Back to the Future…Camino style


Remember these shoes from last year? I walked a whole week on the Camino, and bombarded my feed with photos and waxed philosophic about what it all meant and laughed at myself at the preposterousness of my thinking I even had a clue. 

Most people take a month to six weeks to walk the whole Way of St. James. Others take longer, or do it in smaller chunks. But they eventually do it. Somehow. 

The way I’m doing it seems to be rather convoluted and I’ll briefly tell you why: the whole time I was walking into little Spanish villages and their monasteries and/or churches last year, I kept saying to myself, ‘I wish my mom could see this. Wish she could experience what this whole thing is like.’

My friend Nathan even mentioned having biked the route with his mother, and I thought, ‘That cheating bastard…you can’t be a pilgrim on a brand new shiny bicycle.’ 

I’m here to tell you I was wrong. I’ve slowly come round to the philosophy that however you transverse the damned thing is really your business. 

I’m going to show a bit of it to my mom. She can’t walk it, but she’ll come along with me, and we’ll see some of those things I wanted to share with her last year. If there’s time, I might even take her to Santiago

That’s not cool, though. Right? You can’t just go to the end of a pilgrimage without having made the pilgrimage? Sure you can, and we just might. 

Here’s what I intend to do: write about it. Before during and after. I met people last year who’d fantasized about going on the Camino de Santiago for decades. They finally made their way and fulfilled a longtime dream. 

My friend Casey made noises about joining me someday, so I’m going to extend this invitation to her and anyone else who’s so inclined. 

First of all, join one of the groups of pilgrims – there’s a private Facebook group just for women that I’ve heard is quite extraordinary. 

Secondly, read about their experiences, watch that Martin Sheen movie or one of the many documentaries about the Camino, or talk to me. Leave a comment below if you want to hear my take on this. Anything, really. 
Finally, like last year, it’s pretty much all I’ll be talking about the next few weeks. If nothing else, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the photos. 

Walking down the road…or getting ready to

Camino symbol

When I first started hiking here in the German Alps, I kept seeing that symbol above. ‘What is that?‘ I’d ask.

Oh, it’s the Jakobsweg.

Huh? What’s the Jakobsweg?

You know, it’s a pilgrimage. One of the oldest ones in Europe, I think. Many people walk it.

Now that I know a bit more about it, I can tell you: some English names for it are The CaminoThe Road to Santiago, The Way of St James or St James’s Way depending on your preference.

The long and short of it is that I’ve said for years, ‘I want to go do that someday.‘ There was a German bestseller about walking the route (the name of the book I won’t bother mentioning), and although the Jakobsweg was already very popular hereabouts, it suddenly became even more so.

Then I saw the Emilio Estevez movie ‘The Way‘ (starring his father Martin Sheen), and not long after that I was asked if I wanted to come along and do some Walking Down the Road. Yes, I did.

I still do.

There’s a lot that goes into planning such a thing, and the more I read about it, the more out of my depths it seems I am. However, there seem to be plenty of folk who do this and they seem to do it and even make it back somehow.

To be clear up front: I’m not even planning on walking the whole thing. My intention is to get a taste for it, and from what I understand: once I do, I’ll definitely want to go again.

I’ve been alternating between obsessing about which shoes I’ll wear and imagining how delicious the Tapas in Logroño are. Already, I’ve decided I’ll be documenting as much of it here as I can.

Not just the actual walking of The Camino, but I intend to blather on about the preparation and I suspect I might find myself contemplating what it meant to me long after I get back home.

Like I said, I’ve still got to decide on footwear. Here’s a photo of me taking one pair out for a test drive. I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing plenty more of this sort of thing in the foreseeable future. Something tells me you can hardly wait.

Camino prep stuff