Thursday, February 29, 2024

Women Who Travel Podcast: Ghost Stories in Ireland, Solo Trips to Cuba, and More Listener Dispatches

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JK: She resolved, as you said like, this is toxic, Paris can’t be like this for me, I’m going to come only when I’m happy. I just couldn’t bear to think of her holding that suitcase and just thinking, what do I do now? And the shock of it and the dizzy, sick feeling she must have felt.

LA: After the break, we hear from a listener about physical challenges that they injured the sake of travel. If you have your own stories to share, particularly if you have one about a mother and daughter trip you may have taken, then please email a voice memo of your story to women who travel at

JK: Physical challenges, that’s something that we often have our guests talk about, and we can vicariously go through that experience with them. I think for Tracy going on the Camino trail to Santiago de Compostela, that’s a trip that I know many people have taken. And they’ve taken it in different ways. Some of my friends have cycled it all the way. Some I’ve done the short five-day versions. I’ve done the 30-day version. Most of them have gone in groups. I mean, it’s amazing that she went solo.

Tracy: I’m A 54-year-old mom of two who owns a vitamin supplement company, and who lives in a quiet suburb of New Jersey. Despite being in good health and quite fit and living a relatively peaceful life, I suffer from horrible anxiety and panic attacks. To make matters worse, the last year I was hit with tragedy after tragedy, including the death of my best friend, my usual go to move to feel better is to pick a spot on the globe and go, but I really needed something that would kind of shake me up a bit and give me a slap in the face kind of awakening to get rid of this nagging anxiety and I didn’t want to turn to medication. I decided to hike the Camino de Santiago in Galicia, Spain, for seven days straight, which is 100 kilometers, but to do it in December during the rainiest coldest part of the year, and I decided to do it alone.

But doing a bit of prep work for this adventure, I entered into this bizarre realm of Facebook groups and hiking groups and sites devoted to everything from what to eat on the Camino, what shoes to wear, what bag to carry, what, where to pee. And every bit of the advice that I gleaned failed miserably, uh, in the conditions of December. Um, the shoes and the clothing were all recommended for summer hikes, and forget about bathrooms. Nothing was open, no places to eat, um, a tree or a bush was what you got. And let me tell you, being a 54-year-old woman still having her period, and two layers of pants on, not fun. [laughs].

But I never saw a single soul on the road for two entire days. And when I finally did, we kind of nodded and moved on, perhaps in respect of the silence and the emptiness. I want to just say that the most important part of this trip was that the fear of taking the very first step overwhelmed, but enthralled me. I am not a very religious person. But there’s something quite primordial and sacred about walking alone in the rain and wind that leads down a well-worn path where so many had been before but where no one but you was standing.

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