Turns out I’ve moved to England!

So, for those of you who don’t know – I (And soon WE) have moved to the UK! Yup!

I know, I know – I loved Austria, I was working on my writing and Camino Wear, everything was going swimmingly…and it was. However, Boots and I had always planned on moving to the UK at some point and slowly, and very selectively I had been looking for work.

And as timing would have it, right in the middle of our Camino Wear campaign I was invited to an interview for an amazing conservation charity. Turned out to be one of the greatest interviews I’ve ever attended and a few days later I was offered a position as the General Manager of their fundraising subsidiary.

The last month flew by as the Camino Wear campaign wrapped up wonderfully, I packed like a mad person and made the move to the South Coast of England the week before last. Boots and the cat will be joining me in a few months.

And I’ve got to say – I am so happy. Being constantly distracted by the beauty that is Austria, I forgot how much I loved the UK. I love the accents, the little pubs, the quaintness of the smaller villages and the vibrancy of the big cities. Having been born here, although we left when I was 6, it’s the closest I feel to being ‘home’, anywhere in the world. And being by the sea…le sigh…I love the ocean and the mountains in equal measure and although I’ve had to give up the mountains, I have the sea at my doorstep (figuratively from home and literally from work), plus there are palm trees! I love me a good palm tree.

And I’m happy to be back at work. It’s been over a year now since I had a ‘proper’ job and although I had reservations about going back into the workforce I have found a place that suits me to a tee. Not only am I working to raise money for protecting our beautiful, natural world, I’m managing a group of people who are engaged, dedicated, welcoming, and hilarious. I think we’re going to have a grand time.

It’s a little tough at the moment – missing Boots and the cat something fierce, and soon packaging and posting all the perks from the Camino Wear campaign, so it’s extra busy-ness along with learning the ropes of a new job, but I’m at peace and excited about the next chapter of my life.

As for this blog – I’m not quite sure what to do with it now. The whole point of it originally was to update friends and family, to talk about travel, adventure and risk taking, and now…I’m just not sure.

I have a few posts planned for the coming weeks about the Indiegogo experience, and lessons learned living in Austria, but post that…

…what will most likely happen is that I’ll be taking a hiatus as I decided if I should continue it, and if so what it should become.

Thank you all for reading, it’s been a blast to write (although infrequently) and we shall see what happens with this little site in the future.

Mucho love.

(re)Connecting, Crowdfunding and Camino Wear

Hey friends, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, huh? I knew it had been over a month, but when I logged back in and found out that I’d not posted since the beginning of April my jaw dropped.

Oops.

There are two reasons – one purely fun, and one fun but practical!

Purely fun, is that (with the exception of the torrential rain and flooding for more than a week in May) summer has finally arrived! Boots and I have spent most weekends walking up and exploring some of the amazing mountains here. I am in awe of this country. Completely and truly. And feel so incredibly blessed that I am able to spend a piece of my life here. Here are a few faves from recent weeks…

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The fun, but practical reason is that….Boots and I are starting a wee company! Yup! As most of you know, Boots and I met in Spain walking the Camino de Santaigo and that is where we got the inspiration.

What is the idea you ask? It’s called Camino Wear – clothing and accessories that celebrate, and are inspired by Walking, Travel and Adventure.

It’s something that we are really excited and passionate about, but the thing is we just don’t have the cash to start it up yet.

Living in Austria so far has not been the most lucrative. Boots patiently works at his job while my savings diminish (read: disappear) and I try to find piecemeal work online and search for jobs (challenging with my embarrassingly bad German). As much as I gush about living here and walking up mountains and how beautiful it is and ”blah, blah shut-up already’…it’s actually been quite challenging.

But the thing is – we didn’t want NOT having money to stop us from putting Camino Wear into the world, so – we did what any logical self-starting business lacking funds would do and we have launched a campaign on Indiegogo.

And guys – I’m absolutely giddy about it! We’ve only been ‘live’ for four days and we’ve already reached 28% of our goal. We’ve got 27 days left and I’m feeling optimistic that we’ll meet our goal. And if we surpass it? Wow, there’s so much else that we’ll be able to do! More designs, a kick ass online shop, a decent amount of stock that we can actually sell – it would be SO exciting!

It’s also been a lot of work though – from learning how to shoot and edit a video, creating the campaign, trying to personally email every single person I’ve ever met (if you haven’t received an email from me yet, you will!) to reaching out to Camino and travel communities online…I’m learning so much.

But the greatest thing thus far? It’s been emailing everyone. I have a fair number of facebook friends…many of whom I’m in contact with regularly, the majority with whom I’m not, and a large number of people whom I haven’t spoken to in years. The emails I’m sending aren’t epic, they’re mostly just hello’s (plus a link to the Camino campaign)…but for each one I send I get to spend a moment thinking about why I know that individual and what they’ve meant in my life. And there’s something really special about that.

I’d actually recommend it. I wouldn’t recommend trying to email every single one of them in a week – that’s crazy making and sleep hindering…but why not a few every week, or once a month. You could go alphabetically, by time in your life, completely randomly, by who shows up on your facebook feed…whatever works for you – but I’d say give it a shot, reach out and reconnect.

And now – a final word on the Camino Wear campaign. Reaching (and hopefully surpassing) our goal is going to take a LOT more work and I need your help! What can you do? I’m so glad you asked!

  • If you can financially afford it – contribute a bit. One pound? A thousand? Every single bit helps us get closer to realizing our dream. And we have some really great perks for everyone that does.
  • Share the campaign with folks you know – on facebook, on twitter, in conversation, by personally reaching out to the outdoor/travel/cute-clothing-loving people in your life. The combined group of YOU, know a whole lot more people than singular ME.
  • Give me feedback. Do you have any thoughts about what would make the whole thing better? Things you really like, or really don’t? I’d love to know. Message me – through my blog, through facebook, through Indiegogo or via email if you’ve got my address. I’d love to hear from you!

So really – thank you friends! For reading my blog, for checking out the campaign, for being someone (regardless of how brief our interaction) who has made my world a better place! 🙂

Now – go watch our cheesy video and check out the campaign!

A belated update of the last two weeks!

Well, it’s been quite some time since I’ve written, but I have two fabulous excuses; Michelle and Cara!

Michelle is a dear friend from Ireland, whom Boots and I met on the Camino and she came to visit us at the beginning of February. Although only a few days, we had a fabulous time sledding, bar hopping, walking a little of the Camino and catching up!

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A week later, one of my oldest and dearest friends Cara came to visit for a week. We also went sledding, bar hopping and spent a day exploring Kufstein, one of the older towns in Tirol.

Sledding here is unlike any sledding I’ve done before. Growing up in Toronto, Riverdale park and Trinity Belwoods were the places to go, where hills were small enough that you could walk up, and small enough that you would sled down in less than a minute. Not here! In Wörgl, there is a small mountain called the Möslam – on a good day it takes about an hour to walk up, longer with a wooden sled on your back and snow under your feet! At the top is a gorgeous little restaurant serving typical Tirolean food, and most excitingly Krautinger – an alcohol made of turnips that is a specialty of one little valley here in Tirol. It’s absolutely terrible, the smell reminiscent of dirty socks, but it’s a Tirolean delicacy, and apparently great for your health! Despite the smell, it’s a must-try for anyone visiting this region!

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After a filling meal, a beer, and a shot of Krautinger, it’s time to sled down – for a full ten minutes! And that’s going pretty fast! The first time I went with Boots and Michelle, we went down in the dark, headlights being the only thing to light our way. Slightly terrifying, but less so as you can’t actually see the sharp drops as you turn each corner. Cara and I went in the afternoon, and I must say – being able to see how steep the drops were was nerve-racking and the cause of a couple of spills for me, when my turns weren’t quick enough! Amazing, amazing fun though!

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Kufstein was another delight, in particular Romerhof Lane, which looks like something straight out of a Disney movie! 

And the fortress, which is centuries old, complete with towers and creepy underground tunnels!

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Exploration aside though, it was wonderful having these two, dear visitors this month and just spending time together!

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In other news, we got a laundry machine – no more washing things by hand in the bathtub, woohoo! Turns out laundry mats are non-existent where we live…After months of washing things by hand, I will never take laundry machines for granted ever again! We also got a vacuum. Yup, excited about vacuums and laundry machines, who am I becoming!

The other addition to our home was quite by accident. We seem to have been adopted by a cat! She showed up just over a week a go, prancing through our door one evening and settling herself on our couch. She now spends about 20 hours a day here and we are both completely in love with her. We keep saying that we don’t actually have a cat, but the purchasing of cat food, and probably a littler box this week say otherwise….oops!

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And lastly, I enrolled in a German class! I start at the beginning of March – woot!