As I let the idea of a year in Italy percolate, I realized that it’s a great idea – retire from a career that is rewarding in many ways, but also can be difficult. Love the people in my office, but selling businesses and real estate can be challenging. I am ready for some fun!
So, I started talking about this potential plan. I suppose I was testing how I felt about it once I started saying it out loud. Would the voice in my head (better description: gremlin) say “You know you’ll never do it so why even talk about it?” or would I get that calm feeling of “You can do this. You should do this. Why not? Just go make it happen.” You can guess what happened – never really thought it was a bad idea…
In the meantime, two additional thoughts would not leave me alone, both of which came from my dear friend, Vikki.
The first was to volunteer with an organization called IVHQ which stands for International Volunteer HeadQuarters (IVHQ.com). Vikki and her son, Zane, have both done a volunteer stint with IVHQ and they couldn’t say enough good things about the organization. Obviously, they are international, so what if they had a program in Italy? Once I discovered, that, yes, indeed, they have programs in both Rome and Naples. I knew almost immediately that this would be an important part of my plan.
The second thought was to incorporate lots of walking into my year and the El Camino (a pilgrimage across Spain that’s been done since the 8th century!) came to mind. While another dear friend, Joanie and I had researched the El Camino years earlier, Vikki and her sister, did the last bit of it and highly recommended it. I knew right away that the 500 mile El Camino would fit perfectly in my plan.
Like many former runners and like my Grandpa, I need/want to move every day. Walking became an important part of my life after my last marathon in 2017. While walking was always part of my recovery process, I knew that the Deadwood, South Dakota marathon would be my last. So, I started with walking 10,000 steps a day (a little less than 5 miles) and it became a great transition out of running for me. As the goal increased to 20,000 steps/day (30,000 on weekend days), I knew that this would be my new “thing.”
So, the plan is taking shape…