Finding My Way…The Camino Way From Saint Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago de Compostela (including the end of the world)
The Way of St James, or St Jame’s Way is the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north-western Spain, where legend has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried.
Back in May this year I blogged, see previous post. (This was posted on my other blog, Words at Willow Pond http://deb-smith.blogspot.com.au) about some seeds that had been sown and taken hold of around my life. I made a decision, and set a goal to plan for, and attempt something that would prove to be my ‘Everest’ goal. Something quite ‘huge’, for me in many respects, but certainly not impossible. This post is a continuation of that entry and another step in my journey.
Because I enjoy writing, I made a decision to record the process and add any updates for my adventure, so that anyone who was interested could be a part of the process and watch it unfold. I know only those who are really interested will stay tuned in and if it turns out that I’m the only one, then, so be it. At the very least, I will have a recorded document, detailing the steps I took in planning and executing the goal, the difficulties faced, my feelings and anxieties, the joys and revelations and whether I managed to pull it off. And, who knows, someone in the future might find some of this information helpful, if they decide to plan for a challenge such as this. And for me … I see it as … therapy … for I have already been told I must be crazy.
The Proclaimers sang…’I would walk 500 miles…’
I am going to walk 1000 kilometres…
At the moment this adventure feels every bit like a challenge. Much training, planning and arrangements need to happen, and I know time will skip along quite quickly. Over the last few months, my head has been constantly swimming; thinking my way through the actual birthing process and committing to it and constantly turning over ways in my mind I can seriously do it. Generally, I’ve pretty much kept my thoughts to myself, however, I have occasionally shared the idea with random people I know, to ‘test’ the waters and hear what it sounds and feels like actually saying it out aloud.
I also needed to discover if I was at all serious about it. What if I jumped in and told everyone and it turned out to be just some romantic notion; or, crazy thoughts running wild through my head and that I seriously didn’t mean it? What if, after a while, the enthusiasm fell by the wayside and I forgot about it? Who would ever take me seriously again? No, I have to be certain.
This walk won’t be just another walk in the park. For weeks on end, I am going to be walking many kilometres per day, in all sorts of weather ranging from light rain to heavy rain, storms, sunshine, chills, maybe some night walking, depending if I’ve reached the required destination for the day, blisters on the feet, and, hard and probably uncomfortable sleeping arrangements at times, just to name a few things. I will have the Pyrenees Mountains for company at the start of the walk and I’m not sure just how hospitable they will prove to be; welcoming or harsh? However, even knowing this hasn’t discouraged me, and whenever I do some reading or I discuss it with my ‘sounding boards’, a big smile spreads across my face and I feel happy. It is very early days yet. Making a commitment to blog about it is the next step. Once this post goes to air, it literally means…
Some of the necessary considerations and questions that need answers:
1. Q: Why do I want to do this?
2. C: The absolute need to improve my fitness level for this particular experience.
3. Q: Why do I want to do this?
4. C: Needing to find and obtain the right equipment and clothing. I will be back packing, so will need to consider the weight factor, along with knowing that even though I’m going to be on the road for many weeks, I can’t take too much stuff. I will need to be very wise discerning what to take, including sleeping roll.
5. Q: Why do I want to do this?
6. C: Estimating the amount of money needed to sustain the adventure.
7. Q: Why do I want to do this?
8. C: Knowledge of another country and learning another language (hopefully two, including Spanish and French) so I can interact with the locals I plan to meet, learn from and have fun with.
9. Q: Why do I want to do this?
10. C: Researching others’ experiences who have already accomplished what I am planning to do, and learning from it.
11. Q: Why do I want to do this?
12. C: Timing – organising the extended period of time out of regular life and work, that will be necessary to accomplish the goal.
13. Q: Why do I want to do this?
14. C: Making sure family is cool and relaxed about what I’m going to experience.
15. Q: Why do I want to do this?
16. C: Organising flights and connections with trains, buses and accommodation in unfamiliar surroundings and overcoming language barriers and understanding unfamiliar terminology.
17. Q: Why do I want to do this?
18. C: Being prepared for life’s unexpected interruptions that might include the arrival of grand children (wishful thinking), illness, injury, changes in circumstances; you know, the things that life always manages to come up with to keep us busy.
19. Q: Why do I want to do this?
20. C: Contemplating the idea of how to combine my walk with helping the community by raising money for a charity.
21. Q: Why do I want to do this?
22. C: Maybe they are right … I just might be crazy.
I think I will address the, ‘Why do I want to do this?‘ in another post. I already know some of the reasons why, but I think there is more to this than meets the eye. This is the adventure that’s always been there, waiting dormant, hidden and camouflaged, for the right time to announce itself. During the past few years, it has allowed me to catch a glimpse, but in the end, it snuck up on me. Over the past few years, I’ve felt a yearning to do a long walk. It began I guess …
No, this is definitely for another time, another post…
I have to control my fingertips because as soon as I begin to think about all the reasons, my heart starts to race, my eyes light up and I feel alive. This is the experience I simply must have, it seems.
Knowing and understanding why someone simply must do something and discovering what motivates them is a complete topic in itself. For me, this is my walk (in life) and I feel internally driven to accomplish it.
Am I going to do this walk alone, you might be asking?
I am prepared to do it alone if I must, but I’ve been lucky enough to find a friend who is a travel enthusiast, and after I shared my dream with her, I took her to see the movie, ‘The Way’ and she decided that she’d like to share the adventure. My significant other has made some indication that he would like to join us as well, however, like me, both have to answer similar questions, and if it works out that we all go together, that would be the ultimate. To share an experience with others who are very close to me, is what life memories are made of. Even though I know I could do this on my own, I am one of those people who enjoy other’s company and, whenever I experience something new, I long to discuss and share thoughts about it. I am also happy in my own company. So, we’ll just have to watch this space to see who, if any, accompany me. I plan in the knowledge that even if I leave from home alone, I won’t walk alone, for this particular pilgrimage attracts many hundreds, sometimes thousands of fellow walkers who I trust will be friends in-waiting.
When do I plan to take this walk, you might also be asking?
I am aiming for 2014. Just when, is still yet to be confirmed.
If you have read down to here, then I say thank you for committing some time to finding out what I am planning…I hope you weren’t disappointed – and I’m very appreciative of you for giving up some of your valuable time.
This blog will not be dedicated solely to this adventure. I plan to continue sharing other life experiences that happen at Willow Pond (my home), other areas of my life and my writing life.
I hope you plan to visit again sometime soon.
So, until next time…
Wishing you every happiness