I love this piece by Ambassador Marianne! So much we have these preconcieved notions of things are supposed to be. But when we turn inward, sometimes we will find we fit into a category that we may think we don’t belong.

Me a trailblazer? Nah…A trailblazer is defined as “a person who makes new track through wild country”. I’ve yet to make a new track anywhere, but in recent years I’ve been lucky enough to wander some tracks that someone before me “blazed.”

I’ve never considered myself especially brave, not much of a risk taker and always dipped a tentative toe before jumping in.

As I started approaching what I consider the last third of my life some less conservative ideas started infiltrating my gray matter. What did I want this era to look like? What did I want it to feel like? I wasn’t sure, I just knew I didn’t want to waste any of these lovely golden days.

In 2015, as invitations started to arrive for my 40th high school reunion, I became intrigued with a 500 mile trek called the Camino de Santiago. I can’t explain why. A door opened and information started pouring in. Movies, books and lectures started finding me…and I was hooked. Actually as thoughts and ideas flowed in and out between my ears I became officially obsessed.

The universe kindly provided me with the perfect hiking companion and 18 months later we boarded a jetliner headed to Northern Spain. To call it an adventure would be an understatement. Hauling a 20 pound backpack with the bare essentials I’d need for 43 days I had officially embarked on this life changing journey. It was hard and painful and magical and rewarding. There were plenty of tears and even more laughter. I experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. As I walked along trails that had long ago been blazed, I realized my life would never look the same…

Fast forward to December 2018 and the one year anniversary of moving to South America. It doesn’t always seem real. It’s mostly unexplainable. My journey along the winding, ancient trails of the Camino also lead me to beautiful Ecuador. It wasn’t a straight shot, and like any road, there were twists and turns everywhere. But here we are and Ianother ancient country where I can walk in the footsteps of long ago trailblazers. As I wander this amazing landscape I can feel the lingering energy of the Incan and Cañari people. I have yet to be a trailblazer, but I’m grateful and humbled to walk the paths of those who truly were.

Follow your bliss and if you aren’t ready to blaze your own trail that’s just fine. Blaze someone else’s…there are so many out there!

“Everything in which I put affection gets richer and devours me.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

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