When I start walking this coming Sunday I’ll be taking pictures along the way of the different signs of the Camino. Sometimes they are a yellow arrow. Sometimes a scallop shell. Sometimes the sign includes both. These help you guide your way to Santiago. For some routes of the Camino the signs mean you never need to consult the map in your guidebook to know the way.
Just because you leave the Camino after finishing your walk, the Camino does not leave you. Nor do the signs. You may not see those signs daily, but they’re there. Sometimes they pop up at a moment when you really need them. They immediately transport you back to The Way.
After my first Camino I decided that I wanted to see a sign of the Camino every day. I wanted to be able to have something to instantly inspire thoughts of the Camino. Something to signify the pride I felt in completing a 500 mile walk and to remind me of the amazing people I met along the way. My sign – my tattoo makes me happy every time I look at it.
The other signs that aren’t always so easy to see might be right in front of your eyes. They’re there waiting to surprise you. A church I had walked past probably 100 times had a sign I had never noticed. Until one day I finally looked up and saw what had been there all along. Beautiful scallop shells on each of the doors.
My job at Geocaching HQ has been in the same office for the past eight years. For eight years I’ve been walking past the St. James condo complex. It has a big sign with its name on it. It was only two weeks ago that I realized my daily walk (my daily Camino) into the office ends right across the street from St. James!
People often come back from the Camino (The Way of St. James) and shortly after fall into a slight depression. The post Camino blues. Someone asked on a Facebook group how to deal with the sadness of not being on the Camino. Sometimes I think it’s just a matter of opening your eyes and noticing the signs of the Camino all around you. Let them take you back through fond memories or let them inspire you to return to the Camino.
As this is my third Camino, I already own all the clothes and gear I need for the trek. But part of the fun of planning for my next adventure is finding fun new gear for it. It could be as simple as new socks, but putting those new socks on for the first time can add a smile to your face. At least for me, trying out new gear makes me happy and inspires me to get outside more.
I’m not adding much new to my collection, but I couldn’t avoid taking advantage of a good deal on a new rain jacket that happened to be 50% off the other day. It’s not the ultimate rain jacket, not even goretex, but it’s lighter weight than any others I’ve owned and more importantly, it’s a pretty color. 🙂
Along with a nice Patagonia hoody (I LOVE hoodies) and new flip flops (how could I not??), the only other new piece of gear for this Camino is – you guessed it – a new pair of socks!
Last night, I tried putting all my items in my Camino pack to see what I might be missing or how I was doing for weight in the pack. I don’t know if it’s just the smaller hoody (ditching the warm thick jacket since I’m walking at the hottest time of year), but my pack has a lot of room left in it and feels lighter than ever. This is good since I haven’t had as much time for serious training for this Camino and may need all the breaks I can get. 🙂
The other factor in planning this trip is similar to last year, as I’ll be heading up to the UK after the walk and need my clothes to work in a variety of climates. I also need my official Geocaching HQ staff shirt as I’ll be headed to a geocaching Mega-Event in Manchester for work.
This year’s list:
- Arcteryx 37 liter backpack
- REI backpack rain cover
- Brooks Cascadia trail runner shoes – goretex
- Havaiana Flip flops
- Trekking poles
- Columbia water bottle
- Platypus foldable water bottle
- Black Diamond throw blanket
- Lightweight blow up pillow (splurge item)
- North Face rain jacket
- Patagonia hoody
- 1 pair of yoga pants
- 1 pair North Face hiking pants
- 1 pair of North Face hiking shorts
- 1 skort
- 1 pairs of Darn Tough wool socks
- 2 pair of Smartwool socks
- 1 Geocaching HQ cotton t-shirt
- 2 quick dry shirts
- 1 quick dry long sleeve shirt
- 1 tank top
- Ball cap
- Lightweight poncho
- 3-4 pairs of undies
- Backpacking quick dry towel
- Toiletries including mini shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.
- Fingernail clippers
- Fingernail polish (splurge item)
- Minimal first aid kit including band-aids, moleskin and Compeed
- Advil, Advil PM, Vitamins
- Mini toilet paper roll
- Needles with thread
- Extra chapstick
- Mini sunscreen
- Battery charger for iPhone
- Charging cables for iPhone, Fitbit and battery charger
- 3 International plug-ins (Spain/Portugal and UK)
- USB charger plug with two USB ports (charge two things at once)
- Camino Portuguese guidebook
- Small carabiners to hang things from backpack
- Lightweight purse or fanny pack with passport, cards and euros
- Mini roll of duct tape
- Clothes pins for drying clothes
- 2 Reusable shopping bags (for storing clothes)
- 1 organization compartments
- Buff scarf
- Sounders FC Scarf (splurge item)
- Camino cinch pack
- Snacks including beef jerky, granola bars and energy jelly beans
- Scallop shell
Knowing that you can purchase almost anything you need on the Camino is something you hear the first time you go but you still overpack anyway. Being a bit more seasoned pilgrim, I know I can trust that I can find anything I might need along the way. Keeping things simple with packing helps keep things less complicated – perhaps one could say that for many things in life.