May 10th 2014: Today was day 9….I’m feeling fatigued.

By Shannon

When the alarm goes off at 7:30am, the last thing I want to do is get out of bed. I’m so not a morning person. But we both get up and head downstairs for breakfast and coffee. Father Pierre stamps our credentials and give us step-by-step instructions in English on how to get to the next town! He tells us they were written by a Portuguese pilgrim and then translated to English. Eric and I excitedly talk about how this means we for sure won’t get lost tomorrow when we head to Oloron-Sainte-Marie.

This cat is one that Father Pierre adopted six years ago after she followed a pilgrim here.

This cat is one that Father Pierre adopted six years ago after she followed a pilgrim here.

Since I have a call that night, we are staying in Arudy for one more night and back at the same hotel. We decided to see if we can check in early since we know the hotel is not full. I was looking forward to spending the day relaxing in bed before our big hike tomorrow, working, and catching up on more writing.

But that’s not what the day had in store for us:

  • We decided to grab coffee at a cafe first, across from the hotel.
  • At 10:30am I convince Eric that we could probably talk the hotel into letting us check-in now. I’m anxious to get some wifi and get some work done. You can’t get wifi anywhere in this town.
  • Eric walks across the street to the hotel and comes back to report here is no one there and the front door is locked. He proceeds to explain to me that the sign on the door says that they don’t open on Saturday’s until 2pm.
  • I ask Eric what we are supposed to do until 2pm and he tells me nothing. Just wait.
  • I get mad at him for being so patient. I feeling moody and I hate that we can’t go into the hotel until 2pm. If the door is unlocked we could at least go to the lobby, get on wifi, and work. I go on and on about how that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. A hotel that has no one at reception until 2pm?
  • Eric continues to be his super patient self, which makes me even more antsy so I storm off and start walking down the street. Only we are in this small village and there’s not really anywhere to storm off to. So I return to our table at the cafe.
  • Eric won’t stop filming me on camera. Prodding me to give him what he wants – drama. So while he has the camera on, I tell him I don’t give him permission to use this footage and that I will sue him for using it. Eventually we laugh about how I’d actually be sueing myself to if I sue him since we have one LLC.
  • At about 12pm, we head to another restaurant for lunch. I think to myself, OK, just 2 more hours and then we can check-in.
  • After lunch, and right at 2pm, we head over to the hotel, which is right next door, and I read the same sign that Eric told me about and it says on Saturdays until May 1st, the reception won’t open until 6pm. Only it’s after May 1st. I’m super annoyed now because, our booking confirmation says we can check-in at 2pm and because we’ve planned our hiking days around the days I have client calls and now, this is messing with work as I have a client call in one hour.
  • Eric leaves me at the front of the hotel with our packs as he goes off in search of a phone. Our friends at the restaurant next door send Eric over the tourist office. They call the hotel for us, but only get a voice mail. When Eric explains our predicament to the woman working the front desk, she happily offers for us to sit in the tourist office and use their wifi. So we shlep our stuff back across the street where we wait until 6pm. At least I have wifi and everyone who passes by us is very nice. No one is at all surprised we are having a difficult time with the hotel. But it’s the only hotel in this area, so what can we do but wait.
  • Finally 6pm rolls around and we go to the hotel. Were the owners start yelling at us about how the fine print says that they don’t actually open up until 6pm. We notice they have taken down the sign on their front door that states they will be closed on Saturdays only until May 1st they will be closed until 6pm on Saturdays in order to cover themselves.
  • Eric is yelling with them and finally, he just says, “We just want to check-in”. I know he doesn’t want to concede, but he knows I have my call at 7pm. So we agree to take it up with the Booking.com instead of the hotel. We hand over our credit card and check-in.
  • When it’s time for my call, the wifi stops working. It becomes too sporadic for me to even keep trying and it kicks me off every 5 minutes. There’s no other wifi anywhere in town and the tourist office is closed so I give up, crawl into bed, and decided now is a good time to binge watch The Good Wife, which I had already downloaded from itunes.
The woman at the tourist office who gave us wifi and coffee while we waited for our hotel to open.

The woman at the tourist office who gave us wifi and coffee while we waited for our hotel to open.

My biggest stressor for this trip is wifi. I’m always plotting and planning our stops to ensure that I have reliable wifi to work on the days I need to work, which is generally Wednesday and Thursday nights, and an occasional Saturday. What makes it more challenging is that I can’t just sit in a cafe, I have to have to be in a private, quiet space. I’ve always been fine with my crazy schedule and wifi stress, because my work means that we get do things like hike the Camino for a few months.

I know that beyond doing the research and contacting hotels to see how reliable their wifi, trying to find reviews online, this is something that’s out of my control.

I found amazing wifi in the middle of nowhere Turkey. But here in France, in this town, I can hardly get a signal. I know the work-alcoholic in me is going to struggle on the camino. Even though we’ve been traveling for the last few years, I’ve never had to go a day without being connected. The idea of going days without internet causes me anxiety. But I know that means I need to learn to be OK with disconnecting sometimes. I can’t help but think that if I spend more time disconnecting from work, I might connect with myself more. And I know that it will help my relationship with Eric. I can see how annoyed he gets with me each time he knows my mind is turning to work, even when it shouldn’t be.

I just want to get out of this town. I’m so done with Arudy.

Distance: 2,623 Steps (1.17 miles)
Location:Arudy, France

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2 Responses to May 10th 2014: Today was day 9….I’m feeling fatigued.

  1. chipmunk says:

    I love this realization, Shannon!! And yes, disconnecting from wifi will lead to more connection with yourself and… the nature!! <3

  2. Maria says:

    Yes it is very difficult to disconnect, but when you do it helps you become calm and realize that there is more to life than electronics. See the beauty of the towns you visit, the people you meet and the animals that you come across. Those are the things that are most important. Enjoy where you are and who you are with.
    I have faith in you Shannon and know you will make it through!

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