Homer's Travels: Camino 2013 - First Steps, This Time with Less Anxiety

Monday, December 10, 2012

Camino 2013 - First Steps, This Time with Less Anxiety

Well, it's starting.  Camino fever.  I'm getting that urge, that anticipation, I had when I started to plan my last Camino.

The feelings now are different.  I no longer have that anxiety I had last time.  Planning for my first Camino I had so many questions.  Would I be able to do it?   Is my plan too ambitious?  Am I packing the right things?  Am I packing too much?  Turns out the answers to these questions were Yes, No - the plan is too conservative, Yes and No - something to keep you warm when your sleeping would have helped, and No - you only tossed out around a pound of stuff along the way.

This time around the anxiety is not of the same magnitude.  I know what to expect and I have ideas on how to tackle the issues I encountered last time.  Things like carrying my pack on the plane instead of checking it.  Changing my shoes and insoles to help reduce the chance of tendinitis and blister issues.  Packing merino wool t-shirts instead of the long sleeve shirts I took last time - wool doesn't smell as much when saturated with sweat and dry quickly.  Packing a new rain jacket that hasn't lost its water shedding abilities like my old one.  Packing trekking poles to help reduce the strain on my knees.  There are other things I will change that I will probably post about in a future lessons learned Camino post.

For now I want to talk about a couple things I have done to prepare.  The first is I bought a new pack.  I already posted about the failed Gossamer Gear attempt in September.  Early November I ordered and received a GoLite Jam 35L.  My first reaction was "Damn that thing is small ... and light."  I was a little concerned about the small size.  The GoLite Litespeed I took last time was around 38 liters.   A few liters makes a difference.  To assuage my fears I packed my new bag with everything I was going to take and found there was plenty of room.  It might be a little tighter than my old one but it just means I have to be a little more orderly when I pack it to maximize the packs pockets.  Last time I was amazed at the small pack carried by NV, a fellow pilgrim from Ireland.  My new pack comes close to matching hers, it is just fine for what I need, and its small size will make it easy to carry on the airplane.  Sometimes small is big enough, one of life's little lessons.

One note about bad timing.  Last week I got an e-mail from Go-Lite about the Jam being on sale for 40% off.  I shot off an e-mail to see if I could get a refund.  They do have a 30 day price match policy ... I bought my pack 35 days ago ... Sorry dude, no refund.

The next step I've taken is to make airline reservations.  In a way buying tickets is the most important part of doing the Camino - nothing like making a substantial, non-refundable purchase to motivate one to get'er done.  Prices have gone up since I made reservations for my last Camino - going up by almost $200.  A sign of our times I guess.  The hardest thing was deciding the exact time for leaving and returning.  I am coordinating my Camino with GV, another pilgrim I met last time and who, baring any unforeseen injury or circumstances, will be doing the 2013 Camino with me.  Coordinating with another person adds a little extra complication in the planning but not too much to handle.

We will be starting our Camino in Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France.  We will follow the Arles route to the Spanish boarder near the pass of Somport.  From there the route changes name to the Aragonés route following the river Aragón.  The Aragonés route eventually joins the French Way, the route I walked last time, near the town of Obanos, Spain.

I'm flying on the 5th of September (Omaha - Chicago - Madrid - the same flight I took last time).  I arrive in Madrid on the 6th and I fly from Madrid to Toulouse, France.  From there I take a train to Oloron-Sainte-Marie arriving sometime after 9:00 PM.  I begin walking the next day, the 7th.

From there I will be walking for forty days walking to Santiago de Compostela, Fisterra, and, eventually, Muxia before I am done.  I will have six extra days to use for rest/recuperation/insurance/sightseeing along the way.  Having extra days is reassuring since the Obanos to Santiago de Compostela stages I have planned out are fairly aggressive and may need to be broken up into a few more stages.  I leave Santiago de Compostela on the 23rd of October and arrive home on the 24th.

So things are proceeding.  I'm starting to have flashes of excitement every now and then when I think of it all.    Flashes of excitement and less, much less, anxiety.


  1. a new Camino!! Exciting! I am glad you are going to trek it with a buddy. We know you can do it solo of course, but it's good to know you'll have a friend just in cases.

    YAY! I'm so excited to read about it. I know it's a long way off, but hee hee hee! and totally, the smaller pack is like a blessing and a new challenge!! Oooooooh!!! I bet you're looking forward to the Principe (sp?) cookies!

    1. Bloggart: I think I will try to cut back on hte Principe cookies. I'm going to try to control myself wiothout ruining all the fun, of course. Not surte I will post about the whole Camino like I did last time. I wasn't going to do that last time but it happened anyway so ... stay tuned.