The first thing that appeared in my mind after making the decision to perform the Camino, was not figuring out who this St. James-guy was and why people were walking days on end to be near his relics. To be honest, I was more concerned with the fact that I had now internally agreed to walk from Amsterdam to Santiago, which freaked me out a little after I found out this route compromises roughly 2500 kilometres (Wanna know how I found out? I’ll tell you all about it soon!). Since I made the decision to go, two people told me that they knew someone that walked “the Way”, so I figured it was doable… although I did not dare asking if they departed in the Netherlands to avoid coming across like a snob.
Walking an average of 20 km a day, which is according to most Camino websites the average amount one walks daily, means I will reach Santiago after being on the road for 126 days. That is, of course, if I walk every single day. Yes, I made that cursive, because that sounds a little silly now, doesn’t it? Sure there will be days when I am exhausted, wet, cold, in my period longing for home and chocolate, a decent bed, warm shower, walking around in the middle of *** nowhere, wishing to take a day off. Or perhaps there will be days I am in a beautiful place and want to linger around for a little. (Oh, all the expectations!)
Days off or not, it does not change anything about the 2500 kilometres that my feet will be covering. Besides the distance, I had so many other questions. Where will I sleep? What will I eat? How much money do I need? How does it work? Will it be safe? Will I get lonely? How do I wash my clothes? For how long can you walk in the rain? How am I going to find my way? Do I really need to know all this stuff before hand? Do all pilgrims have this many questions?
Although four months seems to be a long time, I reckon there is no such thing as being too prepared, so I have officially commenced my pilgrimage preparations. Inspired by the exorbitant amount of information for future pilgrims you can find online and in the library, I have distilled several topics that I will be covering in the upcoming posts:
know your camino – This category will cover all sorts of historical and practical information regarding the Camino de Santiago, answering questions like… what is the Camino the Santiago all about, who was St. James, why did/do people decide to go on this pilgrimage, and how are we going to get there in one piece?
prep your physique – Yes. We will have to cover this. I know. I do not want to be working out either. Here I will be giving some inspiration on how to prepare your body for long distance hiking, keep you updated on my individual progress and provide some information for the actual journey.
make up your mind – Besides your body, your mind has to be in an excellent shape too. This category will focus on mentally preparing yourself for the trip and will also include some of my personal musings.
get your gear going – It is very simple. When being on the road for such a long time, you will need things. I have no idea what is necessary either. This category will cover my attempts to find out.
Excited? Well, I definitely am! So excited, I have been spending the past week in a sleeping bag to practice.
image credit: nadinewalks.com