First published 5th April 2017, this is my most viewed, liked and commented post ever. As it turned out, this walking path and the associated travel became one of the most profound and treasured experiences of my life. It is said that the Camino teaches us all a life lesson. Mine was patience and it has served me well in the intervening four years. I now know I can achieve anything with one small step after another and I know that whether it rains or shines, we Camino.
It has taken hold this morning. After weeks of looking forward to it and rushing about organising, this morning I was struck with, ‘oh no, what am I thinking!’ and ‘I can’t do this’. It turns out I’m a bit scared.
The first part of my travel is with my family in the UK and this is not scary at all. The second part, I’m on my own, off to Spain. I’ve travelled a fair bit on my own by now and even to scary places for me like Sicily and Naples but always as a tourist. Never have I needed to achieve a challenging outcome, alone.
This is my empty credential that will be stamped to mark my progress along my Camino, walking the 116 kms from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela.
I have been doing the work my end by training hard, jogging and walking nearly every day for weeks. As I see it, my Camino started in January this year, I’m already 3 months in! But despite this, I fear blisters, sore, aching feet, and stiff knees, all culminating in being unable to walk, having to take the bus, and failing. The forums and threads all talk about needles and plasters, and wool, and compeed, and arnica and and and…
Then I look at the maps and detailed information and I start to panic further.
For example, this picture shows where my accommodation is one night in relation to the actual walk path! Apparently I just ‘call a number for pick up when I am ready’. There is some logistics involved in that phrase. I know I could try to change accommodation but I think I will face this and perhaps it will be wonderful and I’ll be so pleased I just did it?
Can you see in the pale fine print following the letter i in the picture below? That there are no facilities for 7.4kms past this cafe,… that must mean no toilet for 7.4km! I am a 48 year old woman that has had 2 big babies many years ago! (I’m feeling like a big baby myself at the moment).
I asked the question about toilets and furtive peeing behind bushes on a closed group Camino page on Facebook and all the trolls came out to play. Apparently I am representative of the devolution of humanity for being so dumb I don’t know how to pee in nature, also, had I considered just going to Benidorm and leaving the Camino alone. Hmmm, I’m unsure how to react so don’t say anything but I now know that this is not a safe place to ask questions.
There are maps with the terrain and hill climbs…(knees, knees knees…)
This is the best map of all. Where I will complete my journey. This is the image that excites me. (Maybe by then it will sadden me as all this training and planning comes to a close??).
And then I plan to have a bit of fun exploring some of Spain before I leave the country. I don’t think I’ll get to most of what I have circled but it’s all up for grabs.
I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.