The Lens of Jen

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Traveler, writer, anti-plastic crusader Journeying through grief and globe ๐ŸšŽ Travel deeper ๐Ÿ‘ฃ Live greener ๐ŸŒŽ Dream bigger ๐Ÿ’š Life is too short to wait

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Still reflecting on San Diego. โ™ฅโฃ โฃ The Cabrillo National Monument is a beautiful place for a hike on Point Loma and to check out some seriously amazing tidepools.โฃ โฃ The best time to check out the tidepools? In the winter. BUT...the hiking here is great any time of year, especially on the beautiful Bayside Trail.โฃ โฃ If you're digging on views like this one and you want a stamp for your National Parks Passport, check out my Cabrillo tips. ๐Ÿ”— in bio. โฃ โฃ ๐Ÿ’š #WanderWithLove ๐Ÿ’š

A Camino de Santiago Vlog

My walking partner and I cover every aspect of walking the Camino from our nerves as we set out, to the blisters and pain along the way, to the shenanigans we got ourselves into, to the euphoric feeling of arriving in Santiago de Compostela 35 days and 500 miles later. We cover the body phase, the mental phase, the soul phase, and the shenanigans along the way. the body phase of the Camino de Santiago โ€“ and entering the mental phase. The Adorable Animals Along the Camino de Santiago Head back to my full and comprehensive Camino resource page for more on walking the Camino de Santiago.

There will be people who enter your life for a short season. These short-timers often come into your world with an intensity that belies the very brevity of their stay.โฃ โฃ They walk with you in lockstep, inside jokes bubble effortless between you, your lives collide and unite in a way that seems so synchronistic that it canโ€™t be an accident.โฃ โฃ It hurts when they leave. Whether you ask them to go to protect your heart, or whether they suddenly disappear as quickly as they arrived, the absence of that intense connection is destabilizing.โฃ โฃ But in re-gaining your footing, there is so much opportunity to learn.โฃ โฃ ๐Ÿ’” The above words are published on "P.S. I Love You" along with the first words I've put to paper on a recent breakup. Link in bio for the full story called "I Thought I Learned All The Love Lessons When My Fiancรฉ Died. I was Seriously Wrong." ๐Ÿ’”

Walking the Camino del Norte: Arriving in Santiago de Compostela

And then 10 kilometers outside of Santiago de Compostela, I set down my rock on a mile marker where no other burdens yet sat. Lizz and I both broke down a little as we neared the cathedral where all pilgrimages along the Camino de Santiago end, swallowing back some tears as we realized that we had really done it. Arriving in Santiago marked the end of our physical journey, a 35-day pilgrimage along the Camino del Norte. A lot of pilgrims continue on past the cathedral and to Cape Finisterre (Fistera) where the โ€œ0โ€ mile marker sits on the coastline, the very coastline that was believed to be the end of the world in medieval times.

"In the middle of a difficulty lies opportunity." - Albert Einstein ๐Ÿ“ท Credit @caseyjoylife #LiveLikeJeff #griefprocess #griefjourney #grief #griefandsorrow #grievingprocess #griefsupport

Join me and a Community of Seekers I The Lens of Jen

My goal here is to provide timely tips, tales, and inspiration to help you SEEK MORE from this life. I quit my job and set out with a one-way ticket to see the world, learning along the way that we do not need a partner to travel the world with confidence and joy. I help people โ€“ and especially single people โ€“ travel deeper & live sweeter. Join me and a community of people who unapologetically, unabashedly seek adventure and love โ€“

Do you have friends who help you overcome your fears? I want to give the biggest shoutout to this girl @erinmccahey. Moving out of your ex's house is hard enough as it is...but when you are terrified of driving a big rig there is an extra element of awful. So Erin flew out from Portland to meet me in Coeur d'Alene to be my co-pilot. And when the rental place didn't have my reserved van or even a 12-footer (only a HUGE 16-footer! ๐Ÿšš), I almost called the whole thing off. I rang her up to tell her not to get on the airplane. Through tears, I explained that there was no way I could drive such a big truck. She told me she would drive. She got on the plane. โœˆ๏ธ In the end, the rental place found a 12-footer in a neighboring town. I was still pretty nervous, but Erin calmed me down. She helped me move out. She drove when I was afraid. And, ultimately, I drove most of the way. ๐ŸšŒ I have the best of friends. ๐Ÿ‘ญ And I'm so glad to have such great co-pilots as I move on to the next adventure. (Check my stories to see the evolution of this ride!) #movingout #movingon #nextadventure #bestoffriends #movingsucks #overcoming #overcomingfears #overcomingobstacles #teamworkmakesthedreamwork #sayinggoodbye

How Walking the Camino de Santiago Brought Me Home

In the days following Jeffโ€™s death, I wandered about our Chicago apartment with its shelves lined with his books and its balcony overlooking the park where we once shared bottles of wine and plates of cheese during outdoor concerts. I quit my job, packed a suitcase and traveled the world for 18 months, through 22 countries, traversing 70,496 miles by way of 39 flights, 39 trains, nine buses, six cars, five ferries, โ€” and one very long walk. At that time, I wasnโ€™t religious, I didnโ€™t even own a backpack, and I hadnโ€™t camped or hiked in double-digit years. I donโ€™t know when I will fall in love again, but I do know that walking the Camino de Santiago gave me the courage to come home and to take the first steps down a new path.

The first full capacity game at Wrigley Field felt pretty damn good. No masks required, ushers wearing "welcome home" shirts, and the sun shining on a home-team win. ๐Ÿ‘‰ "This is what it is like to be 100 percent." - Bill Murray before singing the 7th Inning Stretch. And before saying "let's score some runs!" (which the Cubs did.) ๐Ÿ‘‰ "We are high-fiving strangers! We are back!" - Neighbor seat guy after the Cubs tied it up in dramatic fashion. ๐Ÿ‘‰ "I will never take this for granted again." - That one was me. Thanks for the beautiful seats @jason.a.carr! ๐Ÿ“ท Credit @waydegrins

๐—–๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ผ. You are such a beautiful confusion for me. I will always love you and your people.โฃ โฃ It's been strange to wander the familiar streets that look so different. To see what restaurants and businesses survived the pandemic and what did not. Of course, since I've wandered alllll the streets, you can expect a Chicago blog post soon! ๐Ÿฅ‚โฃ โฃ Thanks to all the lovely humans I had the chance to see in the last week. I am so looking forward to this weekend and to reuniting with the old crew to celebrate a special person and her special birthday. ๐Ÿฅ‚

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