The math is really simple. I have measured my casual stride as somewhere between 75 cm and 85 cm. The Camino Frances, the route I am planning to walk, is roughly 800 km from St. Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago, Spain. It is easy to see 800 km is 80,000,000 cm, or roughly 1,000,000 steps.
It feels like my Camino has been a very long time coming.
This all started as a result of a chance conversation while I was in Nova Scotia. The person I was speaking to said “Margaret is going to be walking the Camino in a couple of months”. I nodded my head and said ” That‘s nice”, but it didn‘t really register until later the same evening when I looked up the Camino on the Internet. Until the moment I researched the topic I hadn’t a clue what this was all about.
Suddenly the enormity of Margaret’s undertaking was so impressive. I was immediately and inexplicably drawn to the challenge. I clearly remember saying to myself “I would love to do this”….. but didn’t have the faintest idea how I would even begin a journey like this. The idea was shelved, as many of my ideas are; in this case for about 6 months. In fact (I am embarrassed to say) I had forgotten the initial thoughts and interest in the subject completely over the relatively short period. Why?….If this is such a passion could it be displaced so easily?
To explain I should provide you with a thumbnail sketch of myself. If pressed to provide a concise description I would probably distil the following two words:
It is an undeniable part of my character, I have always been interested and/or distracted by virtually any topic. Everything interests me. This trait has been no end of distress to those around me. My parents have been subjected to this more than anyone else, and I am sure this drove them to their wits end at times. Call it a flaw (some people do) or a positive aspect of my makeup….
There is a chance I might have never come back to the Camino had it not been for two significant events. The first is watching “The Way” with Martin Sheen. Although it appears to be a somewhat unrealistic portrayal of the Camino, it did re-ignite my interest. The second and more significant contribution to my motivation was Margaret. Remembering she had just finished her walk I sent her an email and asked if she would be willing to share her experience with me.
Margaret’s response was immediate and generous. I spent 3 days talking and looking at photos of her month in Spain. …and so my planning to walk the Camino Frances was re-ignited and my planning began in earnest.
Another person who gave my “I’ve just got to do this” a boost was Linda. She spoke to me about her Camino and felt it was a calling…. perhaps she is right.
So why am I doing this……? There are a lot of negatives in answering this.
I am not having some sort of mid-life crisis. (Hell, I must have missed this timing by a decade at least) I’m not walking this because I lost my job. I’m not suffering, having been jilted in love. And I’m not doing this to discover the meaning of my life……or any other such nonsense.
Negatives aside I have found the Camino to be a unifying concept. Almost everyone I have spoken to knows someone walking, or has walked, wants to do this themselves. Virtually everyone becomes enthusiastic when they hear about the Camino.
Another key character trait is my drive to conquer a challenge. This is especially true for internal challenges. Ultimately I am committed to personal challenges.
The Camino is just that.
If you care, over the next 5 weeks keep reading this blog you will follow my progress across the upper portion of Spain. I will make every effort to write something every day, even if it is very short you will be able to mark the progress on a map. I appreciate this undertaking is self-serving, but I would be very encouraged if you send me a comment every now and then.
Thank you in advance.