The sky purpled darkly as we set off up the hill, packs loaded as though for the journey — plus a bit. The hard part now, is not the packs, but the mind. We have trained physically, walking and increasing distance steadily, the next part was to get used to the packs, then walking with fully loaded packs.
But now, as we prepare to package the packs for the flight, the heavy part is the mind. The long-range weather forecasts are not good, and already the forthcoming French rail strike has changed our mode of travel from train to bus. And to cap it all off, much of Spain and the Pyrenees is still under snow.
But to paraphrase the novel Dune, fear is the mind killer. There is a Camino saying that the weight of your pack is the sum of your fears. It is easy to overthink and try to prepare for every eventuality. This only results in an overloaded pack. It is time to get back to basics — It is time to travel mindfully.
Our basic physical needs are simple: 2 changes of tops, 1 fleecy, 1 pair of trekking pants (the other is to wear), a lightweight Goretex jacket for the wind and rain, and rain pants in case it gets really stormy. 3 pairs of undies (one to wear), 3 pairs of socks (1 to wear) and the same with sock liners. A lightweight sleeping bag a few toiletries and your choice of tech – I recommend at least a phone – for emergencies or to make a booking ahead or to communicate with family. It can double as your camera too.
It is better to pack a bit light and then add along the way if you really need something. For most normal medical requirements there are chemists/farmacia in most towns, and the larger centres will be able to supply any gear shortfalls – including backpacks, poles, fleecies etc. Even the hamlets often have vending machines with blister care and pain relief products, so for these kinds of things, just carry enough for a day or two, and buy more as and when you need them.
But the main thing to pack is your mindful appreciation for those who have gone before and for those who walk with us on our journey, both inner and outer. I call this packing a lighter mind – leave anxieties, judgemental attitudes and enmities behind, and find the world as you encounter it.
Everyone walks their own Camino, and remember, real pilgrims don’t judge other pilgrims. The only requirement of a real pilgrim is to be registered and to walk the last 100kms. The rest is entirely up to you -Buen Camino! 🙂
Hi Jerry, Michael and Helena from Sydney, Australia arriving in SJPP on 30/4/18 we hope,,,our question,,,,what do you know of the TGV Paris to Bayonne. We are booked on the 28th April. I read you cancelled train for bus……?????? Michael
Hi Michael – yes it’s a rolling strike two days out of five for the next couple of months. Mainly Paris trains are being affected, though some services will be running. Unfortunately it looks as though the 28 and 29 of April are also Strike days. Here is the calendar for the stoppages:
Thanks Jerry, looks like we will just have to push through ,everything booked and paid , SNCF, hotels including Orission on 1st May…Michael.
No worries – yes we’ve also booked and paid accom at SJPdP, Orisson and Roncesvalles. Buen Camino for you journey
A wonderful post to start the journey! I love the shadow shot. Safe and happy journey to you both.x
Thanks Jules – looking forward to catching up in person at the end of our Camino 🙂
Buen camino from tbe Via Algarviana! Day 3 -blister 1. Safe travel Jerry and Sharon. Love the Dune mention, one of my favourites.
Thanks Ashley – and Buen Camino to you! may that first blister be the last 🙂 Safe travels
Happy Trails! I loved the last line- the journey is such a personal experience. May yours bring you joy and new revelation.
Thanks Maggie – yes all journeys – inner or outer – are personal experiences. We build ourselves through the way we encounter others 🙂
Wishing safe travels and a very Buen Camino to you and Sharon. I hope the weather will be as brilliant as it was in 2016. I’m looking forward to following along on your journey. Have a glass or two of some of that delicious Vino Tinto for me. ❤️
Thanks Kathy! We shall certainly raise a glass or two to you on our journey 😀 We think of you and all our ‘Camino family’ often 😀
Will you be updating from the trail at all?
Hi Michelle – yes we will certainly be updating form the trail – it will depend to a large extent on day-to-day conditions and wifi access, but yes I shall be updating when I can along the trail 😀
For me, who is departure for this New Camino Journey, is also eminent, a huge vote of thanks for these words above Jerry. I am just about to re-visit the contents of my backpack and purposely look at everything therin and make final decisions as to what to take and what to leave behind.
I intend to take things easily physically for the next 13 days – just shortish walks and my focus will not be on the Journey to come, but, right in the ‘here and now’. At this point, one can begin to stress and to overplan all over again, so, I am purposely directing my mind to home and family for the next wee while. Hoping to see you both in St. Jean, or, if not there, on the trail somewhere. 🙂
Thanks Susan – yes it’s is so easy to over-plan and over-pack! We have one more short walk without packs before heading off to Paris to get over the jet-lag. We are heading for St Jean on 8 April, to start walking (weather permitting) on 10 April. Buen Camino to you and yes I hope we will see you in St Jean or on the trail 😀