True story: Back in 2012, after returning home from a semester abroad in Spain, I landed a job waiting tables at the hippest breakfast restaurant in Denver, CO. It was the first day of orientation and along with maybe 20 strangers I sat in a brand new remodeled restaurant in downtown Denver, ready to sample some bacon. One of the managers, who’d soon become one of my dearest friends (Dana) passed around a roll of toilet paper and instructed everyone to take as many sheets as they wanted. No other directions. (V important detail) So, I watch as these sissy’s take 1… 2, maybe 5 pieces. When the roll finally gets to me, I take no less than THIRTY sheets of toilet paper. I’m sure at this point my best friend Michael (who got me the job) is rolling his eyes all the way into the back of his head. Anyway….. Dana, then reveals that we would be introducing ourselves to the group and providing facts about who we are. For each sheet of paper we took, we were forced into providing one fact about ourselves. Needless to say, I was there giving arbitrary facts to a bunch of strangers for what felt like hours. Despite not knowing it then, I now realize that this would quickly become a great example of who I am and what kind of decisions I make. Still to this day.
Hello everyone! My name is Jillian Renee Salazar, I am extremely impulsive, and I love attention! Welcome!
Which brings us to today. The end of September is approaching and I am about to embark on perhaps the biggest…and scariest adventure to date. Let’s start from the beginning. I’ll try not to go on for hours this time. I hail from the boring city of Colorado Springs, Colorado. My siblings and I were raised by an incredibly hard-working, single mother, who growing up always told us “I don’t care what you do, just see the world!”. So, that’s exactly what I did. Shout out Mom for the great advice!
Spain was the first country I’d ever traveled to outside of the US and after that I hit the ground running. I have been traveling around the world consistently for about a year and a half now. My adventures have taken me to many of the states within the contiguous US, Hawaii, Greece, Guatemala, Ireland, Belize and Mexico. And in true, unpredictable Jillian fashion, in about 10 days I will be off to the next adventure! Extremely unprepared, very nervous, and sooooo freaking excited. I will have come full circle, returning to Spain to WALK the 500 mile Camino de Santiago! Starting at the border of France and ending at the west end of Spain in Santiago de Compostela.
On August 25th, 2018 I met a women named Marianne at a suburban mom book club in Boulder. (Don’t ask, lol) Marianne casually mentioned she had done the Camino earlier this year. It was then in that very moment that I decided that I too would be doing this walk. And hey, why not in a month?! Yes, I am a born and raised Colorado native, but you are more likely to find me boozing it up at brunch on any given Sunday, than enjoying a nice brisk hike in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. I’ve never even been skiing or snowboarding for God’s sake! I use to be able to call myself a runner. I can proudly say that my sister Sarah and I were quite successful in track and field in middle and high school, but realistically the last time I ran a race was the Bolder Boulder a couple of years ago. My best friend Erin and I got swept up near the end. And if you don’t know race lingo, swept up = slow as f*ck. So slow that a golf cart picks you up and takes you to the end. LOL I’ll blame that one on all the mimosas during the race though. Any who, that’s where I’m at today.
I can proudly say, one of my best qualities is that when I proclaim that I’m going to do something… gawd damn it, I’M GON’ DO IT! I’m a woman of my word! So, before returning to Mexico City (where I call home these days) I ran around buying expensive hiking gear and thanks to Marianne making somewhat of a plan. I have been carb loading on tacos: for gains duh, and praying to who knows who to help me through this. I hear the first step is always the hardest. I invite you all to tag along and check out my blog every now and then. I intend for this blog to not only serve as a place to document my feelings while walking the Camino, but also to record some of my life “miles”. Something I’ve learned while traveling and you’ll catch onto quickly is I don’t know sh*t. Like, nothing. About anything. I’m learning who I am, what I want my legacy to be and just doing my best to be a good human. (Which is much harder than we all think.)
On a more serious note, I’d like this blog to capture all the things… physically, mentally, & emotionally that I’ve been experiencing while being a solo, female traveler, being away from my family, and honestly not knowing what the hell I’m doing with my life at any given moment. Life is a long trip full of different terrains. So, let’s go… It’s only a jillian miles!
For more info about the Camino de Santiago: