When you are taking on a new adventure, it’s important to answer a few questions. Here were a number of questions that came up before Chazelle and I walked the Camino de Santiago.
Question #1: “Are you traveling alone?”
Answer: “No. My dear friend, Chazelle; an artist, librarian and children’s book illustrator, decided to make this journey with me. We have been friends for a number of years.”
Question: “Why are you walking the Camino de Santiago?”
The Short Answer: The truth is, I’ve always believed in God. I believe in something greater than myself. This is my source, wherein find the ability to love many; the strength to overcome obstacles: and the challenge to always improve myself. I feel called to complete the Camino. I’ve put it off since 2007. It’s taken me seven more years to find my courage, let go, have faith and follow my heart.”
The Long Answer: Read Riding the Camino Dragon about the whole adventure.
Question: “How long will you be gone?”
Answer: “A total of seven weeks. We will be in Paris, France, for one week; catch a flight from Paris to Pamplona, Spain. We will begin our Camino in Pamplona. Once we walk to Santiago, Spain, we will make our way to Portugal until we fly out of Lisbon and land back in Sacramento on my brother’s birthday, August 16, 2014.”
Question: “How far is the trek?”
Answer: “We plan to walk a total of 440 miles, averaging 14 to 18 miles per day for 29 days. Yes, that’s longer than a half marathon, every day for over a month.”
Question: “Have you trained for this?”
Answer: “Yes. Although regardless of the physical training we have undergone, nothing will fully prepare us for the experience that awaits. Most advice say submits that you train on the trail.”
Question: “Do you have good shoes?”
Answer: “I have the greatest shoes on the planet. They are Lowa hiking shoes that I wore while climbing Half Dome twice and trekking all over India. One of the shoes went missing for two years and recently re-emerged. Perhaps it was meant to be.” (In future posts, I discovered these shoes did me no favors on the Camino).
Question: “How much luggage are you taking with you?”
The Short Answer: “This is a minimalist experience. We will carry day packs with two shirts, one pair of shorts, one pair of pants, etc. The goal is to keep the weight of your pack at 10% of your body weight. So my pack shouldn’t weigh more than 13 pounds when it’s all said and done. We plan to have our backpacks be small enough to be flight carry on’s.”
The Long Answer:
What do you choose to bring, when you live out of a backpack for seven weeks?
The Answer: Minimalism is the name of the game.
Since the overall goal is to have a pack that is 10% of your body weight and nothing more. After all, when you are walking five hundred miles, every pound counts. I’ve tried, therefore, to keep my pack at 13 pounds or less.
Here is a short list of the items I’ve included in the day-pack I’ll be rocking like a tortoise shell the next seven weeks:
- Money belt, passport, tickets
- Water bottle, hat, sunblock, sunglasses
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, soap, comb
- Hiking shoes, flip flops
- Socks, undergarments, towel
- Sleep sack, travel pillow, melatonin strips, eye mask, ear plugs
- Shorts, pants, pj’s, t-shirt, tank top, swim suit, dress, light jacket, poncho
- Journal, pen, iPad, headphones, charger, mini camera
- ibuprofen, deodorant, mole skin, first aid kit
All said and done, my pack weighed in at 16 pounds. Just don’t tell the experts; I won’t tell if you won’t.
Question: “Will you stay in touch while you are gone?”
Answer: “Part of the experience of walking the Camino de Santiago is getting away from normal life distractions and electronics. This being said, we will be traveling in a foreign country (3, actually) and want our families, friends and loved ones to know we are safe. Therefore, I’ll make an effort to post a blog (web access permitting, of course) once per week, on Travelogue Tuesday.”