I Want to Walk the Camino

walk the Camino de Santiago

I’m not a religious person. And people who know me would be surprised that from time to time, I even pray. It’s not because I believe God exists. But because I don’t know for sure, He doesn’t. I do, however, consider myself a spiritual person. I’m always trying to find experiences that inspire me. And for that reason, I think I want to walk the Way– the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain.

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I-want-to-walk-the-Camino I Want to Walk the Camino
  1. What is the Camino de Santiago
  2. Why Walk it if You aren’t Catholic
  3. My Concerns
  4. Walk Alone or With Someone

While I’m not religious, I believe in a higher power. And I’m hopeful that somehow I am somehow connected to it somehow. And I’m not unaware that my friends and family don’t think I’ll ever book the flight. But I’ll never let anyone tell me I can’t do anything.

I Want to Walk the Camino de Santiago

What is the Camino de Santiago?

The simple answer is that the Camino de Santiago is a long walk in Northern Spain. The Camino is short for Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Several routes originate in Germany, Portugal, and Italy. But they all end at the cathedral in Santiago.

However, the most popular route begins in the quaint town of Saint Jean Pied de Port. More than 60% of all pilgrims walk the French or Frances Way. The Way of Saint James is popular because it meanders 500 miles through the Basque country and onto the high, arid plains of the Meseta. You eventually walk through the lush landscape of Galicia through a few significant cities until you reach Santiago de Compostela.

camino-wlker-towards-town I Want to Walk the Camino

Why Walk the Way?
For Sport, Camaraderie and the Spirit

The Camino originated as a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago. The apostle Saint James’ tomb is in the cathedral. So you ask, if I’m not religious, why make the trip in the first place?

I’ve read about the pilgrimage in many movies and books over the last few years. Do a simple search on YouTube, and you’ll find all kinds of experiences. Everyone has a different reason for pilgrimage, and they aren’t all religious-based. Nowadays, pilgrims walk the Camino for sport, camaraderie, and spiritual reasons. And they all say it ends up being much more than a hike.

I see the Camino as an opportunity to combine my passions— Spain, hiking, and history. And I am looking forward to all the challenges and exciting people. I also need something to work towards– a motivation to get and stay fit.

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What are my Concerns?
Is Age a Factor?

First, am I too old? Again, the simple answer is no. I am currently reading a travelogue written by a 70-year-old woman. She has walked it three times and is in the process of planning another trip. Look at videos on YouTube, and you will find people of all ages, races, sizes, and abilities on the road to Santiago.

Is it Expensive?

This is a concern for anyone contemplating a month-long trip. But the simple answer is that it’s as expensive as you want. There are several low-cost accommodations called albergues/ refugios that are similar to hostels. You may remember how much I hate hostels. The only thing I may be apprehensive about is staying in a hostel. However, guest housing, some hotels, and motels along the Way also exist. More on this later.

Do I Want to Do It Alone?

I’ve watched The Way with Martin Sheen and read Steps Out of Time by Katharine Soper. And from everything else I’ve learned so far, no one walks the entire Way alone– even if you start that Way. The option for companionship is available if you desire it. And although it is also very safe for single pilgrims, even single women, I would love to do this with my husband or a girlfriend. Alas— Steven has made it quite clear he’s not interested. It sounds too much like ruck-marching— which he’s done too much of in the military.

Camino-de-Santiago-gold-street-shell- I Want to Walk the Camino

Which Route?

I know it sounds crazy. But, I am considering the long route from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela. This route is approximately 452 miles. The Way traverses the Pyrenees in France and the Roncesvalles Mountains in Spain. It goes through the major cities of Pamplona, Logrono, Burgos, and Leon. Most people complete the walk in 30-35 days.

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When?

I am considering doing the Camino in the late spring/ early summer of 2021. I will depend on when I feel ready and have the time and money.

What’s Next?

Last summer, I averaged about 15-17 miles per day just walking in my neighborhood. It took me roughly 4-5 hours a day to do that. I must maintain that distance with a 20lb pack on my back. I do not doubt I can do this, but I need to continue my training. 

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Comments

  1. Stephani

    I’ve been thinking about this too. I really love your blog, you and I have so much in common, I hope one day our paths cross. I agree with you, I think walking the Camino would be a great way to challenge my ability to push myself physically and mentally.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Thank you Stephani, that wouldn’t be too surprising. I have met quite a few of my readers over the years. It’s fun to see first-hand someone other than my mom is reading the blog.

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