Why am I walking the Camino? Every day I think of new reasons, and at times I think that I must have 500: a reason for every mile I will walk.
I started this blog to share my story of walking the Camino, but in these early stages, I’m struggling to know what to share. It doesn’t feel very exciting to talk about all of my pre-planning and my thoughts and my fears. I’m sure I’ll get into it all, and I suspect that as the summer approaches I will have Camino fever and want to write every day. But today? It’s a cold day in the middle of January and the Camino is still a far-off dream. It doesn’t feel real.
I think about the days I will be spending, walking through a hot summer in Spain, and I can start to feel the heat of the sun and the burn in my legs, the weight on my back and the plates of food I’ll devour at night. I think about why I’ve decided to do this, why these images are in my head. And for the beginning of a blog, I can’t see a better place to start with than at why.
Reason #1 for walking this Camino is a big one: lots and lots of walking. I’m doing this Camino so I can walk. Walk every day, walk for hours, walk across a country. I love to walk and I love to hike. I don’t have a lot of hiking experience- I’m not a backpacker and don’t even have hiking boots. I don’t really know that much: nothing about elevation or gear or trail etiquette. But maybe that’s why I love hiking: you don’t need to know or have much to go for a walk in the woods.
It’s not just the woods, either. Most days, I throw on some sneakers and head out my door to take a 30 minute walk through my neighborhood. I walk the same streets, day after day. I pass the same houses and the same neighbors, the same dogs who bound through their yard as I approach. I wave to the same mailman and jump over the same small puddle on the days when it’s rained. I thought I would have gotten bored years ago, but I haven’t. There is something therapeutic about being able to walk through a place I know so well, to know what my exact steps will be, to know where my legs will carry me.
The Camino is going to be a different path every day, but I have a feeling there will be some consistency and routine in the walking. At the very least, there will be the routine of waking every morning, putting on my shoes, and stepping outside for a walk.
Walking clears my head and it clears my lungs. I think when I walk, and I zone out when I walk. I listen to music, I listen to nothing, sometimes I listen to my own voice as I talk out loud. I nearly always feel better after I’ve gone on a walk or a hike. I feel alive and invigorated, but also settled and calm. Good, good feelings.