Homer's Travels: Camino De Santiago: February Update

Monday, February 28, 2011

Camino De Santiago: February Update

Another month has passed and the Camino is getting inexorably closer.

Over the past few weeks I've accumulated a few of the smaller items I'll need for the Camino.  I found a lightweight sleeping bag liner to use as a hostel/albergue sheet/blanket/sleeping bag.  I found a first aid kit in a waterproof pouch which I augmented with some extra moleskin.  I'm thinking waterproof may be a key thing as the first two weeks of my trek will be during the tail end of the rainy season in Spain.  I bought a high absorption, quick drying camp towel.    I decided to supplement my pack rain cover with a dry sack that I'll use as inside-the-pack protection.  The dry sack will hold clothes, sleeping bag liner, and towel.  Finally, I bought the critical New Balance 978 walking shoes.  I wore them a couple days last week to confirm fit and I will start wearing them everyday around mid-April to thoroughly break them in before the Camino.  They are practically identical to my 977s and should, with my custom orthotics, provide my feet the necessary protection for a 481 mile walk.

I still have a few things to buy.  When it comes to shopping I can be a little obsessive with 'the best' and especially with price.  I get so obsessed with saving that last buck that I probably spend several months worth of life in a few hours trying to digest all the conflicting numbers.  It always end in the same way.  I throw up my hands, sometimes figuratively and sometimes literally, and just buy the next one I see, damn the price.  I then invariably discover a cheaper one within twenty-four hours.

The one thing I am finding hard to find, of all things, is a neck wallet.  I've decided that the best way to carry my passport, money, and other important documents would be in a pouch around my neck under my shirt.  I've spent a couple weeks looking for one that is water proof.  You would think that would be easy but it really isn't. A few pouches made for divers/swimmers exist but they're just cheesy plastic bags that probably wouldn't feel that great against my chest.  Anything that seems functional and that would feel comfortable are not waterproof though some are water resistant.  A guy at a local backpacker's shop suggested augmenting the standard neck wallet with a plastic baggy i.e. put my passport and important paper in a Ziploc® bag inside of the neck wallet.  While this seems like a sub par solution it may be my only option.

All this preparation is finally getting to me.  As time grows shorter I'm starting to get that stressed feeling of anticipation.  I used to get this feeling when I used to go to new sites for my old job.  I would spend days, if not weeks, running things through my head.  Who would I have to meet?  Where would I meet them?  What did I need to do the job?  What could go wrong?  That last one drove me crazy.  It still does.  The Camino scenarios are starting to run through my head.  They're starting to keep me up at night.  One strange thing is these thoughts have me paralyzed when it comes to preparing myself for the walk.  I haven't gone for a walk or a hike for ... a month and a half?!?  What am I doing!?!

I guess I'm freaking out a bit.  I just have to remember that when I went to those new work sites, after freaking out for weeks before, I always got the job done satisfactorily.  The Camino will be no different.


  1. Deep breaths, man, deep breaths.

    Not sure what to tell you on the neck wallet. Waterproof anything is probably not going to be comfortable next to the skin; I think the ziplocks inside of the neck wallet might be the best approach.

    And, seriously, don't sweat the extra buck. It only adds to the stress. :)

  2. I agree with the GH man.

    You are awesome at hiking about, and you'll rock star this one too. Just one question: Where will you plug in your hairdryer?

  3. GH: I'm trying but it's getting more real as it's getting closer. The more real, the more panic inducing.

    MMC: I will try to think Awesome thoughts.

    I have short hair and, before I go, I will have even shorter hair so a hairdryer will not be required.

  4. Good luck, when are you leaving? We would like to follow you on Camino Buddies.


  5. Max: Thanks. Welcome to Homer's Travels. I'll be starting the Camino on the 14th of May. It would be my pleasure if you followed me on your blog. I don' think I will be blogging from the Camino though. I've found that the pressure of putting a post together while travelling takes away from the experience. I will be posting about my Camino after the fact.