In about an hour, I leave for my second Camino. A few weeks ago, even a few days ago, I figured that this blog post wouldn’t be written until I arrived at the airport and settled in to wait for my flight. Or maybe it would be written on the flight, or else on the train ride from Paris down to Hendaye.
But instead, I’m ahead of schedule. I’ve been ahead of schedule these last few days, and it’s throwing me off a bit. Where is the scrambling, the rushing, the panicked feeling that I don’t have everything done and I’m not prepared and that I’m going to forget something?
A small part of me worries that there’s something I’m not remembering to do, but mostly, I’m on top of stuff. It’s strange. I know I’m still going to have that feeling of “what am I doing??” when the plane takes off and, better yet, when I arrive at the train station in Hendaye and set off to cross the bridge from France to Spain and into Irun, my first official steps of the Camino del Norte.
But right now, this sort of feels ‘old hat’. I did a small training hike the other day with my pack ‘Camino loaded’, and as I was stuffing things into compartments, it all came back to me: how the sleeping bag fills out the bottom, how my soap and toiletries come next, topped with my rain jacket and ziplocs filled with clothes, how my bag with electronics and cords settles in at the top. Without having to think, my hands just moved along, filling my pack in the way that I used to last summer.
I’m at my parents house right now, where I’m leaving my car for the next month. I only arrived here yesterday, having spent most of the day finishing up work for the year. I imagined that I would spend my evening with maps spread out in front of me, jotting down notes, sending off emails, doing all of those last minute, pre-trip things. But instead, I went for a stroll around my neighborhood and saw lightening bugs blinking across the corn fields. I sipped a coke slushey and watched Apollo 13. I had one of the most relaxing summer evenings that I could imagine.
And now I’m sitting in my old bedroom with my Camino things spread out before me, not quite fully packed. My outfit is arranged on my bed, I’ll change into it shortly: a long pair of hiking pants, a deep blue t-shirt, underwear, socks. I remember this moment so vividly last year, how I was struggling to take a deep breath, panicked about what I was about to get myself into.
This year I feel so calm, and I love it. I think I’ve been ready to get back on the Camino for months, and now it’s here. Round two. The weather is supposed to be beautiful for my first day’s walk on Friday, so stay tuned for some gorgeous photos of the northern coast of Spain. Here’s a photo of a map of the route, taken from my guidebook (so pardon the poor quality of the map… but you’ll be able to see the route, which is the most important thing).
So here we go, 31-days on the Camino del Norte and Camino Primitivo… 500 more beautiful and strenuous and magical miles through Spain. Stay tuned!