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Leslie Gilmour

Are CCTV Cameras Making Us Feel Any Safer?

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In this day and age it seems like you can’t go anywhere without being watched.  Whether it is through private video surveillance or government run CCTV cameras; someone is always seemingly watching your ever move.  While many of these security devices are meant to help keep you safe, it does raise a great deal of new questions.  One of the biggest things people are wondering is whether or not the extra added security actually makes them feel any safer.  On top of that, it is a concern that this unknown safety is not worth the violation of personal privacy. 

Why Do We Have CCTV Cameras?

Government surveillance in the UK has been around for decades.  It first dates back to the after WWII when tensions were high and so was the need for added security.  Ever since the birth of the digital age, these surveillance techniques only grew and became more invasive.  These days you can’t turn a corner without seeing a CCTV camera high above your head watching your ever step.  By 2011 there was an estimation that there were over 1.8 million forms of public surveillance which includes CCTV cameras located throughout the UK alone.  Since then, that number has only grown which raises the question; why the need?

CCTV cameras are meant to record all activities while also are meant to be used a police and government tool to screen for suspicious behavior.  Along with the screening process, police teams also use the CCTV feed to identify crime and criminals and often times will release that information to public in order to get a positive identification or more information on a crime.  While helping to prevent crime and bigger national problems is a big deal, it doesn’t always help to bring any relief to the citizens.

Public View on CCTV Cameras

When it comes to CCTV cameras and public opinion, the feelings are mixed.  Some people appreciate that this type of video surveillance will help to solves crime and that gives them a certain sense of security when it comes to their safety.  Other people feel that this is just another excuse for government to get involved in their personal day to day lives.  The one thing that most people can agree on is that whichever sides people stand on, they feel extremely strong about their personal views.

The citizens who tend to stand against public surveillance are valid in these feelings.  How far is too far?  It isn’t only CCTV cameras that are used these days which gives weight to the fears of the public.  Many CCTV cameras have been fitted with microphone devices now which mean that not only are people monitoring your movements, but your conversations as well.  It is also known that government can now also use other means of monitoring such as recording cell phone conversations and emails, so there really seems like there is no fine line left when it comes to safety and privacy.

Do CCTV Cameras Prevent Crime?

When it comes to crime prevention, it is unclear about whether or not CCTV cameras do the job correctly.  It seems that they work well in the aftermath of a crime when they need to make an ID or gather information, but actual crime prevention is a whole different study itself.  This is because not all CCTV cameras are live feeds meaning that in order to do surveillance, the person monitoring would have to know a specific date and time stamp in order to find the incident, but what about the live feed?  The live feed cameras can work to spot suspicious behavior which can help to prevent a crime from taking place but it takes a trained eye to do so. 

It also should be said that the appearance of CCTV cameras has not worked to deter criminals the way police would have hoped.   If anything, CCTV cameras have made criminals smarter and help them learn how to be cleverer in order to evade surveillance.  This is one of the reasons why many people don’t actually feel like CCTV cameras make them feel any safer.  There is still plenty of speculation and debate on this matter even though police and government claim that CCTV cameras have led to more than 4000 arrests in four years alone, yet is unclear about how many of those arrests led to convictions and how many were a direct result of public surveillance.

One of the biggest concerns that private citizens have when it comes to CCTV monitoring is when does it stop being about crime and become about control?  There have been reports of CCTV cameras now being able to cite you for smaller crimes like jay walking and littering.  While you should try to never break the law, is it an abuse of power for the government to use monitoring for seemingly trivial acts?  That is a question that one must ask them before deciding if CCTV cameras are put in place for the best interest of the community.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately we have come to terms with whether or not we feel comfortable being monitored continuously.  Do we feel safer or do we want to grasp tightly to whatever privacy we may have left.  We also need to wonder what direction all of this monitoring is taking us in.  Will we ever be able to live as private citizens and have our business be just ours?  More importantly, is the government feeding off of public fear as an excuse to keep tabs on our every move?  One thing is for sure, the conversation of whether or not CCTV cameras make us feel any safer is a conversation that doesn’t seem to be ending soon.  With so many questions left unanswered there is so much uncertainty about the future of public surveillance. 

At the end of the day is comes to public and personal opinion.  If CCTV cameras make you feel safer knowing that there is always a watchful eye in the sky, then keep on living your life.  If you worry that government involvement is becoming too overwhelming, keep asking the tough questions while continuing to exercise reasonable caution.  You never know who is watching.  Take care.

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Leslie Gilmour

How to Set Yourself Up For a Successful Interview

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Every student knows that sudden feeling of dread that comes after they leave their protective university bubble.  For many graduating students, this is where the real world begins.  One of your first tasks as a recent graduate is to hit the job market with a string of sent resumes, endless phone calls and just a little touch of groveling.  

Eventually, the time will come when an employer will be impressed by your tenacity and will set up an interview.  This is where the real work begins.  To ensure that you are putting your best foot forward, follow these simple tips to help you come one step closer to a career.

Be Prepared

Before you step foot into whatever work environment you are hoping to join, prepare yourself.  While it is a good motivator to always aim high, be realistic about the job you are applying for and make sure it matches your skills.  It is also important that you have some university training in the job you want, this is especially important if you majored in general studies.  For example; if you are looking for a job in the cosmetology field, one great way to prepare yourself is to take a short makeup course or workshop so that your potential employer will note that are willing to further your education.

Another great way to be prepared for an upcoming job interview is to do your research.  Study up on the company you are hoping will hire you so that you know what you are in for.  This is also a great way to impress potential employers.  The more knowledgeable you are in an interview will show them that you have great instincts and that you are truly interested in their business.

The Day Before

The day prior to your job interview is the day when you should lay all of your plans out.  It is better to have everything ready to go the day before so you are not rushing before your interview.  This also gives you time to relax and get your head in the game.  Carefully choose and lay out the clothes that you are going to wear.  Always dress better than you think you should, even if you are applying to a more casual work environment.  This will show your interviewer that you are professional and that you are taking the job seriously.  Don’t over dress as this may come off as too eager which is something you should avoid.  Finding the perfect balance between motivated and humble is critical.

Have your resume printed on cardstock or high-quality paper.  Even if you have already sent your resume in prior to the interview, it is a good rule of thumb to bring an extra with you.  You never know if they will ask you for your resume again.  To go the extra mile, you can even have some personal business cards on hand that list your contact information.  These little touches will help to ensure that potential employers will remember you.  The job market is a competitive field, so if there is an opportunity for you to set yourself apart from the pack, seize it. 

Interview Day

Wake up early.  Even if your interview is later in the day, start your day off right.  Mornings are the perfect time to set a precedent for the rest of your day.  It is important to take the time relax so that your head is in the right place.  Interviews are stressful and you will naturally get nervous, so find a way to expel that nervous energy and try to channel it into something positive.  This way you can walk into your interview confident and strong.  When you are confident in what you are saying, your interviewer will get pick up on it and it will set your interview off on the right foot.

Always get to the job interview early.  Try to plan on being there 10-15 minutes earlier than scheduled.  This shows that you are punctual and are taking the interview seriously.  Many times a great interview will be clouded by a tardy appearance.  If you know that your interview is during a time where traffic is high, prepare for this and adjust accordingly.  Try to avoid get there too early.  There is such a thing as being overeager and this can often read as desperate which is never a good look.

Be clear in the things that you say.  To make sure that your point is coming across, truly listen to the questions you are being asked.  Take a mental second to gather your thoughts before speaking.  This will show that you have great communication and listening skills which are two major components to being successful in your overall career.  The best way to show interest through words is to ask questions.  Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer specific questions about the company as well as the job itself.  This will show them that you have a great interest in the job at hand.  Make eye contact.  Indirect eye contact is one way to show people that you are not confident or do not believe the words you are saying and this is the last thing you would want a potential employee to think of you. 

Don’t be afraid to be yourself.  While humor is often a defense mechanism; it is also a great way to showcase some personality.  Make sure that the humor stays on the appropriate side of the scale; the last thing you would want is for them to think that you will be an HR nightmare.  When leaving your job interview you should have just as strong of an exit as an initiation.  Shake their hand firmly and thank them for their time.  This is their last impression of you, so make it a good one.

Follow Up

Some people are wary about whether or not to follow up after a job interview.  As long as you are not hounding your interviewer, it is perfectly okay to follow up.  The best way to do this is to wait a day or two and send them an email thanking them for their time and stating how you look forward to hearing from them in the future.  Even if you don’t end up getting the job, they will remember you for reaching out politely to them.  This will help to keep you in their good graces in case another job opens up in that company.  The last thing you would want to do is burn any professional bridges before you ever even officially enter the job world.

Don’t Give Up

It isn’t always the case that you will land your first job right out of the gate.  While if it does happen, take the time to celebrate, but you should also never let a rejection slow you down.  Take each job interview as a lesson to be learned and apply that education to the next interview.  Over time you will find that each time you step foot in an interview room you are more confident and prepared than the last time.  As long as you stay motivated and vigilant, the only thing that is stopping you from landing the perfect job is you.  Good luck. 

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Leslie Gilmour

How to Balance Part Time Study, Life, and Work

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Life is all about juggling.  There is a constant battle between all of the things in our lives that seem to be in competition with each other for the spotlight.  Sometimes, there are just too many balls in the air and juggling may seem impossible.  Some people thrive when faced with the challenge of having to do too many things at once.  They face their over-packed schedules head on with great result.  If you’re like the rest of the world who find themselves overwhelmed by trying to balance study, life, and work, you’re in luck.  There are some great tips and techniques that will help you stay your path and best of all, do it successfully.

Make a plan

The first step to a maintaining a well-balanced life is to make a plan.  The best way to stick to the plan is to make the plan reasonable.  Overloading yourself with too many tasks in too short an amount of time is the fastest way to failure.  One tip for making the best plan is to put it in writing.  Whether you use a computer organizer or a daily journal, writing down your plans for the day is the best way to hold yourself accountable. 

Make a list of all of the tasks and events you have coming up.  To go the extra mile, color code these events and separated them by urgency.  For example; big exams and deadlines should take precedence over an upcoming party.  Most people are very visual, so being able to actually see all of the things they need to do written out in front of them helps them to stay focused.  Over time you will find that this repetition will help you to not only create a habit but also to change the way you plan things in the future.

Stay organized

Once you have your planner in place, the next step to a seemingly balanced life is to organize it.  Many times a chaotic life is a direct result to the disorganization in your life that may already exist.  While there is beauty in chaos, it’s not the ideal way to juggle your life.  The best place to start organizing is in the area that you do most of your work.  Whether it is your home office, a study desk or even your favorite spot on your couch, organisation is the key to a stress-free life.

When starting the quest for organization, it is perfectly fine to use tools at your disposal to help you along the way.  You are only human after all.  Did you know that one of the best tools available to you is already in the palm of your hand?  Cell phones have come a long away from clunky devices that do little more than make a phone call.  You can not only organize your whole life on your phone but you can customize the way you do things as well.  Whether you are setting reminders for yourself to help you stay on task or are keeping track of hours worked, there is no other technology that is so easily accessible and that also is already such a large part of your life.  People are constantly on their cell phones anyhow.  So why not use it to your advantage?

Find time to play

While the important things like work and study will naturally be filling up your dancing card faster than you want, once and a while it is okay to find time to play.  Not only is it healthy, it is also a whole lot more fun than working.  Some people confuse finding the perfect balance in their lives with just staying on top of work and study, but life is equally, if not more important.  Taking care of your mental health should never be overlooked.  Making room for activities that keep you happy is the key to making everything in your life rotate the way it should.

Recently, I took a Saturday afternoon off study to help the kids put up new wall stickers.  We had bought these about a month before and they had been sitting waiting on me to find space in my schedule.  Just taking the time out and doing it left me feeling much better – and left the kids much happier.

Having a life isn’t always a distraction.  Certain activities can actually help your brain to focus while also keeping your motivated.  Hitting the gym with friends or any group activity that keeps your body moving will not only help to give you enough endurance to tackle a week’s worth of daunting tasks, but will also release endorphins so that you can blow through your work with a smile on your face.  So while planning out your week, skip the pencil, and pen in a social life.

Hold yourself accountable and forgive yourself

The last step to finding the perfect harmony in your life is to stick to the plans you make.  When it comes to keeping your life in order, you are the boss.  So hold yourself accountable.  If you plan out your week, try your hardest to stick to it.  There are few feelings in the world as good as setting your mind to complete a perfect week and then actually doing.  The satisfaction you feel from succeeding will be even greater when you know that you were responsible for it.  If you have followed the first few steps to a perfectly balanced life, being able to keep your life in check is no longer impossible.

On the other side of things, is failure.  Failure is okay.  Along with accountable is forgiveness.  Being too hard on yourself for letting one of the balls in your life drop to the floor will not always motivate you to pick that ball up and try again.  Give yourself some credit for everything you have already managed to accomplish and keep pushing forward.  When you accept that balancing your life doesn’t always work out perfectly, you are more likely to try harder the next time around.

Final Thoughts

Finding out how to balance study, work and life is a whole lot easier said than it is done.  By making a plan and following through, half the battle is already over with.  Like everything in life, finding that harmony will be full of trials and errors but as long as you remember to keep moving forward you will find that over time, the never ending juggling act will almost be second nature to you.  Good luck.

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Leslie Gilmour

Why Spend an Erasmus Semester or Year Abroad

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There are so many benefits to spending a semester or year abroad. Not only will you get some amazing shots for your Instagram, but you’ll meet new people, eat new foods, and gain countless experiences that wouldn’t be possible if you were still in your home country. 

People always say “do it while you’re young” and this is a perfect example. If you don’t spend time abroad now, you will likely never get the chance. In a few years’ time, you’ll be graduated from uni, have a solid career, and be on your way to starting a family. 

Sure, you may have a part-time job now, or a significant other; but these aren’t good enough reasons to skip out on doing an Erasmus semester abroad. I spent one year at Vienna University while at university, this was before I went on to do more study with the OU. 

I picked Vienna simply because I could study in English, but for me, it was a great choice.  The summer before starting I walked the Camino de Santiago and met my now current other half who is from Prague.  Commuting between Vienna and Prague by train was easy. At the end of the year, I hired a courier service to move all my things back to Ireland, where I was based at the time.

Find Yourself

Going abroad gives you the opportunity to actually find yourself. Think about it; you won’t know anyone, and no one has any expectations of you. You can be whoever you want to be. If you have always been known as “Shy little Kate, from Bristol”, you can make an extra effort to be outgoing, and try new things. Even if you have never been much of a writer, now is a perfect opportunity to keep track of your thoughts.  Hold on to your memories by keeping a journal to reflect on your time, and the changes that occur while you’re away. Spending an Erasmus semester is a great alternative if you didn’t get to experience a gap year. 

Make Connections

Spending an Erasmus semester abroad can have many benefits; socially and professionally. You can make many work connections overseas that you would have never met if you didn’t take the leap. It isn’t rare to find that the company you worked for overseas to offer you a job when you graduate. You will also meet so many different people, from different walks of life, who knows what doors might open!

Better Yourself

Not only will you find yourself on your Erasmus semester abroad, you will also better yourself. There are ridiculous amounts of ways to spend your time overseas, and almost all the ways include a way to make yourself better, whether that be in a physical way, mental way, or to set you up for the future. 

You will pick up on new cultures and languages, not only in the new place that you’re living, but also anywhere else you’re living. You will be so close to other countries, it would be a shame not to save some money before hand to visit the neighbouring countries and see what they have to offer. You may find that you enjoy a new sport that is popular in your country, which will keep you fit and you’ll have a hobby for life. How great will it to say, “Oh yes, I picked up cycling in Denmark, there is just no other way to get around.” 

It Can Open Opportunities

By jumping into the deep end and moving to another country, you will have many opportunities open. For example, on your resume, employers will be very impressed by your ability to pick up and move to a country where you likely don’t know the language, or anyone living there. This will show prospective employers your courage, resistance and adaptability. Also, any odd jobs you pick up to make ends meet show your diversity of skills on a resume. 

Ask any HR executive, a popular question in interviews for any position will go something along these lines... “Tell us about a difficult situation you overcame, and how you managed to overcome it.” Instead of having no idea what to say, you will now have countless stories to show your fast-thinking and ability to overcome hardships. Maybe you’ll tell them the time you got sick in Spain, and the only doctor on call didn’t speak English, so you had to explain using your “Spanglish”. Or how you once ended up on the wrong train in France and ended up 100 kilometres from where you were meant to be with no cell phone! Living abroad will provide plenty of hardships, or uncomfortable situations, but your reaction to them is everything. 

Just remember, no matter how bad it is right now, it will probably be a funny story you’re telling your host family over dinner in a week or two. Not only are there professional opportunities, think about how many people you will meet! You’ll make tons of new friends, and maybe even a significant other. The best part is, you’ll be meeting people from all over the world, which provides the perfect opportunity to visit an exotic place later on- you have to visit your friends right?

Financial Support

This one may surprise you, but now is the perfect time to spend a semester abroad, because every Erasmus student receives a grant. How much will depend on your home country and where you’re planning to go, but every little bit helps. 

While it won’t cover your entire semester, it is certainly more than if you decide to plan a trip when you’re out of school. If you do an Erasmus work placement, you will receive the grant money AND a salary. Not only this, but it is so easy to make extra money in your spare time. Teaching English, some teacher training helps, interpreting or freelance translating is all ways to earn extra income as well. Lastly, depending on where you’re from, you may get a great exchange rate, or find that the cost of living is lower than in your home country.

So what are you waiting for?

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Leslie Gilmour

How Mature Study Can Change Your Life

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I mentioned in my last post about the Camino, that I walked while being a mature student.  Leaving behind my accounting career and studying English Literature and Philosophy was not started with a new career in mind.  It did however, lead to a new career in marketing, by a circuitous route.

I had always loved writing and reading and wanted to be able to express myself better in written form.  That was one of my main reasons for the subjects I choose to study.  I had tried unsuccessfully a few times to write a novel. After tearing up the last one I woke the next morning thinking I should build a website. Where that came from I have no idea, but it was the beginning of a new direction.

I spent some time learning HTML & CSS, there are many free courses online that will help.  I then started writing, and immediately thought - this is what my study prepared me for, research and writing.  I loved it, web writing was short concise articles and that suited me better then than trying to write a novel, (it is still a dream). I built a website that nobody visited and that resulted in me learning marketing.

A Word on Dreams

My dream to write a book eventually came about.  I wrote a guidebook, it is the most difficult single piece of work I have ever completed.

Just because something is a dream does not mean it will be easy.

How the Open University's Free Courses Can Help

A friend studied addiction part time while working in a completely unrelated field.  More than 15 years later she now runs a counselling centre, (after much more study). The cost of a part-time study is not expensive, but your time is, and making large mistakes in direction can be costly in the longer term.  

There are a multitude of free courses available via Open Learn.  For example, if you think becoming a therapist is for you then this free course on diagnosis in counselling and psychotherapy might be a place to explore how strong your desire is. This could lead you to study the degree in counselling.

Marketing - The New Dream Jobs?

Someone else I know decided early on that marketing was her main love and was going to be her career.  But, even once you know what you want to do and become qualified enough it does not mean that learning is not required. She is now the marketing manager of a company that installs SAP Business One for small businesses.

This type of job requires intimate understanding of your product and service.  You are not expected to install SAP Business One, but you are expected to know every way it can help a business and all of the details that are involved in setting up.

Learning really is life long.

Do you think a new career in marketing is for you?  Look at these free options to get you started: Marketing in the 21st Century, Stakeholders in marketing and finance, or Products, services and branding.

I have read in many places that we are all marketers - at least you should be of yourself, especially in this age of social media and openness online.  The above courses give a great introduction to different areas of marketing, and if they spark your interest there is a degree course in business management that specialises in marketing.

Commitment is Required

Just because a course is free does not mean you can just treat it lightly.  This is the road to failure.  I don’t know the statistics for OpenLearn dropout rate but I have seen stats on free course dropout for Massive Open Online Courses and the percentage is staggeringly high.

Start planning.  I have a two-year-old, this makes a huge difference compared to being child free.  My only time for study is 90 minutes between his bedtime and me becoming too tired to study more.  I study four nights per week - Mon to Thur.  Even though I have worked in this job for ten years, and don’t ever imagine doing something else, it changes constantly and study is required to stay relevant at the cutting edge.

Each course in the OU will give indications of time commitments.  Decide when you will have that time available and stick to it, miss it once and it becomes very easy to miss again.  Once you do that it can become hard to catch up, do everything you can to avoid becoming disheartened.

It takes some time to understand a new discipline.  So, stick with it.  You might not understand much for a while, but breaking study down into smaller goals helps.  Talk about your study, explain the class you have just taken to someone else - these all help to gain a better understanding.  Write, write, and write - this is how I learn.  You might be different, but I still remember research from essays I wrote at university.

My last bit of advice.  Turn off the television, this one simple action can free up many hours to create a better life.

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Leslie Gilmour

Walking the Camino de Santiago as a Student

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I expected nothing more than a long walk from my pilgrimage on the  Camino Frances, looking back not very imaginative I believe.  The few years before I first walked the Camino had seen some major changes in my life.  I had at long last abandoned the accountancy career I didn’t enjoy much and had enrolled as a mature student at university studying English Literature and Philosophy – a dream come true.

Camino de Santiago Route

I enjoyed hill walking at the weekends, but I hadn’t untaken a long multi-day walk for many years. A friend at university in a low period of his life had packed his rucksack and walked from Amsterdam to Santiago de Compostela.  He talked about this experience quite a bit and I thought it was interesting but also mad.  He slept outside, in church portals, and once he was in Spain in pilgrim’s hostels.

Darragh, my friend, went on and on about this Camino route and kept telling me how much I would enjoy it.  I just thought about sharing dorms with many others each night, that single aspect was my biggest hurdle.  But, after a couple of months hearing the stories I thought I would give it a go.  I decided that if I did not like it I would just find something else in Spain to do for the rest of the summer.

What is the Camino de Santiago

In the 9th century the remains of St James, one of Jesus’ apostles was discovered where now the city of Santiago de Compostela sits. Legend has it that his body was transported to Spain from the Middle East.  Once in Spain oxen were used to pull the stone boat away from the coast.  My inquisitive mind wonders why nothing then happened for the next 900 years?

The remains after discovery were declared the remains of Santiago, (St James), by the bishop at the time.  This coincides with an on-going Christian Muslim war for the control of Spain.  Pilgrims started walking to Santiago and the route became the third most popular middle ages pilgrimage route after Rome and Jerusalem.  The church expected the Kings and Queens along the Camino routes to protect pilgrims and thus the popularity of the routes also marked the decline of the Moor occupation of Spain.

Many routes developed over the years between the 9th and 16th century.  These form the basis for the modern routes; Camino Frances the most popular, the Northern Routes along the north coast of Spain, and the Camino Portugues from Lisbon, there are many more routes but these are the most walked with the best infrastructure.  Due to political unrest and the reformation the Camino fell from popularity from the 16th century onward.

I first walked the Camino in 2004, in 2005, and again in 2012, you can read more on my blog.

My Experience of the Camino

Today there are 1,000’s of blogs about the Camino, loads of information websites, and two main Camino Forums.  When I first walked information was hard to get before setting off.  I purchased a guidebook that I discovered was out of date, but it was good enough.

Perhaps not knowing what the pilgrimage held for me was better, as my expectations were very different to many setting out today.  I expected loneliness, peace and quiet, and very long periods on my own.  Because of this, I had packed three books that were tombs and would last me more than a month - the downside is they were heavy.

I started in St Jean Pied de Port in the South of France and was surprised to see many others starting at the same time.  My backpack was too heavy at 15 kg - 9 kg more than it would be the following year.  I was overweight, smoked, and was unfit - not a great combination to start a walk of 800 km.

I found the first week painful, but my worries about sharing a dorm at night disappeared after one night.  For the first time in many years, I slept like the proverbial baby, and have slept well ever since.  Being physically exhausted from walking all day made for great sleep - but remember the ear plugs, they help. 

I was completely wrong about all the lonely time I would have.  Even back then it was crowded at some points, though that was a Holy Year.  A Holy Year on the Camino is when St James’ day, (25th July), fall on a Sunday.

Each day I walked different distances between 20 and 30 kilometres, and so did many others.  I got to know people from seeing them most nights and I never ate alone.

If you are a student on a tight budget and you like walking this could be a great way to spend a summer and cheaply.  It is possible to by on €30 per day for everything, but that will be tight.  Though there were days the first time around that I spent much less.  Hostels cost about €10 per night, about €10 per evening meal, and if you go easy on the drink the other ten will pay for lunch and breakfast.  Some days I would buy food in a shop and cook in the hostel or I would pick hostels that had communal evening meals.

A Week in Spain After the Camino

After I finished the Camino the first time I head across country to the Costa del Sol for a holiday with family.  I pretty much hated that holiday.  I had become so chilled from walking every day that being dumped right into a tourist resort was too much, (yes, I know first world problems).

The second time after walking to Santiago de Compostela we hired a car between three of us and drove first to Finisterra to watch the setting of the sun on the coast and then slowly drove back along the Camino Frances.

Next time, because I am sure there will be a next time, I will try and find the money and time for a quiet beach somewhere in Portugal.

The Camino Changes You

Well, it does if you are open to change.  Walking between six and eight hours every day is somewhat like meditation - you develop a rhythm.  I wondered about my life, what had brought me to this point, why was I walking this even though it was sore at times, why had I began to care so much about the people I met along the way.

Some of the changes I attribute to walking the Camino are:

I met my other half 11 years ago and now we have a two year old

I built a website about the Camino and a forum.

This led to a new career in web marketing

Plus I now live in another country

I picked up a religious leaflet one hot day while walking the Meseta.  The idea behind the leaflet was - while walking the Camino de Santiago you have direction - there are yellow arrows to follow each step of the way - but what about afterwards once you are home, why gives you direction?  I am not religious in any way, but I thought about this and found something in me that gives me direction - most of the time.

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Leslie Gilmour

Starting to Study Again

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As the course I want to start in the OU does not start for a few months I have decided to start with a short course on game theory, which is run on line.

I will give weekly updates to that here as I go along.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Robert McCune, Friday, 31 Aug 2012, 15:23)

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