A change of direction…

So, finally an update.  Sorry for the long silence and thank you so much to those who have enquired as to my recovery from what was first diagnosed as tendonitis.  By the time of my last post, when I was hobbling around Porto at the end of May, I was much improved and ready to throw away my crutches, but I felt that something was still not quite right.  Long story short, I saw a consultant who sent me for an MRI and discovered that my right hip has a stress fracture in the ball joint (femoral head).  A follow-up x-ray also showed osteoarthritis and loss of cartilage – things that come with qualifying for a bus pass it seems, so at least if I can’t walk I can hop onto a bus!  I’ve also had a bone density scan and am awaiting the result.

I’ve no idea when the fracture occurred, the bones is not displaced so hopefully it will mend without any further issues.  Oh, the joys of ageing (and of course there are many joys).  

So my walking has been somewhat curtailed since my camino came to an abrupt end in San Esteban de Gormaz on the Camino de la Lana.  I’m building it up gradually but the farthest I have walked in the last few months is 14 km.  I have a way to go before I set foot on another camino.

In the meantime, there have been momentous changes in my circumstances.  I have left my life of more than ten years living in a white village half way up an Andalusian mountain and returned to the UK.   I’ve reclaimed my pretty little cottage that forms part of a rambling complex of farm buildings, which you might expect to be situated way out in the countryside (and it probably was once upon a time), but is actually tucked away between extensive housing estates, close to good amenities and only a short trip into the centre of Bristol.

It obviously wasn’t an easy decision or one taken lightly.  But I have changed a great deal over the last few years, my interests have expanded and I have become (even) more independent.  Nevertheless it was a very sad day when I parted from my kind and considerate partner of many years and my four legged friends (and many very good two legged friends).

Having left Spain at the end of July I returned a couple of weeks ago to dog and cat sit whilst David visited his family – we have remained good friends and communicate regularly. It was a great opportunity for me to catch up with my close friends and enjoy a couple of walks in the mountains. I loved my time living in Spain, in such a vibrant multinational community.  Almost everyone you pass makes eye contact and says a genuine ‘buenos dias’ (or  more likely  just ’buenas’ as per the local habit) or has time to stop and chat.  It isn’t just the climate that is sunny, or maybe because of the climate the people who live there for the most part are warm and friendly.

I still have lovely walking very close to where I now live.  A myriad of tracks through what was probably once the land that belonged to the farm, and two stately homes (now in local authority ownership) with really extensive grounds including woodland and a gorge dropping to a river.  As I build up my walking stamina these beautiful green parklands will allow me to walk for as many kilometres as I can manage.  

So now the rest of my life is an unwritten story, hopefully with more camino adventures to come and lots of short trips around Europe, starting in a couple of weeks with a visit to Dubrovnik and Split.  There is so much of Europe that I haven’t experienced and so many places I can easily get to from Bristol, although I anticipate I shall be feeling increasingly guilty about flying – maybe if I use the bus more often I can slightly assuage my guilt!

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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48 Responses to A change of direction…

  1. And the adventure continues! I look forward to following….Take care, Melx

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  2. Annie Carvalho says:

    I’m proud of you for following your heart and making such a difficult decision with grace.
    I’m sorry about your leg.
    Sending love and healing and lots of good wishes!

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  3. Ina Sinclair says:

    I had been wondering about the long silence.. What a momentous(?) decision to make about your life – separation from your partner and where to establish yourself from now on. I keep my fingers crossed for you! Have admired you so much when following you on your blogs! All the best! And bon courage as they say where I live! Buen camino for the way of your life you are walking now!

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    • magwood says:

      Thank you Ina. We have a mutual admiration society of two. I have also loved reading about your caminos and was grateful for the information you provided.

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  4. I am happy to see you blogging again, and hope you continue to find things to write about, even without the camino trips to document. That cottage looks gorgeous!

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    • magwood says:

      Hey Clare. I’m following your current camino right now. What a treat to be walking with your daughters. I’m sure there will be more caminos for me to write about, hopefully starting next year. Buen camino amiga!

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  5. Pat Smith says:

    What a huge change but bravo for following your heart. I have enjoyed your stories. Two Caminos are not enough for me, but I feel guilty about flying from Canada just to walk across Europe. If only our towns were closer together. Stay safe and thank you. Pat

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    • magwood says:

      Hey Pat. I know what you mean about flying. I am so lucky to be in Europe (regardless of the Brexit fiasco). Hopefully all my walking will balance out my occasional flight!

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  6. J Marshall says:

    Nice to hear from you at last. The cottage looks really nice. Please keep posting! So many of us enjoy following your journeys and some (me and I’m sure others) find them inspiring.

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  7. Tony Rice says:

    Maggie words escape me. I’m sorry for your loss, happy that you have rediscovered an old love. I look forward to your rediscovered country blogs.

    Happy Trails. Tony

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  8. Annie (OzAnnie) says:

    Maggie
    Powerful post! You’ve been through so much it seems and yet still motivating us.
    I’m sure I’ll see another camino post in future though. You’re not giving up ., although it must be hard to leave so many good (2 and 4 footed friends for a time) .
    Please keep the blog going regardless of where you’re travelling though. You always make it an interesting read .

    Buen camino
    Annie

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    • magwood says:

      Thanks Annie. I’m very much hoping to be walking another camino next year. It’s definitely nowhere near out of my system. Yes, it was a wrench to leave such good friends, not an easy decision on any level. I’ll certainly keep blogging, but maybe not very regularly…watch this space xx

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  9. Lindsay says:

    Wishing you lots of fun and happiness in your new life. I’ll stop and visit one of these days. Xx Lindsay x

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  10. Mave Moore says:

    Hi Maggie, no -one told me you had gone back to the UK. I would just like to wish you great happiness and good health in your new venture forward. Best wishes Mave x

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  11. M3 Mary says:

    Dear Maggie, very sad to see you have returned to the UK. It looks beautiful though and I wish you well. Enjoy the adventures to come in your life. Stay healthy and well and please blog now and again and let us know how you are getting on. I went up to the Little Fox House when I finished the Camino Portugues this year and Tracy was asking for you. I enjoyed my stay very much but the weather was not kind. Give me blue skies and sunshine any day.
    Much love xx

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Mary. Sorry we didn’t have a chance to catch up before I left. The Little Fox House has moved since I was there. I also found it a really relaxing environment and Tracy is so knowledgable about the surrounding area. You seem to have the camino bug now – maybe we will meet on the path one day. Hugs from grey and rainy Bristol xx

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  12. memismsblogs says:

    Best of luck with all the life changes, medical issues and new adventures.

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  13. Janice Tyler says:

    Very best wishes for a healthy life in your new part of the world xx

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  14. Mbutterworth says:

    Wow – lots of information to take in! I was worried about your leg issues. BTW, I’ve had to seriously consider that my Camino days have ended because of a torn meniscus in my knee. However, there are other adventures to be had and I’m currently travelling round Portugal on the rail network. What’s more, seniors travel at half price!

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Margaret. Oh, I love travelling by train – and so many beautiful cities to visit in Portugal. Sorry to hear about your knee problem but you obviously aren’t letting it dampen your adventurous spirit.

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  15. Holly says:

    Have so enjoyed your blogging during the past three years and wishing you much happiness and good health on your journey ahead. Holly, Australia.

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  16. caminocoach says:

    Thank you for sharing your Camino adventures, I am sure that where ever you are and what ever you are doing you are living your own Camino. Wishing you a full and healthy recovery x

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  17. Jenny Heesh says:

    Thanks so much for your update Maggie. Golly – life presents us with changes – often painful. It’s great that you and David still have a strong connection. Best, best wishes to you both for your lives both in the UK and Spain.
    Are you near your daughter and family? I hope so.
    Your lovely home and its location look perfect – close to the fabulous Bristol too.
    Camino hugs from Oz –
    Jenny

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Jenny. Yes, just half an hour from my youngest daughter and her family. Unfortunately it will take me just as long to visit my other daughter up in Leeds as it would if I was still living in Spain! I’m loving my cottage, although not the weather so much. And you’re right, Bristol is a fabulous city – there is so much going on. Hugs back at you x

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  18. Katherine says:

    Lovely to hear from you and glad things are working out for you.
    Hope your hip will continue to improve.
    Besos.

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Katherine. So good to hear from you. Hope the singing is going well – I miss the choir a lot. Such a pity that Tom is giving up – I hope you manage to find a replacement xx

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  19. Kristina B Wilkening says:

    Buenas Maggie,
    I know I haven’t replied very much….but I was very much following your blogs. Wow….a lot has changed in your life….except for your wonderful attitude. You definitely are the energizer bunny disguised as an English woman. If I am ever near Bristol it would be an honor to meet you. Maybe we can organize a walk across England or at least a day hike in the beautiful English countryside!
    Good luck with your health.
    Cheers,
    Kristina Wilkening

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    • magwood says:

      Hey Kristina, lovely to hear from you. It would be so good to meet up one day and I have yet to discover walking any distance in the UK – I didn’t start walking until I was living in Spain so I have much catching up to do. Until that day, I shall continue to enjoy following your adventures on facebook and admiring your beautiful photography.

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  20. Carlene Matthews says:

    Dear Maggie, so sorry to hear about your departure from both David and Spain. I have never met you and always harboured the dream that one day, whilst in Malaga, we would make the trip to your place to day hello. 2 yrs ago we did our first camino in Spain, the Mozarabe pretty much following your blog, staying in auberges you recommended. We had the most wonderful time and return next April to walk from Cluny to SJDP then have a month in Portugal When only a 1/3 way thru the Mozarabe, a day before Medina, I slipped in rain down a flight of steps injuring my lower back. An ambulance to drs clinic, then onto another town with xray facilities. Diagnosis was soft tissue damage but no fractures. I couldn’t walk but gave myself 2 wks to recover where we travelled by train from Medellin to Caceres where I practised walking again and waited for the swelling to diminish so I could carry my pack again. Then onto Salamanda. On the 14th day we set off again to complete the last 1/3. When the pain was too much, I turned my iPod up loud and contd on. The power of the mind is amazing. On return to Aust I had another xray and was informed that I’d fractured 2 coccigeal vertebrae but they’d mended well. Had I known the damage in Spain, I would have been too scared to continue. So I’m wishing you a gradual but good recovery. One that will allow you to continue doing the things you love. I’ve had a few significant injuries in my time as a marathon runner which have shattered my dreams and made me question my identity. But each one taught me valuable life lessons, especially patience. I’ve had to replace long distances with shorter efforts and swapped intense training for regular gym classes where I’ve added a whole new circle of friends The comeback is a always easier than the setback. I have been educated, inspired & entertained by your blogs over the years so THANKS. Best wishes for whatever your next phase in life holds for you.

    On Sat, 28 Sep. 2019, 8:56 am Trepidatious traveller – camino blog, wrote:

    > magwood posted: “So, finally an update. Sorry for the long silence and > thank you so much to those who have enquired as to my recovery from what > was first diagnosed as tendonitis. By the time of my last post, when I was > hobbling around Porto at the end of May, I was much” >

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Carleen. Thanks so much for your comment. I’m really pleased you found the blog useful. The Mozárabe from Málaga is a lovely camino – one of my favourites. I think those A&E x-rays are a bit hit and miss. My fracture didn’t show on the x-ray I had after my injury – they just diagnosed swollen tendons and tendinitis. It was only when I paid for a private MRI that the fracture was discovered some six weeks later, although I have no idea whether it was the tendinitis or fracture that caused such pain. You were lucky not to do more damage as you walked on. And you’re right, mind over matter is a vey powerful phenomenon.
      I have learned to appreciate my good health more fully and to realise how lucky I am not to have a permanent disability.
      And I too would be very happy if our paths every crossed – who knows, the camino is always springing surprises on us.

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  21. Carlene Matthews says:

    Woops I said Medellin but I meant Merida. Loved the ruins in Merida and had pre booked 2 days in a hotel there’s so it was easy to extend it to 4 days while I learnt to walk again. And thru good fortune not good planning, the hotel had a lift because the stairs would have taken me hours to negotiate. Our 4 days in Carceres, which I adored because bc of the walls, turrets and connection with Game of Thrones, fortuitiously coincided with the World Music festival so again, due to good luck, we were able to see all of it before moving on to Salamanca. I can’t wait to get back to Spain and plan to do the camino del Norte before I get too old to negotiate those mountains and valleys, using your blog as a guide again of course. Best wishes and if you ever contemplate a flight to Australia let me know. We live 1 hr from Melbourne and would love to take you walking in our part of the world

    On Sat, 28 Sep. 2019, 8:56 am Trepidatious traveller – camino blog, wrote:

    > magwood posted: “So, finally an update. Sorry for the long silence and > thank you so much to those who have enquired as to my recovery from what > was first diagnosed as tendonitis. By the time of my last post, when I was > hobbling around Porto at the end of May, I was much” >

    Like

  22. Jillian Rogers says:

    Hi Maggie thanks for the update. I wish you well. I have followed your camino blogs over the years and do hope you keep up the writing no matter how you travel. Here in australia your blog usually arrived at our breakfast time and made a great start to the day! Regards Jill

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  23. Alan says:

    Best wishes for the future Maggie

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  24. William Van Hook says:

    Thank you for the update Maggie. Been following you now for almost 4 years now and only wish you the best. Please keep us up to date. 🙂

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  25. Cathy Platin says:

    Hi Maggie,
    Yes, you have MANY supporters who have followed your amazing adventures for a long time and I am one of them. I was sorry we couldn’t link up when we were in Malaga some years ago on our way to Morocco and beyond. You were very gracious to invite me up to your neck of the woods.
    I wish you all the best in this next part of your life. It takes courage to make changes; you seem to be filled with it! I look forward to the next part of your journey. I hope you keep posting, as I have always enjoyed reading where the next steps bring you. Croatia looks amazing! I watch lots of British television and currently have been watching “Walks with my Dog”…what a gorgeous countryside you have all over England and SO many gorgeous places to take hikes. It’s very inspiring! Sending you my best from Oregon…

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