Many of us have extraordinary tales of travel. From right here in the United States to the far corners of the world, ordinary women are doing extraordinary things and we at Title Nine want to hear about it! Tell us your tall tales of adventure, the trials and tribulations of moving your own mountain, how you’re influencing others and inspiring us all to get up off the couch and get active either near or far. If your story is picked, we’ll shout it from the mountain top or really, we’ll publish it here on Timeout. So drop us a line at email@example.com and tell us your extraordinary tale.
For our next Extraordinary Adventure, we’ll be getting medieval in northern Spain. The Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James in English) is a 1,200-year-old pilgrimage route that stretches 500 miles across mountains and other rugged terrain to end up in the town of Santiago de Compostela. Marcia Shaver, an artist from Redmond Washington, made the trek in 2008—all 1,299,851 steps of it—and is planning a second, longer, and more arduous trip in a few days.
“When I was 54 years old and my family was raised, I was at a crossroads in my life and wanted to have an epic adventure,” says Marcia. She and a friend decided to tackle the Camino, a route that few Americans have travelled. “Religion had virtually no part in my decision to go, but once immersed in the Camino, no one was more surprised than I was at how great a role spirituality and reflection played in our journey.”
But before her spirit can soar, Marcia has to make sure her body can handle it. “Training on the trail is a bad idea,” she notes, which is why she’s been heading to the gym at least three times a week in preparation for this trip. Her training routine includes 20 or 30 minutes on the elliptical or the climber, followed by a cocktail of weights, lunges, and step-ups. “The better shape you are in, the more fun you will have. You will be able to appreciate the wildflowers and the sunrises, and somewhere along the way you realize that you should have done this years ago because you feel so good.”
And that sort of inspiration feeds nicely into her artistic work and the many drawings she does during her hikes. “As an artist, the landscape is what really moves me. And when you’re out there walking in it day after day, you’re so immersed.” That sort of focus and serenity seems to carry a number of deeper lessons with it as well. “On the Camino, we learned that want and need are two vastly different things. We took joy in the simple things and felt immensely grateful for everything we received, however humble. It was one of the most compelling experiences of my life… and it enables me to view my life forever differently.”
We at Title Nine were pretty damn impressed by Marcia, and we expect another helping of intensity and insight from her upcoming adventure. So check back here often: Marcia will be tracking down whatever Internet cafes she can find in the towns she passes through so she can blog all about it. While you wait for her first post, you might want to check out the amazing book of texts and images that resulted from her last trip, The Artist’s Journey: The Perfumed Pilgrim Tackles the Camino de Santiago.