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Archive for the tag “Inspiration”

Walking the Camino de Santiago-What to Pack

I read at least 12 blog posts about what to pack for walking the Camino de Santiago before we left for Spain. Since I had never walked that far before or for that long, I kept adding to my list with every blog post I read. If the next post added something the last post did not, it went on my list. I knew I couldn’t prepare for everything but I would try and put as much as I could in my pack. Do not make this mistake!

Camino de Santiago details

My husband and I started in Leon, Spain on August 21. We had 3 weeks from start to finish. I booked all our sleeping arrangements ahead of time using the links in the book, Hiking the Camino de Santiago by Anna Dintaman and David Landis. Like everyone, we also bought John Brierly’s book but the book by Dintaman and Landis, in my opinion, was so much better from a practical perspective. The Brierly book is not the go-to book it used to be for most pilgrims today. Buy both and read them, but bring the one I recommend with you to Spain. It is worth every ounce.  The other resource I used to find lodging/alburgues was I only choose places on that had an 8.5 rating or higher. I read the reviews and then I posted my own after a stay. I can honestly say that we did not have a bad experience in any of the places we stayed.  There was something special about each and everyone one of them! If curious, see the lodging list below. Note: We did choose to stay in private accommodations (our own room with a bathroom). Rates were $35-50 EU per night. Some of the accommodations also had bunk bed type accommodations for $9-11 EU per night. In my opinion, if you want to meet more people and have a community experience, stay in the bunk beds.

What to pack for hiking the Camino de Santiago

In my opinion, it doesn’t matter if you are traveling for 2 weeks, 3 weeks or 6 weeks or dscn0559more, the list is the same. My husband and I created this list after hiking while on the train back to Madrid and the airport back to the States. I had read one blog that suggested taking a luxury item and I liked that idea so I took one. The rest of the items are must have items as far as I am concerned. If you have never walked for more than one week carrying everything you need for day to day living, this is the list. Trust it. Bring less if you want to but don’t bring more.

One more thing

We met a wonderful woman the week before we left who insisted on having dinner with us. She was helpful and interesting and had walked the entire 500 miles by herself a few years before. We believed her advice carried much weight and made all the difference for our Camino experience. This is what she told us, ” This is your F—ing Camino. If you need to take a rest day, take one. If you need to take a taxi take one. If you need to take a bus- do it. This is your Camino.”

Besides this list, that will be the best piece of advice I can, will or should give you.

I am including a link to my public Camino de Santiago list on Amazon. I purchased many items on Amazon and at REI. Try to buy your items from REI within a 12 month time from of the end of your trip. I bought my boots at REI and trained in them all summer. After the first day on the Camino I discovered my boots were too small (walking with 17 pounds and in 94-degree heat proved it ). I purchased a new pair of boots the next day and shipped my too-small boots back to the Kansas City. I was able to return the boots to REI for the full purchase price. I recommend spending the $20 for the REI membership. They keep track of your purchases and you get 10% back on all full price retail purchases at the end of the year, plus many extra benefits. We took our backpacks on the plane. Do not check. Take your hiking poles apart, use zip ties to bind them tightly together at top and bottom and put them in your pack first and then pack around them. (F) is Female only

Backpack- I used an Osprey Tempest 40. My husbanDeuter Dueter ACT Lite 40 + 10
Hiking boots
Tevas- I suggest a style for hiking, showering and evening town clothes
Socks-3 pairs
Ex-Officio underwear- 3 pairs
Shorts- 2 pairs
Pants- convertible to shorts
Ex-Officio Skort (F- evening town clothes)
Dry fit short sleeved shirt- 2
Ex Officio short sleeved button down (evening town clothes)
Ex Officio long sleeved button down (evening town clothes)
Long sleeve 3/4 zip lightweight top (I used Nike)
Dry fit jog bras-2 (F)
Cami bra top (F) – to hike, wear during laundry times, as PJ’s
Spandex shorts (F) – wear during laundry times, as PJ’s
Full-brimmed hat (necessary for heat of the Meseta)
Packable down jacket
Waterproof, lightweight, backpack cover
Rain pants/gators
Nail clipper
Small nail file
Phone for photos and or small camera
Outlet converter- 2 (you will lose one)
travel toothbrush
3 in 1 washing bar (shampoo, cream rinse, laundry soap)
Travel razor (F – unless you like hairy legs and armpits. I do not.)
Duct tape around a small pencil
Moleskin – you can buy more compeed in the pharmacy is needed
Medical tape
Small scissors
Cloth bandaids
Gold Bond Friction Defense Stick
8 large diaper pins
4 zip ties to send poles back to U.S.(per person)
Money belt/passport holder
Carbon fiber hiking poles
Camelback Canteen
Lightweight folding back pack Kleenex
Poweraid Single Serve packets
Swimsuit/swim trunks
Ibuprophen (enough for 200-600 mg per day)
Perscription glasses or readers

Sleeping bag (do not need if staying in private rooms)
Towel (do not need if staying in private rooms)

Packing your items we used: (helps organize and slide items in and out of backpack easily)
2 gallon double close zip lock bags
1 gallon double close zip lock bags
Quart size double close zip lock bags

Luxury Item:
Chloe’ perfume (rollerball) I loved wearing perfume after hiking and a shower

You can do without but we did not:
Camera with NFC Technology

Our Lodging on the Camino de Santiago:

Leon Hostel- Ancha 8, León, León, Spain, 24003
Hotel Rural-Calle Sierra Pambley, 40, 24286 Hospital de Órbigo, León, Spain
Hostel La Senda- Calle Real, 27, 24722 Rabanal del Camino, León, Spain
Hostal el Palacio-19, Molinaseca, 24413, España
Hostel Burbia-C/ Fuente Cubero, 13, 24500 Villafranca del Bierzo, León, León, Spain
Casa de Lucas- Fonfria, 25, Fonfria, Spain, 27671
Pension-Albergue Lemos- Avenida de Castilla 24, Triacastela, España, 27630
Hotel Casa de Díaz- Lugar de Vilachá, 2, Gorolfe, Spain, 27635
Pensión La Estación- Matías López, 106, 2º piso, Sarria, España, 27600
A Fontana de Luxo, Fontedeagra n2 Portomarin, Puertomarin, España, 27170
San Marcos Albugue-Travesía da Igrexa, s/n, 27200 Palas de Rei, Lugo, Spain
Casa Teodora- Calle de Lugo 38 15810 Arzúa, A Coruña, Spain
Pensión Codesal- Calle Codesal, 17, O Pedrouzo, España, 15821
PR Plaza de Galicia- Hórreo, 22 4a planta, Santiago de Compostela, Coruña, A, Spain, 15702
Capitol Boutique Hotel- Concepción Arenal, 7, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 15702
Hotel Rústico Prado da Viña- Camino Barcia s/n, Fisterra, Spain, 15155
Emperador- Gran Vía, 53, Madrid, 01.Centro, Spain, 28013

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. Buen Camino!


8 Keys to Getting it Right: Respect, Responsibility, Reputation

The world is an interesting place. As I sit down to write, there is talk of Nuclear weapons. My 10 year old is asking if we are going to be bombed. Of course, as a parent you want to calm their nerves, say the right thing, and inside you are hoping that what you are telling them will in fact, be the truth. The thing is, we don’t know the future. We don’t know what will happen because I cannot, they cannot, you cannot, control events like that.

RESPECT how we spell respect!So what can we control? We can try and control the way the world sees us, judges us, and interacts with us by teaching our children the importance of the Three R’s: respect, responsibility and reputation. In my opinion, we can consciously choose to help guide them in showing respect to others, taking responsibility for their actions- or being a responsible member of the family and making sure that their actions do not damage their reputation (or ours as their parents) in the process.

As adults, we see, better than our children do, that the road they are on based on the decisions and the actions they are making, may lead them. We can’t, with any certainty, predict what North Korea may or may not do, but we can see, based on what we have observed in and around our own lives, what may happen to our kids.

8 Keys to getting it rightThis is what I usually share with my kids. “Listen, do I know what may or may not happen if you do “this”? Absolutely not. But based on my life so far on the planet, I see that this or this or that may happen. You can continue to do this and you may get away with it. It may not hurt you or anyone else in the future. Or it might. Is that a chance you are willing to take? I am not here to tell you what to do, but I do feel like I need to share with you some of the outcomes as I see them.”

What I do know about (my) teenagers is this: they want as much control over their lives as they can get. They don’t want adults telling them what to do. If I present my insights as opinions and not fact, then they can sift through what I am saying and view it respectfully. I don’t tell them what choice to make; I simply offer outcomes as I see them. My husband and I want our kids to learn and practice the Three R’s. We point out the times when they are not being respectful, when they are given responsibility and how they show they have earned it and when their reputation is on the line. Blair likes to say that when you are responsible with the small things you will be given bigger things to be responsible for. For example, you teach your son about the value of taking care of his bike. You teach him to put it away, to wash it and not leave it in the driveway to get run over by the family car. When the time comes, he will know what it means to take care of a car. If they respect your authority as a parent, your rules and guidelines, they will know what it means to respect a manager or a boss a girlfriend or a husband. They will also recognize when others are disrespecting them (big bonus). If we teach them to make decisions and act according to their values, to protect their personal reputation as they grow up, they will know what it takes to build and protect a professional reputation as well.

Your reputationIf we have any chance is this life, with as much as we can’t control, it will be because our kids learn how to respect others, take responsibility and protect their reputation in the world. In my opinion, The Three R’s are just as important as all the other keys to getting it right. When our kids practice them with consistency, we know we’ve given them a huge gift. We’ve also given their teachers, coaches, and bosses and spouse a gift as well. Don’t you think?

1. Attitude is everything
2. Do the right thing
3. Do more than you are asked
4. Expectations = disappointment
5. Don’t make excuses
6. Everything matters
7. The 3 R’s: respect, responsibility, reputation
8. Have a Spiritual Practice

Catherine Kolkoski on Google+

8 Keys to Getting it Right- Do More Than You’re Asked

I am now 3 posts into my series on the 8 Keys to Getting it Right. If you are so inclined I invite you to go back to the first and second blog to read them. These keys are the values that my husband and I are purposefully trying to instill in our three wonderful children (Happy Birthday Brielle on Monday!) As anyone with kids can attest, all you can do is try. In my opinion, my failure as a parent comes when I don’t try, when I don’t communicate and I don’t take the lead as a parent. Hey, I know it’s not easy. I know that there are days when they don’t listen to my husband and me. But that does not stop me from being the parent. I am still the parent right? I mean, if you live in the house that we pay the mortgage on, drive a car that we make payments on, and eat in our kitchen- then check- I am still the parent and as long as you are my child then I will do my best to make sure you know what is important to me.

Do more than you're asked Sliding by. Doing the bare minimum. Are these the actions or values of any successful person you know? Is this the goal when your coach or your teacher or your boss asks you to complete a task? If so, then a life of being ordinary and average may well be your destiny. When our kids leave the house to go to their jobs (one works for FedEx and one for Cold Stone Ice Cream) the last thing my husband says is, “do more than you’re asked.” He is telling them to do more than people expect. Surprise everyone around you. Give it your all and leave nothing on the table. Amaze them and let them know that you are someone that needs to be kept around. When you do more than you’re asked you become more valuable than the next person. The people in charge will look to you as a valuable member of the organization or team or class. It goes to your attitude. It goes to your ability to achieve success, whatever success may mean to you. See, I am an options girl. I like to have lots of choices. I like to ensure that more often than not there is a range of possibilities. When you do more than you are asked, you open yourself up for more opportunities, more choices, and the possibility that you will get what you want in your life.

I think anyone can do what is asked. But the extra-ordinary do more. They take the initiative to make more out of any situation and thus become more valuable, less replaceable in their spaces in life. Will their teachers and bosses and coaches always notice? No. What matters just as much is what you do even when you don’t get the recognition and the pats on the back. Doing more than you’re asked is about personal ethics and making purposeful decisions to be that better player, that better student or better employee. No matter who notices or applauds.

In my opinion, doing more than you’re asked may get you more than you can possibly imagine.

8 Keys to Getting it Right:

  1. Attitude is everything
  2. Do the right thing
  3. Do more than you are asked
  4. Expectations = disappointment
  5. Don’t make excuses
  6. Everything matters
  7. The 3 R’s: respect, responsibility, reputation
  8. Have a Spiritual Practice

Catherine Kolkoski on Google+

London Calling: Olympic Inspiration

I like watching the Olympics with my kids. The Olympics are full of people with amazing stories. Stories of hopes and goals and dreams come true. From what I have seen they are people who usually knew, from an early age, that they were meant for something bigger. Most were encouraged by family and friends. When my kids were very young we turned off the TV for an entire year- no TV for 365 days and nights. That was an amazing year as my kids learned how to be creative. They did so many other things with their time and because of this opportunity they learned to create, to entertain themselves, to play together and to just- be. We turned our TV off for an entire year except for 10 days: when the Summer Olympics were on. We watched the games every day and then during the commercials the kids would run outside and pretend they were Olympic Athletes. They’d see how far they could throw a stick – the javelin or how fast could they run across the driveway- the 50 meter dash. They were young and carefree and creative. (Man, I would love to turn the “boob tube” off for another year. )

I want to watch the Olympics with my kids again because I want them to see what is possible. I want them to hear the interviews with athletes, to see what hope sounds like, what hope looks like. I want them to hear someone their own age talk about what happens when you decide to do something and then set your heart and mind and body to accomplish it. What sacrifices you have to make, what dedication you have to have, what obstacles you have to overcome. And then what success and triumph and glory looks like.

Lately,  I’ve been studying a lot about having dreams and setting and achieving goals. The one consistent  message  I have heard is this: Do not give up. Never give up. Never quit. Don’t stop.

In my opinion, every Olympic Athlete that is in London these next 10 days knows this- has lived this. Watching the Olympics, I am hoping my kids hear that message as well. That no matter what you want, if you want it badly enough, if you commit to it with all your heart and mind and body, and never give up, you can do whatever you want. You can be whoever you want. Isn’t that part of what is meant by “The Olympic Spirit”?

That inspires me.

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