I booked my flight last night. And just before I hit the ‘confirm booking’ button on my computer screen, I could feel my heart beating in my chest, sweat forming on my palms, my breathing becoming shallow.
Man, I was nervous. I’ve been preparing for this trip for three months now: reading everything I can, writing about all of my reasons for doing this long walk, training and hiking and learning how to take care of blisters. I’ve told everyone that I’m walking the Camino, I’ve told myself that I’m walking the Camino, and yet, until yesterday, it wasn’t actually real.
Without a flight, I could back out. I could have decided that I am indeed crazy for doing this, that I didn’t want to go alone, that walking for 5 weeks was not how I wanted to spend my vacation. I could be on a beach instead, I could be in Maine, I could go back to France and write.
And all of those thoughts have gone through my head. Am I crazy for wanting to do this? Do I want to be alone? Do I want to be on a beach in Maine instead?
I always knew that the answer was ‘no’, but it didn’t stop those questions from tip-toeing around my mind. And even though I have been so certain that I will walk the Camino this summer, until now, it’s all been words. Only words, and some hikes through a local park.
But now I have a plane ticket, and I’ll be away for 52 days. I look at that number and I have some disbelief. I just committed to a 52-day trip in Europe. 52 days. Right now, it feels a bit daunting. And… incredible.
There is still so much planning to do, but for now my trip looks kind of like this: fly into Paris. Get down to St. Jean-Pied-de-Port and start walking. Walk for about 5 weeks. Arrive in Santiago, possibly on my birthday. Meet up with a friend and (maybe) walk to Finisterre. Fly/train back over to France and spend time in Provence. Return to Paris.
And here’s the final twist. In Paris, get on a plane, and on my way home, stop in Iceland for 17 hours.
I couldn’t resist! I’ve been looking at flights for months, and trying different combinations of dates and airports and airlines. Flying in and out of New York, rather than Philadelphia, was $300 dollars cheaper on Icelandair, and when I saw that I could fairly easily roam around Reykjavik and experience the midnight sun, I was sold.
There are now so many parts to this trip that I feel overwhelmed, but it’s a very, very good kind of ‘overwhelm’. I’m just relieved that I still have several months to prepare.
So I just put a giant check mark next to ‘purchase flight’. Phew. Next up: a new pair of shoes.