Camino de Santiago – Way of St. James

 

” Most people don’t have the luxury of just picking up and leaving it all behind”

Martin Sheen, in the movie The Way

The Camino de Santiago is an 800 km (500 mile) walk from France, across northwestern Spain, and ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.  I could bore you with the history of this Unesco World Heritage Site, but the bottom line is this:  It’s a walk that takes on average 35 days to complete.  People from all over the world come to walk the Camino, and I want to be one of them.

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The people who do this trek are called “pilgrims”.  Although for most people, the purpose of the walk is no longer for religious reasons, the term “pilgrim” is still in use.  I want to do this walk for a few reasons:

  • to think
  • to stay fit
  • to get unplugged (although I admit I will be the first pilgrim to ask at each auberge “do you have wifi?”)
  • but my most important reason is to learn to slow down and be in the moment

Each walker is given a “passport” and a shell to identify them as a pilgrim.  As such, you can stay in the hostels (or auberge) along the route, and eat for a discount.  On average, spending freely, the cost would be about $40.00 CAD per day.  That’s the cost for lodging and food!  Not bad!  There are water taps along the route, and one tap even dispenses red wine!  I’ll have to learn the times they turn on the wine tap.

I would prefer to do this trek now rather than wait for my sabbatical, but I don’t want to do it with a deadline looming.  If I fall in love with a little village along the way, I want to be able to stay a few days, if I choose to.  During my sabbatical, I can take as long as I want while my pay cheques continue to deposit into my bank account, and all my bills are being taken care via pay direct.  I want to do this walk with nothing more pressing on my mind than the blisters on my feet.

Speaking of blisters.  I would likely try to do at least part of this walk wearing just “barefoot shoes”.  I’m not sure how I would manage, but I think I would do fine.  It will be interesting to find out.  My Unshoe Wokova Feathers  would be in my backpack for sure.  If they won’t provide me with the support I might need, they would certainly help out when blisters start to bother me.

I think it will be interesting to put all my life’s “necessities” into one backpack, and walk with it for 35 days.  The Camino de Santiago is definitely on my sabbatical list.  Likely April/May, 2018.

If you want to watch a good movie, that happens to be about this walk, I recommend The Way.  You can rent it from itunes for $5.99.

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