It’s three days before our departure flight. We are using London as our hub, as we travel to the Holy Land and later, to Madrid for our Camino Frances. It just seems like yesterday when we first toyed with the idea of a second Camino.
How does our preparations compare with our first? Not as diligent as the first time. Perhaps it’s because we know from experience what is involved. Or perhaps preparing with grace, and being comfortably un-prepared might be the fruits from the first Camino?
Deciding to use the luggage transfer services for our backpacks was a relative easy decision. We had ‘let go’ of any preconceived notions of how we should walk, how we should prepare, how we would be perceived by others. The priority was how could we put ourselves in a space, that allowed us to be open to the spiritual promptings from God.
We trained less all round – less work outs at the fitness center, a handful of 3+ hour walks. We didn’t get back to the Yoga stretching work. But there’s no sense of worry or panic, just a serendipitous calm since we booked our first air tickets 5 ½ months ago.
This Camino Frances (CF) will be four times the duration and four times the distance of our first Camino Portugues (CP).
Gear wise, we will wear the ankle high hiking boots that was not used for the CP. We will leave our trekking poles behind, and look into acquiring a used set in Spain. The change is because we will only carry backpacks on the flight into Madrid without any checked luggage. As we are walking in spring, we will pack down jackets/vests, gloves, scarves and beanies. Each of us will have a day pack, while our backpacks are transported. We are taking a Kindle and an iPad mini this time round as we wish to read some spiritual and cultural books for further contemplation.
We learnt (painfully from CP) to ease into the Camino by breaking the first stage from St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalle (22km) into two, sleeping over night mid way at Valcaros. In addition, we planned rest days every 7 days or so. It’s not a race to Santiago de Compostela, but a journey to renew our spiritual selves. I anticipate we will have more time available as we reach our destinations earlier than on the CP. Time is fodder for the spirit and soul.
I (Ben) was nearly side tracked by technology for this CF. A Facebook friend had video-blogged, and that started me down a path to learn video editing, buying and testing a camera stabilizer, and planning to bring a laptop for daily editing. Fortunately, the stabilizer did not work, which caused me to take a step back. I was on the verge of turning my pilgrimage into a travelogue. Sometimes a crazed frenzy can come over one. Stay focused on what one is seeking and valuing from the Camino.
Do you recall bringing your children to Disneyland for the first time? The wide eyes, the happiness and excitement just oozing out. Yup, that’s the essential ingredient we all need when we start our Camino.