Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.Ibn Battuta, Travels of Ibn Battuta
We have been planning for over a year, had a multitude of setbacks, a lot of excitement, and a huge set of nerves as we take on our biggest adventure ever! We hope we’re ready, we pray the weather is kind to us, and we want to bring all of you along! During June and July, we will be hiking about 722 miles or 1162 kilometers. We will hike part of the Camino Frances from León to Santiago, then we will hike all of the Caminho Portugués from Lisbon to Santiago. We will then conclude with the Camino Finisterre from Santiago to Muxia to Finisterre and back to Santiago.
There are so many paths to take when you are planning a Camino, it’s hard to pick a route. Just look at the maps below – that is just the routes in Spain, Portugal, and a bit of what is in France. We wanted something new and a bit of what we have done before to reminisce on our favorite parts. Last time we walked all of the Camino Frances and then from Santiago to Finisterre, so much of what we will be doing this time will be new.
There are Camino routes throughout Europe and we want to walk so many of them! It’s like a bug that has lovingly bitten us hard. When we travel in the US, our goals have been to visit every state and every national park and we are getting very close to reaching those two goals. Therefore, we are coming up with new travel goals, and though we may not walk every Camino path, but we are sure going to have fun picking a new route each time we travel to Europe.
I sometimes envy those who don’t plan or train at all for their Camino pilgrimage. When it comes to a quick weekend getaway, we usually don’t have a plan. If we are going away for a week’s vacation, we have a rough idea of “things to do” but nothing too rigid. However, in both cases, we know where we are sleeping each night, which in turn is all we know about our Camino. Honestly, we don’t even know if we will walk or bus/taxi to our destination village every night. We plan to walk, we hope to walk, but sometimes life says, “today you aren’t going to walk.” We are flexible. We know from our Camino 2017 that sometimes you just have to taxi/bus to your destination. We ended up taking a bus/taxi 3 times, about 12 km total, in 2017 because of the heat and illness. It happens. Our “plan” is to simply walk without worry and trust that each day will go exactly as it is supposed to go. However, we are well aware that just like in 2017, Spain is expecting record high temperatures. Therefore, we will be waking up early and hoping for the best.
We will arrive in Madrid on June 10th, so at this point, the only things left to do are (1) pack our backpacks and (2) take a few more short walks. When it comes to your backpack there are a couple of major considerations, they are:
- How can I keep the weight down?
- What can and can’t I live without?
- What clothing will dry easily overnight?
- Can I get it along the Way if I need it so I don’t have to carry it?
We have assessed, evaluated, considered, and paired down as much as we can. Some will say our packs are too heavy while others will say our packs are too light. They weigh less than the last time we walked the Camino and they will get lighter as we go. The goal for clothing is to have something to wear during the day, wear in the evenings, and wear in the pool/while the other clothes are getting washed.
As for Michelle, with her pack coming in just over 15 pounds before water, here is what she is carrying (including the clothes on her back):
- 2 tank tops, 1 short sleeve shirt, 1 zip-up jacket for cool mornings, 1 raincoat
- 1 pair of leggings, 1 pair of roll-up hiking pants, and 1 pair of lightweight shorts
- 1 pair of compression socks, 2 pairs of double layer socks
- 2 pairs of underwear
- Panty liners to help with overall freshness. Yes, I could buy them as I go but I have a brand I love and my pack will get lighter as I go.
- 2 sports bras, not the ones that slip over your head because it will be too hot for pulling anything over my head (I remember well from our last Camino)!
- Hiking shoes and tennis shoes for the daytime and super lightweight Crocs for evenings and rest days. I have a lot of foot problems and I am praying this variety helps.
- Toiletries include: conditioner, razor (Brian has shave gel for us both), brush, tweezers, nail clippers, camp soap (it will wash my hair/body and our clothes), cotton balls, face cleaner, q-tips
- Misc: Bandana, head wrap that has a visor on it, hair clip, 2 ponytail holders, 2 Pro Bars in case of an emergency, a bottle of electrolytes, roll up water bladder, tissues, one small roll of toilet paper, main water bladder, rain cover for the backpack, and wide angle lens
- Vitamins and medications. Yes, I can get vitamins in Spain but I have them all portioned out so I don’t have to think about it. I have an auto-immune disorder and I am anemic so this is my assurance that I will be ok.
As for Brian, with his pack coming in just over 18 pounds before water, here is what he is carrying:
- 2 tech t-shirts, 1 polo shirt, 1 long sleeve shirt, and a rain jacket
- 1 of each hiking shorts, zip-off pants, and gym shorts
- 1 pair of socks and 2 pair of underwear
- Chacos to walk in and Crocs for evenings and rest days
- Buff and bandana
- A roll of string and safety pins for drying laundry
- Vitamins and medication
- Toiletry kit including soap, shampoo, razor with extra cartridges, shave gel, q-tips, cotton balls, face cleaner, sun screen, toothbrush, and toothpaste
- Misc: 2 Pro Bars in case of an emergency, a bottle of electrolytes, roll up water bladder, tissues, main water bladder, extra carabiners, rain cover for the backpack, battery back-up, portable keyboard for blogging, and Camino guidebooks
- The gimbal for recording video along the Way
- Foot balm and tension ball for easing foot pain
- Cruisin’ with the Colemans stickers to pass out
- The first aid kit which is explained below
We carry a small first aid kit, as everyone should, in case of an emergency on the trail. Here is what we have in our kit:
- Various sizes of band-aids and steri-strips
- Wet ones to clean your hands before cleaning a wound on the trail
- One pair of disposable gloves in case we have to help another pilgrim
- Tape, gauze, Neosporin, tweezers, and scissors
- A bottle with Benedryl, Advil, and Aleve
- Anti-inflammatory cream and Cortizone from our last trip to Spain. We will be bringing more of this stuff home because it’s amazing!!
- Needle and thread for draining blisters
- Tums and anti-diarrhea meds
Our fanny packs include the essential things that you need access to while we’re walking. This includes:
- Passport, pilgrim passport, money, credit cards
- Phone, headphones, charging cords, European charger, and wide-angle lens
- Chapstick, gum, tissues, Charmin wipes, and utter smooth butt cream
- Shells to leave along the Way and rocks to leave at Cruz de Ferro
The only thing left to do is take a few short walks with our final backpack loads in the week leading up to our departure date. We want to keep our legs loose but we don’t need to do anything big this week. We certainly don’t want to injure ourselves.
The final thing we did this week was to have a conversation with the fantastic Dan Mullins. Dan has a weekly podcast called My Camino (this is the link to our talk with Dan). He talks to pilgrims from all walks of life, from all over the world. This podcast has been very inspiring to us and we are blessed to be able to have a conversation with Dan. We look forward to listening to a new episode every week and going back to listen to old episodes. If you need inspiration while you wait to walk your Camino, check out Dan’s podcast. Oh, and don’t forget to buy his song, Somewhere Along the Way, I have it on my playlist to enjoy while we walk!
During the podcast, I talked about how our Camino 2017 overwhelmed my senses. I don’t know if you find this a positive statement or not, or if you even know what it means, but to me, it summarizes the wheel of emotions I felt along the Way. From hearing the many languages and trying to communicate in a foreign land, to smelling the new foods and flowers, to seeing new sights daily, to tasting new foods and wine daily, and to feeling a huge array of emotions, the Camino overwhelmed me. It made it tough at times but now I am drawn to it. I want to feel those feelings again. I want to embrace my emotions more than feel overwhelmed by them. We travel all over the US and my senses are never as overwhelmed because it’s not like everything I experience is new. For example, the landscape may be different when we travel out West, but the food and language are similar. I believe that feeling overwhelmed by your senses is why people bungee jump, skydive, or zipline. The Camino changed our lives and I can’t wait to see what changes will follow this Camino. I talked a bit more about our Camino 2017 in this blog post, Rock Bottom: Why I Almost Quit My Camino. Thank you, Dan, for allowing us to reminisce on our 2017 Camino and get us excited for the new journey just around the corner.
Thank you to our blog subscribers for indulging our many passions from the Camino, to RVing, to traveling, to cooking. We enjoy reminiscing about our adventures, we hope you appreciate reading about them. If you are not a subscriber, scroll to the bottom of this page and add your name to our email list. The only emails you will receive from us are notifications of our blog posts.
Buen Camino friends. We hope to see you Along the Way.