21 days to walking. 17 days until boarding the plane. Things are starting to get extremely real now. It’s crunch time for training. Almost crunch time for last minute packing the items we will carry on our backs for our walk.
Minus a few last minute essentials and snacks for the plane, I’m ready to go. Mentally I’ve been ready since I finished my first Camino two years ago. Physically I think I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. I feel great on my training walks. Even better than I did while training the last time around.
In 17 days, Laurel, Craig, Rachel, my cousin Justine and I will be taking off from Seattle. Maurice will leave his home in Philadelphia. The next day John will leave from Ireland and we will all meet in Porto at the end of the day. It feels a bit like cheating to already start our walk with our Camino family formed but I am so excited to see these people who mean so much to me from different places in my life come together and share this journey. I also won’t be surprised if our family expands on The Way.
Our route will start off with a very long day of 21 Miles of walking from Porto to Vila do Conde. We’ve chosen this as it will be a much more beautiful route along the river and ocean instead of enduring city streets and industrial sections on the outskirts of Porto. Many choose to bus out of the city because it’s not pleasant walking, but instead we’ll add some extra miles and walk the first day on the coastal route.
We’ll follow the cities on the map above to Santiago. Because we decided to stay in Porto an extra day for the St. John’s festival, we have only given ourselves 10 days to reach Santiago. We’ll then have a rest day to enjoy Santiago before mostly parting ways. It’ll be a tough ten days but I feel confident in the group to do it and have an amazing time!
I think we are all doing as much training as we can for these last few weeks. As I write this, I’m currently on what I hope to make a 10-11 mile training walk. My goal for this weekend has been to walk 25 miles. It’s a good way for my body to remember what back to back long walks feels like. Between soccer games and my walks to work I’ll have at least three 10 mile days during the week. Next weekend I’ve got my eyes on a hike with a lot of elevation gain.
Yesterday Rachel, Craig and I went on a 14 mile training walk with our packs full. We all had about 20 pounds each in our packs. Ideally a pack should be around 15 pounds or 10% of your body weight. This morning I was going through an eliminating unnecessary items. I’ll likely do this one more time before leaving.
I think all three of us felt a sense of relief that we felt pretty good about the distance and the way our packs felt on the training walk. It was a great test to see what a typical day on the Camino will feel like. Yesterday also made me more excited than ever when I realized just how close we are to leaving.
I think other pilgrims would agree with me that the Camino becomes so much a part of you that the idea of going back feels like going home again. I have a few homes in this world, Idaho, Seattle, New Zealand, Ireland and the Camino. I can’t wait to get back home.