I will tell you what the Camino is shortly. If you haven’t heard of it before this, don’t feel bad. Until July 2017 I had never heard of the Way of Saint James.
The Camino de Santiago or The Way of Saint James, is an ancient pilgrimage route that ends in Santiago de Compostela, Spain and starts at locations throughout Europe. For over 1000 years people have been walking these routes for religious, spiritual, health and many more reasons.
There is plenty of info on the Camino so I will let you explore the topic as deeply as you wish.
I will provide you with plenty of resources as well, in the event the Camino calls you.
My Introduction to the Camino
A friend, Winona Lowe, started posting information about fulfilling an item on her bucket list on her Facebook page June 2017. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I loved her periodic postings about a very long walk she was taking across Spain.
Winona and her walking partner, Jen White, looked strong and stylish as they trekked (and biked) across the Iberian Peninsula. So, what would make me think I too could complete this hike?
Unlike other well-known, great wilderness hikes (the Long Trail, the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail), the Camino is relatively luxurious. No need for tents or carrying a week’s worth of food. Along the Camino Frances, every 5 to 10 kilometers there is a town with food and restaurants (aka “Bars” in Spain) as well as pilgrim accommodations that include beds and most of the time, hot showers. I can do this!
But I am not one to commit to something until I know I can do it. So for several months late last summer and fall, I walked early in the morning testing my ability to go farther and farther. Yes! I can do this!
Training and Planning for My Camino
No matter what I do, I jump in 110% with both feet and that has been true with the Camino too.
I feel like I have earned my Camino PhD this past year. I have read books, listened to podcasts, met others who have made the pilgrimage and watched movies and YouTube videos.
I also have been training by walking A LOT! I started last fall and walked 8 to 10 kilometers 5-6 days a week. I slacked in the winter because it was damn cold and the conditions were sloppy, snowy or slippery. In the spring I started the training back up. (Note to self: when you slack for several months on any type of physical regimen, it is like starting all over again when you pick it back up.)
More on training later.
Gear Trials and Tribulations
As important as the training is having the right gear and the right pack. That has proven to be more challenging than I expected! I will go into this in more detail later. For not, let’s just say it isn’t too early to start working out the kinks in what you plan to bring with you.
What I have discovered, is the day I decided to walk the Camino, is the day my Camino began.