Friday, December 14, 2007

Can we come and join you Flower Smellers?

This blog is about to change its identity, a fairly earth shattering event for me, though but probably not for the rest of the world, yet.

Joining the Flower Smellers community means that I have a wider audience and have to widen my personal whinge space to include my (and partner Paul's) main reason for being - travelling and mapping ancient pilgrimage routes - and the daily activities that go along with that. We understand that maybe the subject does not grab everyone straight away, but if you can last a few more paras, perhaps you'll get a sense of what brought us to this bizarre, and on occasion incredibly satisfying, place we find ourselves in now.

Paul and I are drop-outs - must be - because once upon a time we were in and now we're out doing our own thing, as opposed to someone else's. A healthy change, but a change only made possible by years of earning our crusts and, to be honest, enjoying the process - 90% of the time.

Five years ago we opted for early retirement. Freedom! Except that we didn't know what to do with it, so we took time out and rode two horses on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, hoping that something would occur to us on the way.

Result? Well, not exactly. Paul learnt to ride, I learnt to live without a watch and we made some great friends along the way, but by the end of the journey we still did not know what to do next.

So we went on another pilgrimage, this time 2000 horseback kilometres to Rome and for some reason - probably the suffering - suddenly everything became clear. You see, for us it's all in the journey - taking time out from the familiar to test relationships and boundaries, meet people like-minded and not, discuss, think, re-think, evaluate, re-evaluate … and in our case, perhaps enable more people to do the same in the hope that they can gain as much as we have from the experience and maybe even promote, in a very small way, the kind of relationships that can lead to global understanding - peace across borders and religions, protection of the environment above commerce.

And here we are, three years later, heads down and writing our first pilgrim's guide to Rome - hopefully the first of many that will inspire and enable everyone to benefit from the pilgrimage experience, irrespective of age, fitness or belief. Alongside this, we are also devoting a great deal of our time to Pilgrimage Publications, a not-for-profit organisation with 4 clear aims:
1. To enable walkers, cyclists and riders to follow pilgrim routes all over the world.
2. To ensure Pilgrimage Publication guides are as current as possible and to use pilgrim feedback as a major source of information.
3. To use recycled materials for the production of guides, travel books or any other materials.
4. To promote eco-friendly travel.

We are looking forward to exchanging news and views with anyone who is interested and maybe even inspiring some of you to follow in our footsteps. For more about who we are and what we do take a look at our other websites and blogs.


Jim said...

Hi from Dubai!

Male flower Jim here, of GO! Smell the flowers....

We are really looking forward to you jumping on board at GO! Smell the flowers as you're both an inspiration for countless others.

With our founders in China, Oz, U.S.A, Canada, U.K, Holland and India we pride ourselves on diverse content, hearty debates and ultimately giving cyberspace something it has never seen!

We'll announce your arrival on Sunday -then its time to saddle up!

Healthy Regards,
All at GO! Smell the flowers

Heiko said...

Well what is "smell the Flowers then"? Something I was thinking when reading your pages was, you'd get on like house on fire with Susan. She has a wee blog too, although isn't sure about anyone being interested in reading it, so she hardly tells anyone. She writes short stories and published 2 of them on her blog. She has had quite a colourful life too. Have a read on When are you coming over to Italy. It would be a pleasure meeting you two and walk a couple of bits of the VF together.

Can we tell our neighbours, you'll include their B&B in your guide? It's just that they need to complete some paperwork first if they are to open officially.

All the best


Bridget Jones said...

Nice to have some French speaking people at Flowers! :)Look forward to your posts and the sharing of your experiences!

Diane said...

Small world, isn't it? Here we were discussing commissioning an album and all the time we were destined to meet at Go! Smell the Flowers!

Welcome from a fellow founder and I look forward to reading more of your adventures.... :)

Arvind said...

Welcome to Flowers!

I look forward to getting to know you both well soon.

And happy pilgrimaging (assuming there is such a word)

Love and best wishes