Are you wondering how to prepare for your Camino? Our first walk on the Camino was difficult, but was one of the best experiences of our lives. Follow our tips to avoid a lot of hardship, and increase your enjoyment.
How to Prepare for the Camino
You can do a lot to get ready for the walk of a lifetime on the Camino. Read about our first Camino walk to learn from our mistakes and avoid a lot of hardship.
Getting Ready to Go
We were clueless about the Camino! Finding St. Jean Pied-de-Port, FR on a map and figuring out how to get there from our home in Florida was the first challenge. The physical part of the walk was something we discovered later we could not have really prepared for, though we tried. We are native Floridians. As often as we could we walked over the arch of a bridge near us to try to get our legs used to the elevation changes we would encounter. Wick and I went to the YMCA, put a treadmill on an incline, and walked with our packs and hiking boots. We tried. We are able now to help you prepare for the Camino.
Learn from Our mistakes
Wick and I always have been, and still are, big walkers. That gave us some sort of misplaced confidence that we could handle the physical challenge of the Camino. We carried more items than we needed in our packs, like so many newbies. What we know now is we can do with much less. You can pick up anything you need along the way. The three of us learned hard lessons about what not to do, which we pass along to our readers now to help you prepare for the Camino.
Even with All Our Hard Lessons We Felt Close to God
We are Jesus-following Christians, but you don't have to be to walk the Camino and get a lot out of it. Even with all of our hard lessons and mistakes, we experienced a closeness to God that lit us up! Though we had intended that the three of us would stay together, in just a few days Wick and I realized we needed to let Hunter go on alone. He was 18 and able to put in the distances day after day to walk to Santiago in the time we had allotted. Wick and I trudged along because I had suffered what turned out to be a stress fracture in my right foot. We just couldn’t keep up with dear John Brierley’s guidebook itinerary. Now we know we should have set our own itinerary.
Dealing with Camino Challenges
In the end I had to hop a bus to Santiago, find crutches, and wait for Wick and Hunter to arrive. Wick had bussed with me to Sarría, and was able to walk from there solo. Hunter walked solo the whole way. Except for a sick day early on when he took a bus to the next village, he walked 500 miles into Santiago in 23-24 days, with a beard and 20 pounds less body weight.
Learn from Our Mistakes
We are able now to help you learn how to prepare for your Camino. Sure we made plenty of mistakes, but you don't have to make the same ones. Now we know how to pack light, and will show you how, too. Sure we should have taken time to rest after our transatlantic flight before we began walking over the Pyrenees. And yes, we now know to set our own pace, rather than follow the itinerary in a guidebook.
With so Much Hardship, Why Walk?
You might well ask the question, "With all the hardship, why walk?" Because we had so many more fun, holy, glorious, and happy moments on the Camino. For those of you who are thinking about walking this is what we want you to take away. Walking the Camino in 2007 became a spiritual waymark in our lives. The experience continues to shape our lives, and we have returned many times to walk more.
Why We Help Others Go
All of this is what moves us to encourage and help others go and walk. We are able now to teach you how to prepare for your Camino. I wrote a guidebook with tips to remove some of the barriers we faced as first-timers. We created a website for people to use as a resource to plan and prepare, and we continue to write and talk about the Camino on whatever platform God provides.
Return from the Camino
When we return from a walk on the Camino we feel more spiritually alive, and want to keep that feeling and closeness to God going. For all of us who have walked, and for those who can't walk we want to provide encouragement and inspiration for living a Camino type of life. Follow along with our blogs here on our website, and our social media, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and now Youtube.
Come Join Us on This Life Journey
Come join us on this journey of living a pilgrim life at home. We can encourage one another, and help others prepare for a future walk on the Camino de Santiago. Live a pilgrim life on and off the Camino. Simple. Unhurried. Grateful.