Friday Fitness Update!

This week was rather interesting for me…mostly because I live in Northern California and loved ones were once again affected by the fires. But that’s another story. Today I wanted to share some changes that happened this week in terms of my fitness journey. Exciting changes were made this week to my diet and exercise regimen! First and foremost, I decided to incorporate more paleo inspired meals into my diet. If you want to see some recipes I tried, stay tuned! I also created a workout regimen that will pair nicely with devoting more time to riding (especially when the smoke clears up), so that I won’t be doing 13 hours days, 5 days a week. All in all, it was pretty productive.

I wasn’t able to work out outdoors because of the terrible smoke, which meant riding was thrown out the window. I’m not going to risk my horse’s lungs so that I can keep her fit, so she’s had the whole week off. Not to mention the smoke hurts my lungs and head! But that also means she (and I) are going stir crazy over here.

My workouts consisted mostly of my 5 am walks with my pup, followed by short bodyweight workouts targeting my arms, abs, and legs. These spurts of fitness helped my brain, but also kept me fit enough! This routine will come in handy when it’s clear outside because I won’t be worried about getting enough steps or heading to the gym. It will also keep my muscles toned enough throughout the winter without me completely throwing my routine to the side.

My current plan is to have 2 bodyweight workout days, 2 yoga days, and 1 cardio/plyometric day. I’m being rather flexible with my schedule, of course, to accommodate riding. That should always be our first priority!

I also decided to make a change with my diet. Nutrition has really piqued my interest in the past couple of years, mostly because I find it so fascinating. It’s so cool to try foods and see their effects! For instance, if I don’t have enough lean protein in a day, I’m so hungry and lethargic the whole day. Anywho, I decided to incorporate more Paleo-centric meals into my diet. I’m not going to put myself in a category, because I love pizza and burritos and rice, but I’m making an effort to eat “clean.”

For those interested, a Paleo diet consists mostly of fruits, veggies, protein (like meat, nuts, and other plant based proteins), while leaving legumes, wheat, and grains in the dust.. The idea is to go back to our “roots,” like from a long, long time ago (Paleolithic era). I have noticed this week that most paleo meals I eat leave me less bloated and feeling great!

If you’re interested in what I’m eating, stay tuned!

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So this was one of the first meals I made and really experimented with the no grains idea. Before this week, it honestly felt weird to have no grains incorporated with a dinner meal. But this was surprisingly amazing! It’s not full Paleo, but incorporates most of the practices.

Anywho, I made a stir-fry bowl but subsituted rice for cauliflower rice. This meal also has roasted chicken, homemade teriyaki sauce, carrots, mushrooms, sweet potato, and broccoli. I also had flavored sparkling water because I was really in the mood for a beer, but didn’t want the alcohol.

The next night was a late night for me. I had errands to run and didn’t have time to eat dinner until 8 pm! So I needed to whip something up quickly. I aimed to go for a protein-packed salad. Here is a spinach arugula salad with tuna, sautéed veggies, tomato, and lemon juice. Okay, this was good. I know its a random assortment of things, but it all worked so well together! If you ever need to make something healthy, quick, and delicious, I would definitely recommend a salad like this one.

Paleo inspired meals

 

Another meal, and personally my favorite, was a pesto pasta dish. However, instead of pasta, it was spaghetti squash! This meal was almost my favorite ever (pesto tortellini with real pasta is probs my favorite). I used turkey meatballs, mushrooms, onions, and spaghetti squash to whip up this dinner. If you’re hesitant to try spaghetti squash, I would say go for it. The most annoying part of this squash is cutting it in half, but everything else is amazing! You san just put some garlic powder, salt and pepper on each half, throw it in the microwave for 10 minutes, and you’re good to go!

pesto pasta paleo one stride

 

So there you have it! I made some decent changes in my fitness regimen but let’s hope I stick to it. I hope everyone is having a fun and adventurous week! I’m excited because tomorrow I get to ride yet another new horse (riding other people’s horses is literally one of my favorite things ever).

Do you think you would ever try a diet similar to Paleo? If so, what are your thoughts?

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My Go To Meals

 

Last week I shared my eating and exercise diary. I mentioned that I made a lot of meals ahead of time — which has been a drastic game changer. I used to think that meal prepping was for over-achievers and who wouldn’t want an excuse to eat out. But when you have to start paying for all those meals, both physically and financially, bringing your lunch to work is a life-saver.

My first meal that I swear is my ride or die is fajitas. These babies are well balanced in terms of protein, fats, and carbs – but also jam packed with flavor. My fajitas are usually full of red and yellow bell pepper, some onion, black beans, and chicken. We also use corn tortillas, or some kind of low carb tortilla. Another great thing about this meal is that its FAST to make. I can whip this up in like 15 minutes (if the chicken isn’t frozen). This is a perfect weeknight dinner, or a fast meal prep item.

I am also a big fan of rice bowls. Mixing veggies, rice, meat (or some type of protein if meat isn’t your thing), and sauce is my  bread and butter for meal prep lunches. This week I made a couple different bowls —

  1. Quinoa with broccoli, cauliflower, chicken, zucchini, and garbanzo beans in a lemon tahini sauce.
  2. Rice with sweet potato, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms with mustard and sriracha.

One of the best things about bowls is that you can play with the spices and veggies, but nothing ever tastes bad together. I’ve tried so many combinations and have yet to encounter a problem.

Want to give it a try? Just cook some rice, preheat your oven to 400, and bake some veggies. It’s really that simple!

Another meal I make probably once a week would be stir fry or an Asian recipe. To make stir fry, I usually take veggies like bell pepper, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, and cabbage with some meat and noodles. If I remember to by rice noodles, I will use those, otherwise we’re cheap and just use spaghetti noodles. I usually make my own sauce with soy sauce, flour, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and water. There are tons of stir fry recipes out there if you want to look try something nicer.

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For breakfast, I just rotate a couple options. I will make a protein smoothie (protein powder, fruit, and almond milk), overnight oats, greek yogurt with berries and PB, or an egg scramble.

How do I make these meals ahead of time? Lots of Tupperware. I’ll grill probably 6 chicken breasts, cut up my veggies, make rice, and plate my lunches so all I have to do is grab and go. You can get fancy with meal prepping if you want (Pinterest is a great resource) or just stick to protein, carbs, and fats. I know a lot of people who make the same thing for lunch. Everyday. I can’t live like that, but people like that are out there!

In the end, meal prepping helps you save money. Money you can use for horse shows!

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Eating and Exercising Diary

 

So I thought I would try something new on this blog today. For the past year or so, I’ve been really driven on eating well and exercising. Maybe because Raven has been lame, or because I was really tired of seeing my belly pooch. Either way, nutrition and fitness have become a constant in my life. And if I’m being honest, they have also helped my riding exponentially! I’m not sure if you’re interested in this kind of stuff, but if you are, I’d love to share my experience and latest updates.

To preface this post, I have always been one of those girls who doesn’t believe in dieting. If I don’t get my cookies, burgers, pasta, burritos, and fancy lattes, why even bother? I’ve seen all of those fad diets and eating regimens, but I don’t think I could ever pull it off. I enjoy food way too much. And you’ll see soon what I’m talking about. Trust me, I drink beer, wine, and eat tacos regularly.

Without further ado, here’s what I ate and worked out this week. I don’t usually keep a food diary, but I’ve been doing so once in awhile because I find it interesting to see what I eat. I like to keep track of my macronutrients every so often to understand what I’m putting in my body and how food affects it.

M T W TH F
Workout Stretch! I was so tired from Sunday. Day off for Ms. Raven! Arms and running. I was in the gym for about 30 minutes because I was still so sore from Sunday. Rode later in the day. Nothing! Wasn’t feeling it, so I only rode my horse and stretched. Rode two horses and ran a mile. REST day for both of us! I walked the dog and then walked Raven.
Food B: Greek yogurt, PB, fruit, granola
L: Turkey sausage with veggies
D: Pesto pasta with veggies, pumpkin beer
B: pumpkin protein smoothie, PB toast
Snack: Lara bar
L: Chicken and veggies
D: Fajitas
B: Overnight oats w/ fruit
Snack: Hardboiled eggs
L: Chicken and veggies
D: White wine & chicken
B: pumpkin protein smoothie
Snack: breakfast tacos
L: Salad with chicken
D: Greek yogurt bowl
B: Greek yogurt bowl
S: hardboiled egg
L: CHicken and broccoli
D: Meatloaf and veggies with wine

I started changing what I eat when my body got older and I couldn’t eat the same things as I did when I was younger. I know I’m only in my 20s, but I seriously can’t eat fast food without feeling like I’m going to die. If I have greasy bacon with egg and cheese, you better believe I feel bloated for the rest of the day. The strongest motivator I had was seeing the changes when I was eating better. Not only was I losing fat, but I was feeling more energetic and happy. If you’re thinking about making changes to your diet, I strongly recommend it!

If you want some tips and best practices I’ve learned along the way, let me know! I love to advocate rider fitness so that our bodies do just as well as our horses’.

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Finding Time for Horses

I know I’m not the only one on Earth that juggles a full-time job, owning and riding horses regularly, a relationships, and somehow finding time for friends. With this many things on my plate, I struggle to find motivation to do all these things. Usually, my sanity is what suffers while I’m trying to find time to adult, but all I want to do is ride my horse.

When I  feel overworked, sometimes my motivation decreases. I stumbled upon this post that I wrote a bit ago (am I the only one that likes to read what I’ve written just to see where I’ve been?) and it definitely stimulated my passion again. All I’m trying to say is that we have very busy lives. While I would absolutely love to go back to when I was in high school, where I could spend 4 hours at the barn everyday, that’s just not in the cards. And while this gets me down more days than I can count, it’s important to remember why I do this. Why I give up so much of my time to care for this animal. Why I sacrifice spending time with people I love to hang out with horses I love. Why I work so hard so that I can afford board. Why I ride.

I think this ideas applies to many things. I ride my horse 6 days a week not just because I’ve been doing it for so long, but I don’t feel like myself when I’m not riding.  Because I know this, I wake up at 5 am every single morning so that I can workout, ride, work, hang out with my boyfriend, do all the things I need to do in a day. I prioritize my day with what really matters. I make sacrifices (like sleep) to do what I love. I’m disciplined with my time and I know what happens when I’m not. I make it happen, even if I feel unmotivated or under-utilized. I go to work to make my money so that I can ride my horse and go on cool trips. But if that’s the case, why do I work? Why do I commit to an 8 hour day, 5 days a week, if it’s only standing in the way from my true passion?

To be honest, I have no clue. Other than money, I have no idea why I spend 40 hours a week to work if it’s not something I love. Which brings me to my next point.

If you don’t like it, change it. You are in control of your own life.

Big Sur & San Luis Obispo

A couple of weeks ago I returned to my college town for a wedding. Since SLO is hard to get to wherever you live, we decided to make a day of it and go down the PCH from Monterey to SLO. Partly because why not, but also because I’ve never done it before! It’s crazy to believe that a native Californian has never been through the winding cliffs of Monterey County.

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While I feared for my life approximately 10 times, it was stunning! If you have a spare hour or two and you’re in the area, I definitely recommend checking it out. I would love to spend a couple days backpacking through Big Sur, but driving through it is amazing too.

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If you’re going to go all the way to San Luis Obispo, there are some stops that you should hands down take. The first is the beautiful Harmony Cellars! This winery pretty much makes up the entire town of Harmony, and it very well should. This place is gorgeous, makes excellent wine, and has the best gift shop!

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And then when you’re good and buzzed, head over to the Brown Butter Cookie Company to stuff your face full of amazing and addicting cookies. If you walk away from this cookie shop without spending at least $20 on cookies, your restraint is too damn high.

Then finally, if you stay in Morro Bay (or at least pass through it), head over to Taco Temple for lunch. They make the best Mexican food in town, but their portions are ginormous. I would recommend bringing a friend or two to devour just one plate!

Any who, hope this sparks some travel inspiration! I love how California gives you a wide variety of destinations. You can be in the mountains, at the beach, or in the valley in just a couple hours’ time. It’s great!

Monday Thoughts: Ahh! Anxiety!

I have a lot on my plate. Do ever get that feeling that you just have so much to do? Or even worse, when you’re trying to relax, you feel bogged down about everything you should be doing and then you get anxious, but your brain is also telling you to relax and enjoy some self-care time?

If you got anxious just reading that sentence, you are not alone. This past weekend, I felt like this at least 3 times a day. All I wanted to do was shop online, read, watch netflix, ride, and other relaxing activities. I could only think about what I should be working on, like doing research on where to live next, what job to have next, posting on this blog, doing a workout, and the list could go on.

Right now, I am in a full-time job, I post on this blog as much as I can, I have a little consulting business on the side, I ride my horse 5 times a week, I workout 5 times a week, and I try to have some downtime. Ok, I’m out of breath writing that sentence. But the point I’m trying to make is that I feel like I ALWAYS have a lot on my plate. I also know I am not alone! I’m sure everyone and their mother has a lot on their plate, and feels constantly overwhelmed by it.

Because I know I’m not alone, I wanted to share a big tip I have to put my anxieties aside. Not that I’m procrastinating (because that it totally something I do and I’m ashamed of it), but this tip helps me focus on one thing at a time. Okay, ready for it?

Write it down. Write everything down.

I know this seems overly simple, but writing down everything you have to get done (or want to do) significantly helps the situation. Often, I create an overwhelming sensation in my head just because I’m thinking about everything that needs to be done. Then, I list everything out, and I always feel better. I can visually see all that I have to do, and I realize its completely possible.

So, next time you’re feeling anxious, I challenge you to write it down. Create a to-do list. Open the notes on your phone and go to town. I think our brains enjoy seeing a visual representation of all that we have to do. My anxiety melts away; hopefully yours will to.

 

And as always, after you write everything down, remember to take things one stride at a time 🙂

 

Hello, 2018!

I hope everyone is crushing their New Year’s goals so far! It seems that I’m asking a lot of myself this year, so planning my goals is a must right now.  My desk has been cluttered with planners, lists, and coffee basically everyday since the New Year.2018 plannin.jpg

And while I would love this post to be solely about planning (because boy, do I LOVE planning!), I wanted to give y’all an update on Raven. A while ago, I wrote about the hard decision to retire Raven. If you want to know the details, see this post. Turns out, she was sound a mere 3 weeks after the trip to the vet. Weird, right? One moment I hear that she needs to be retired and the next is filled with all of these hopeful thoughts about potentially riding her.

Over the summer, I started working her slowly, and she was sound…up until I moved her to Northern California. Then she got really lame. I spent a lot of time and money in order to have her back to normal, and finally, it’s paid off. She’s sound! What am I going to do with that? Not sure yet…

Why am I telling you this? Because frankly, there’s a lot to take from this experience. First and foremost, sometimes people tell you what you don’t want to hear. When that happens, you need to make the decision if you want to accept defeat and become passive, or if you want to take matters into your own hands and fight. Naturally, I decided to do whatever I could to make sure Raven will be forever happy and healthy. Raven will never be the same, and I might not ever jump her again, but at least I know she will have a good, sound life.

Another important thing I gained from this experience is perspective. Back in April, when I first found this out, I was devastated. I could barely make it to class without puffy eyes from crying so hard. My world seemed to cave in around me, and I couldn’t focus on anything other than Raven. But then time went on, and I felt better. She could be lame; she could be sound; but either way, we’ll get through it.

Finally, it’s also important to accept change. I always think that will be easy, but after some self reflecting, I realize that I’m horrible at change. So yeah, Raven and I might never compete again. I took this about as hard as anyone would. I don’t want to give up my girl! I don’t want to be that crazy lady with 6 horses because I could never part with them. But at the same time, I feel like Raven is part of who I am. How could I give her up? Obviously, this is a huge change for me! But, to look at the bright side, this gives me an opportunity to find another competition mount! So whatever happens, change is always going to be there, and it’s (for the most part), good.

And about 9 months later, she’s sound. Doctor’s orders have us on another 60 day lay-up, but I’m not letting this get me down. At the end of the day, she’s healthy, she’s sound, and we’ll get through this.

I guess what I’m saying is that it’s important to have perspective in your life. Listen to others, but also listen to yourself. You are the one that is living your life, so you should have say in how you live it.

But it’s always remember it’s good to take things one stride at a time!

 

Alsooo here’s a picture of Raven from today because she’s just so darn cute 🙂

raeeee

Exercises to Improve Your Riding (Without Riding)

It’s no-stirrup November! But if you’re like me, and have a horse that can’t do more than 5 minutes of trot, you might need more to strengthen your legs. Cue my expertise with crossing training! Utilizing multiple sports to create an exercise regimen honestly helps your riding and you will only benefit.

It all started 10 years ago. When I was in high school, I wasn’t exactly in the best shape. I wasn’t overweight, but I had a nice layer of fat in all of the places where I didn’t want it. Riding made me feel fit, but not when it counted. Whenever my trainer would make me do a no-stirrups lesson, I would always be exhausted after. After the lesson, I would always ask her how to improve my riding and get stronger. Her response, as almost any trainer says, was to keep riding and it will get better.

This didn’t sit well with me. I know where she was coming from. As a trainer, you easily have 4 horses to ride each day. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t have multiple horses to practice with and I cannot get excited about doing no-stirrups for 30 minutes once a week. I need something more. So, in college, I decided to make myself a nice fitness regimen. Cross-training, or using multiple disciplines to obtain fitness, was (and still is) heavily featured in that regimen.

Once I started working out regularly, while riding as often as I can, and sometimes dropping my stirrups because I know how important that is, I noticed a huge difference. And because I want everyone to be the best rider they can be, I thought I would share some exercises I do to improve my riding.

  • Plank. I know, literally everyone shares this exercise as a must for horse people. But there is a reason! Doing plank strengthens your whole core and works your back muscles. This exercise works all of the muscles that you use while riding…and helps you tone! To do this exercise, simply start on your hands and knees, then move to either your forearms and toes, or your palms and toes. There are also multiple variations of plank that you can do it you want to challenge yourself, or if you just get really bored while doing the plank. Try rocking your waist side to side, or moving your hips up and down to work your core. If you want to work your arms more, go from your forearms to your palms, then back to your forearms. If you want to tone your legs, try balancing on only one foot and use the other leg to pulse in the air, or simply hold it up. There are many variations of plank, and they all work wonders for your riding.
This is the typical stance of the plank position.
  • Yoga. While this isn’t exactly a workout exercise, doing some form of yoga works wonders. A couple of years ago, I HATED the thought of doing yoga. I found it completely useless and boring. Since then, I’ve converted and would proudly consider myself a yogi. I love that yoga not only works your body, but is also good for your mental health. On top of that, it stretches your body in ways that you never knew you needed to do, strengthens your balance, and creates muscles that will only help you while riding. If you want to learn more about yoga, or even try it, I recommend finding a yoga studio close to you or using an app for guided practice. I personally use Gaiam Yoga Studio for yoga and I love it! This app has tons of options for all levels, as well as targeting areas like relieving back pain (which we know all riders have). Before you totally hate on yoga, honestly try one of the many different styles of it. You might end up loving it!
  • Squats and lunges. We all know to never skip leg day. While our legs will forever be strong due to the fact that we hold onto the horse with our legs, its also important to keep that strength by toning other areas of muscle that us riders don’t use all of the time. Walking lunges, squats, sumo squats, jumping lunges, or any exercise working your legs will only help you in the saddle.

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  • Hiking. Now onto my second favorite sport! While finishing a course is my one true love, summiting a peak also gives you the most badass feeling. Hiking is great cardio, but also works your legs like nobody’s business. Plus hiking will give you great views of nature! So log on to all trails or another hiking app to see what hikes you can do in your area.Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
  • Running. This is another exercise that is good, but is probably one that almost no one wants to do. First, let me explain that there are two types of cardio: weight bearing, and non-weight bearing. Riding is non-weight bearing, since we are not “bearing the weight” of gravity while we’re working out. This is good cardio, but in order for you to properly work your heart in a healthy way, weight bearing cardio should be considered. I took up running because I wanted to stay heart-healthy, but I didn’t have the time to walk 3 miles a day. Running works for me because I can knock out a couple of miles, while working up a sweat, and staying fit.
  • Arms and Back. This area of the body is crucial for riding. While I usually knock out some arm exercises by lifting hay bales, exercises in the weight room can also do the trick. I’ve found that focusing on triceps, lats, forearms, delts, and pecs help with riding. They all strengthen your arms, while keeping your back strong so that you can maintain a good posture.

I know these exercises basically target all the muscles in your body, but if you want more specific workouts, I am happy to share what I do at the gym and for other workouts. What do you do to stay fit for riding (besides riding)?

And if this is the start of your journey towards a more active lifestyle, remember to just take it one stride at a time 🙂

Is Social Media Hindering Our Success?

 

This video is really different from what I normally post, but it resonated with me. I encourage as many people as possible to listen to this video because it is an eye-opener. No matter what, no matter what, if you feel like what he is describing, remember that you can overcome this. You can persevere, grow your confidence, and be the person you want to be. You can be successful, especially if you take it just one stride at a time 🙂

Do you think the speaker is onto something? Let me know in the comments!

Top Sights Along the Camino Portuguese

Become a trueadventurer and

Hellooooo, ladies and lads! It’s been awhile, and mostly due to the fact that I went to SPAIN! (and Portugal obviously since this blog post is about the Camino Portugues…)

But before I share my lovely experiences about Spain, the Camino, and Santiago, I wanted to get something out of the way first. I landed in Spain 1 hour before the terrorist attack happened. When all was said and done, I ended up less than a mile away from La Rambla when it happened. I know, I know, I know, the terrorist attack in Barcelona was absolutely horrific. My heart goes out to all of those immediately affected. But the bright side is the lovely Catalans, and the rest of the world for that matter, stayed strong through it all. I am so relieved that everyone is continuing on in their life; it is truly heartwarming and just goes to show this world is also full of love and resilience.

Ok, now the fun stuff! So we spent a couple of days in Barcelona doing the touristy things like La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, El Born, you know, the places that all of the travel sites say you have to go to. Then we took a flight over to the wonderful Portugal!

Porto was an absolute dream. I would definitely put this gorgeous lake town on your to-do list of visiting the world. Before this trip, I had no desire to travel to Portugal, but I am glad I decided to go. The Portuguese are the sweetest, the views are incredible, and the port is perfect!

Unfortunately, we only had half a day in Porto before we were on our next adventure. There are plenty of sites talking about all the things to do here, but if you only have an afternoon, definitely visit the places I went to! Aside from just walking around town, it is worth it to see the Porto train station, the Douro, and walk across the infamous Dom Luis bridge. The bridge is up HIGH, but it was absolutely worth it to cross.

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Another great thing to do in Porto is to taste the wine! We only had a bit of port, but we also had some great sangria alongside the river. The restaurants here are chock full of great seafood and drinks. They also offer great views of the river!

After our lovely evening in Porto, it was off to the camino! I think we did a total of 60 miles on our trip, starting with the Camino Portugues. Our first leg was from just outside of Porto to Ponte de Lima, Portugual.

Even though we had all day to walk 10 miles, we needed it! The weather chose to be around 95°F when we were walking, so it was pretty exhausting. If I could do this trip over, I would definitely recommend hiking the camino in a month other than August. The heat made it unbearable at times.

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Once we finally made it to Ponte de Lima, we were tired and overheated. I wish we had more time to explore this cute river town. From what we did explore, I can tell you right now that the seafood is amazing! In fact, this whole trip had amazing seafood. Another thing about Ponte de Lima was the history along with it. There were so many old buildings to explore. We were also there during their market day and it took up almost two whole streets! The giant market would have been fun to explore, but we were on a schedule. My takeaway from the first day was to enjoy the walk, but also do this hike at a different time of the summer and to leave more time to explore bigger towns like Porto and Ponte de Lima. This was a common thing for me, as I wish we had more time to explore Santiago, but more on that later.

IMG_3727Before we moved from Portugal to Spain, we gained some elevation to this gorgeous mountain. At the top, we overlooked this valley full of trees and it was well worth the climb. Labruja mountain is on the way of St. James, so it isn’t hard to find if you follow the camino Portugues.

After Ponte de Lima, can you guess what we did? If you thought, more walking, then you are right! We walked, and walked, and walked until we were in Spain!

If you do the Camino, even though this kind of goes without saying, but definitely bring nice shoes to walk and hike in. If I didn’t have my trail runners on this trip, I would have been in serious pain on the last couple of days.

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But on the bright side, the what we saw along the way of our trip was breathtaking! When hiking the Camino, its easy to get in the groove of just walking to get your miles in, but it’s also important to take time and appreciate the view. For me, walking around the little towns in Portugal and Spain was truly amazing. California, and most of the US for that matter, doesn’t really have anything like Portugal. There are no cobblestone streets or trellised vineyards. These two countries had so much to offer and I’m so thankful to travel them.

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Our next stop, after Portugal, was Galicia in Spain. We stayed in castle that was converted to a hotel. It was so fun to explore the ins and outs of the castle. During our stay, which was only a day, we also explored the surrounding islands. Taking a break from walking the camino to explore nearby beaches and other attractions was worth it to me because we got to see more of Spain! I know that the camino asks a lot of each person completing it, but I would recommend taking time to explore other areas along the way. Sometimes you see great things!

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After Galicia and Baiona, we were on our way to Santiago! We hopped over to the Camino Frances (the most popular camino), and we continued walking. The theme of this trip is walking! Walking on dirt, walking on roads, hiking up a mountain, walking on gorgeous cobblestone…we definitely did our fair share of walking!

Even though we were walking a ton, we had some beautiful views of the coast and trails along the way. We also rarely had to worry about getting lost because the whole camino is guided by yellow arrows!

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While our trail was on the coast for a portion, we also were in the countryside and surrounded by trees. The camino gave us an opportunity to explore the country while being away from tourists and exploring the authentic culture of Portugal and Spain. Plus, the camino also has other pilgrims and you get a chance to meet other great people!

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After we made it to Santiago, we were able to spend about half a day in this historic town. The cathedral was breathtaking, but we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside. All in all, this camino was great! I loved that we were able to jump around different caminos and really soak in all of the history.

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Before I end this post, I wanted to share a couple of things I learned along the way. Even though I already mentioned the weather and shoes, I want to reiterate the importance of hiking when its cooler outside and wearing sturdy shoes! Seriously.

I also wanted to say that we hiked the camino with a tour group. At first I was a bit worried about having a guide through this experience, since it somewhat sounded fabricated, but I was pleasantly surprised. Having a tour guide was helpful and fun because they were able to help us if we got lost (which thankfully never happened) and we could use their vans to jump between caminos. I know this was a different take on this pilgrimage, but it was well worth it.

So please keep your mind open to this camino! The Portugues way can be a bit harder to complete because resources (like cafes and hostels) can be scarce at times. If you are able to do it, though, you will not be disappointed! Even being able to hike a bit of it will give you an opportunity to see gorgeous views. If you want to hear more about the camino, be sure to comment below. And if you’re worried that you can’t hike this much, just remember to take it one stride at a time!