There are a lot of things I’ve done or am doing to get ready for my Camino walk. Though I know no how much I prepare, there will be things that come up that I haven’t thought of along the way. There will be aches and pains I never thought possible. There will be bad weather and hopefully even more good.
I spent the last few years learning everything I could about the Camino. Sure, I heard about it and knew I wanted to do it “someday.” But when the realization that I didn’t have to wait until I retired came, I had to get more serious. What would it take to do something like this? How many days should the French route take me? How much do I need to save for it? What kind of training should I do?
There are countless online sources for the Camino. Informational websites, forums, maps, etc. Many people have written books on the Camino – from personal experience stories to day by day guides. The local American Pilgrims group has a website, hosts regular walks with experienced pilgrims and those planning for their pilgrimage. They also host annual talks at the local REI where various speakers give you the quick how-to on planning your journey. Since my friend/coworker Jenn and I both wanted to walk the Camino, we attended these REI talks and a couple walks with the Pilgrims group. Add the fact that Jenn completed the Camino last year and other friends had their own experiences walking, I’ve had access to some very helpful information.
Because I’m addicted to the Alaska Airlines mileage program, I do whatever I can to acquire miles. Mostly I travel to acquire more miles to earn “free” travel. So that trip to Hawaii and that trip to Nashville last Fall helped put my accrued miles over the edge of getting a “free” trip. So it wasn’t exactly free, but when it came time to book my flights for this trip, I used about 60k miles and $200 dollars. Flying into Paris and out of London – which means I get to visit two major cities I’ve always wanted to visit!
Then I had to figure out a plan to get from Paris to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port. So a flight was booked from Paris to Biarritz. Then I get to take a bus to Bayonne. Then a train to somewhere else and then a bus to St-Jean. I think. 🙂 Still working on the final plans.
I have yet to figure out how I’m getting from Santiago to London. Since I don’t know what day I’m finishing the Camino, I can’t make firm plans just yet. If I get done quickly, I might want to visit Portugal after. If I don’t, I might need to head straight to London. I guess I’ll figure this out on the way.
A couple months ago I started a list of the things I need or think I’ll need for the Camino. These are the things I’ll be wearing or carrying in my backpack. I’ve slowly been acquiring these items over the last several months. A backpack, sleeping bag, poncho, new shoes, etc. More recently, I’ve started a list of the things I need to organize before I go. Bills still have to get paid, my plant still needs water and my fish still needs food. So I’ve been making plans for my Seattle logistics while I’m away.
Walking, then walking some more. I’ve been doing a lot of walking and trying to get hikes in whenever I can. I’ll be stepping this up even more than I already have over the next month. Carrying more and more weight in my pack as I go. I walked 22 miles over the weekend and am still feeling good today, so hopefully I’m on the right track.