We Have A Goal

Ever since we arrived back on Kaua’i, Brett and I have been tossing travel ideas back and forth, for a future when we’re able to travel again. We have come up with a list of places we want to visit but with twice-yearly trips to Japan at the top of that list, as well as a yearly visit to one of the other islands, it’s been hard to prioritize those places.

The other day when I was noodling around online I came across something that stopped me. I did a little more investigation and then showed it to Brett. His eyes lit up, we looked at each other, and both knew right then this is what we want to do first.

Brett and I absolutely loved our time in England last fall, even the soggy final month that forced us to stay indoors most of the time. We especially enjoyed the walks we took through the Cotswolds countryside, so last week when I came across walking tours in England, I did did some more investigation, as I was curious about ones that walk the entire 102 miles of the Cotswold Way, from Chipping Campden to Bath.

One end of the Cotswold Way in Chipping Campden . . .
. . . and the other end in Bath. Engraved on the stones are the names of all the villages the footpath passes though.

I was quite surprised by how reasonably priced the tours were, considering they include lodging each night, breakfast every morning, luggage transport from village to village each day, as well as support and other amenities. Mostly walkers are on their own though, and walk their own pace each day. After checking out a few companies, I found one that offered an 13-night/12-day itinerary that I thought would work for us, with daily distances around 10 miles or less per day. When I shared the information with Brett for his opinion, it was one of those let’s do this moments for us, when an idea goes from a possibility to a goal. The 13-night Cotswold walking tour had everything we wanted, from being affordable to allowing us to return to a place we loved, and it was also a different sort of experience from anything we’ve done before.

The only question we had was, “can we do this?” Besides currently being in the middle of a raging pandemic, in two years Brett will be 72, and I will be 70 – definitely not spring chickens. However, I found several reviews and articles from successful walkers in their 70s and even 80s, and Brett and I spent some time and came up with a list of what we need and want to accomplish in the next two years to complete this goal:

  • Continue to stay healthy, continue to lose weight, and remain mobile. Avoiding Covid-19 is at the top of our list. If that means our only outings here for the next two years are walks in the park or hikes elsewhere, and weekly trips for food, so be it.
  • Gradually increase our walking distances to where we can easily include one or more 10-mile hikes per week. We’re walking 2+ miles per day now and getting ready to start pushing that distance up this week, but we have some work to do in the next two years to get ourselves in tip-top shape. I am going to have to practice walking up and down steeper hills, difficult for me now because of my knee injury.
  • Save, save, save. We want to tack on this trip to the end of our Fall 2022 Tokyo stay as flying to London from Tokyo is far, far less than the cost of flying there from Honolulu (and takes less time as well). Once I can figure out some costs we’ll set a savings goal and start working toward that.
  • Resist the temptation to add on additional travel while in England. This is currently the most difficult thing for me, but Brett has already put his foot down: a few days back in Blockley before we set off, the walking tour, and a few days in Bath at the end – that’s all!

Two years is a long time away, but with the current pandemic we think that’s a reasonable amount of time to wait, plus it allows us to get YaYu through school and attend her graduation. It feels so good though to finally have a solid travel goal to work toward, and time to hone the edges and make it happen.

24 thoughts on “We Have A Goal

  1. This goal sounds wonderful!! Think about you all the time and wonder how you’re adjusting to “life on the south”. Life on the north shore has been great. I’ll be getting back in shape soon. P.T. twice a week for awhile. I’m anxious to get back into our pool. You’ll have to come up one day and join me!!!!

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  2. Sounds like a fabulous goal. 2 years will fly by. And I do have to agree with Brett. Keep it focused on quality rather than quantity. I have to say my planning tends to go along the same lines as you, before you know it I will have tacked on an additional 6 things to the trip.

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    1. I sure hope these two years go quickly, but at the same time slow enough that we can get in the best shape possible and save the maximum.

      I am ALWAYS adding on things BUT Brett says he wants to keep it simple this time. He has said we maybe could spend a few days in London, so we’ll see.

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  3. My husband and I did this 3 years ago, and it was a great trip. We loved the long distance walking, and have since done 2 other routes, one in England, and one in Ireland.

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    1. We so enjoyed the distance walking we did, although this will be a step up for us, hence the training. We’re excited too about seeing more of the Cotswolds as well as visiting both Blockley and Bath again. If it all works out I could see us doing more of these kinds of trips.

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    1. We are so motivated, and planning the steps to increase our distance every couple of weeks. I think we’ve given ourselves enough time to not only get in shape and save enough, but also for the virus to be under control.

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  4. The Yorkshire Dalesman (monthly publication focused on the Yorkshire Dales and Lake Country) features a walk every month. It’s quite a big activity, and seems to be amenable to a range of capabilities and stamina. Probably good to do an organized tour the first time, but England seems to have developed with a terrific network of local villages (and pubs!) which allow a wide range of itineraries – single-day to multiple-day.

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    1. Thanks again Greg for another great source. The reason we decided on a tour this time is because it arranged all the lodging as well as get our luggage (limited this time) from place to place. We like the idea of having back-up support as well.

      Is anything planned for the 50th anniversary this year, or was that just impossible under the circumstances?

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  5. So I’ve done most of the Cotswold Way and met several people in their 70s who did all of it at one time (we have 30 miles from Painswick north to go). One of our B&B hosts mentioned a 90 year old who was walking. Just be sure to schedule some rest days. Not sure what company you want to use; I like Contours. Two people we met used Mac Adventures and liked our maps and guides better. When in Bath, be sure and check out the museum at the Royal Circle and the dress museum. I’m really psyched for you!

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    1. We met senior walkers when we were in England (not sure that anyone was in their 90s though) but no one that was doing the entire Way. I think the way the longer tour is set up allows for rest, with only a few hours of walking each day.

      I looked at Contours and liked their offerings, but their prices were high. We like Cotswolds Walking Company, but no final decision yet.

      We got as close to the Royal Crescent as the ha-ha in the park below, but it started raining so no museum. Also wanted to see the dress museum but no time! We’re both excited about going back, to see all the things we missed last time.

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    1. We had no idea that We would love England as much as we did – we are very excited about going back, and to an area we loved.

      I just hope this country gets it act together before then!

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  6. Wow, this sounds so perfect for y’all! I’ve never heard of this kind of trip but sounds like it is right up my alley too. (I’m going to have to tuck this idea in the back of my mind to do at some point in my life) Plus I also love the English countryside and can’t wait to ‘see’ it again via your blog.

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    1. I had heard of these tours before, but never really looked into them. A tour like this wouldn’t have worked for us before, but at this stage of our lives it’s perfect – something we’ve tried and liked (the walking) with arrangements made so we can do the whole thing.

      Two years seems a long way off right now but I know the time will move along more quickly than we imagined as it seems to do these days. I hope to still be blogging, and hope you’ll still be reading!

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    1. We are already so excited about this, and so motivated to get ourselves in shape for the walks. We loved our time there, and this will be a great way to see more of the area.

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  7. What an awesome goal! I’ve always wanted to walk Hadrian’s wall from east coast to west coast of England. The Cotswold Way sounds divine.

    A close friend walked the Camino de Santiago last fall and was very grateful for the necessary rest days she scheduled in every six days of walking. New Zealand hiker’s wool was a godsend between toes.

    When you say that the plan is to do the walk after your fall visit to Japan, how late in fall will you be in England? Before the rainy season?

    I love your goals…..the reporting as you count down and prepare as well as the reports while you are actually living the trip!

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