aegean Sea) and is therefore the primary point of entry into the European Union for refugees fleeing war and starvation in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  For months, every day, except in the worst of weather, 500-1500 people arrive on the shores of Lesvos in grossly overloaded inflatable boats.  The people that arrive on the shores are presumed lucky.  Many die before they make it.

While there are some large relief organizations there, my understanding after following the situation closely, is that the bulk of help comes from local people, small organized groups and independent international volunteers doing what they can to help in a totally unmanageable situation.  Lack of proper supplies, money and centralized organization means dire circumstances for refugees.  Until world leaders make peace a higher priority than war, we will be holding back the dike with our fingers.

To get an idea of the situation there, I recommend reading Horror, Humanity and Hope: Thoughts From Lesvos On The Global Refugee Crisis.

After a month of volunteer work on Lesvos Island, I’ll fly to Portugal where I’ll be in position to walk part of the Camino Portuguese should I feel up to it.  It’s impossible to anticipate what mental, physical or emotional state I’ll be in at that time so I won’t commit to it just yet.  If I’ve learned anything from long-term travel, it’s that plans change.  And should.  And bring toilet paper everywhere you go.  I learned that too.

I appreciate your patience while I retreated.  And also appreciate your continued readership.  I hope you’ll join me on this next journey.  Bonus for you: No packing and no jet lag!

Munich here I come.

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8 Comments

  1. I’m looking forward to following your new adventure. I’m recently laId off from work and considering my next move. wI’ll see what happens. Meanwhile I will follow your trip!!!

    • Thanks for following along Martha. I hope the lay off turns into a great opportunity. Best to you.

  2. We spent a couple of days in Munich, in March 2015, and we fell in love with the city. I highly recommend a walking tour with InMunich tours. http://www.inmunichtours.com/ We took their city tour which gives a good overall perspective and we took the day trip to Dachau, which was difficult, but so important to witness. We are keen to walk the Camino from Porto to Santiago so looking forward to reading your perspective should you decide to walk. Safe travels.

    • Thank you so much Patti for the suggestions and the good wishes.

  3. Hi Laura,
    Good luck on your travels again
    After London are you coming north?Uk is so much more than the capital.
    Good luck on the Portugese Camino too.I went from Lisbon to Santiago in 2013 and stayed at a couple of great places. Santerem Hostel for one and Casa Fernander on Lugar de Corgo. These places ooze witj the spirit of Camino
    Best Wishes Gerry

    • Thanks Gerry. Happy to hear from you. 🙂 I won’t have much time in the UK this time. My main purpose there will be a visit to a friend. I’ll make a note of those two places — thank you!

  4. Safe travels, Laura. When you get to Lesvos (bless your kind heart for going), please let us know what the refugees need in terms of donations and how we might best support your efforts and alleviate their struggles.

    • Thank you Larry. I intend to do a fundraiser but I want to see where the need is greatest. I know many people want to help but feel at a loss for what to do. I will update for sure.

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