I’m going on an adventure!

Friends,

What better way to begin 2015 than to announce that I am going on an adventure.

This spring I will lace up my boots, put on my backpack and strike out across Spain on a pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago.

The Way of St. James inspires all kinds of people from around the world to abandon their daily lives for at least a month and to walk across northern Spain on a pilgrimage with 1,000 years of tradition.

My Camino will last six weeks. From May 5 to June 15 — flight to flight — I plan to see as much of Spain as possible. I will fly into Barcelona and then, by train and bus, make my way to St. Jean de Pied, the starting point for the Camino Frances route.

The next 500 or so miles of my journey will be completed by foot.

I will walk from town to town, sleep in dorm-style beds and eat and drink whatever I can find. If that’s a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread on a sunny afternoon, so be it. I’ll meet the locals and other pilgrims who have heard the siren’s song. I’ll tell stories and hopefully hear many more.

The Camino is a traditionally Catholic pilgrimage, leading pilgrims to the final resting place of the bones of St. James at the Santiago de Compostela. I’m not an overly religious person. While I appreciate the beauty of the architecture of old Gothic churches, I do not walk to see anything in particular.

I do not walk to find myself, either, nor do I expect to figure out life while placing one foot in front of the other.

There is no dragon resting on piles of gold, or dark lord to vanquish. There really is no noble point to this quest of mine.

I plan to walk because the path is there and I haven’t been able to get this idea out of my head for years.

Only when I’ve seen the ocean waves crash upon the shores at Muxia, with my feet propped up, my ass imprinted on the shore and the Spanish sun warm upon my back, will I consider my Camino complete.

After a few days in Madrid, my journey will officially be over. As of right now, I have no idea what I’m doing after this trip. I have to admit it is a terrifying notion to pause life and leave everything behind for six weeks. Especially when you don’t know what you’ll be coming back to. But to me that is all part of the adventure — my first grand adventure all by myself.

While I’m abroad I intend to document my journey through this blog. I’m not promising regular updates. Part of the allure of the Camino for me is the opportunity to unplug from the world for a while. But I do want to use this as a sort of photoblog so that I can bring you all along with me, should you choose to join in, with quick updates. I’ll also be posting from my Twitter and Instagram at @DrIndianaJon.

I’m going because I fear I’ll never again work up the courage to leave. I go because adventure is out there, and I am not. At least, not yet.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.

You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, 

there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

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7 responses to “I’m going on an adventure!

  1. Excellent! Every day on the Camino you will remember what G.K. Chesterton said – “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”

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  2. I’m so excited for you!!!! It takes so much courage to drop everything + just go, but you’re such a wonderful person and you are meant to do equally wonderful things in your life. I can’t wait to read about all of it!

    And of course, there’s always a place for you in new york!

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  3. Greg said you asked for advice re your Camino. Hmmmm.. Maybe that was it right there. Let it unfold as it is meant to, for your Camino. I followed (insert famous author’s) advice and left w polyester shirts. Replaced them w cotton ones on Day 2. Replaced them w poly ones on week 6. I gave away each prior set. I gave away lots of stuff along the way, like a simplicity challenge. They have stores along the way. Bring what you need for first week or two and relax.

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  4. Hi,

    If I have one pieces of advice it’s “No matter how much you hike/how much you love your shoes, bring more anti-blister kit stuff /blister bandaids than you think you need. Prices for these are crazy on the trail, and if you don’t need them, others will LOVE YOU FOR THEM.” That’s my #1 but if you want to read my other (hopefully still useful) thoughts, read on 🙂

    I don’t know you but your friend Greg said you were looking for some Pre-Camino advice, and I met him on our Camino last May. I know there are A LOT of opinions out there and a lot of advice. Follow what you feel makes sense for you because its true that everyone’s Camino is different. It’s so cheesy but the best thing you can bring with you is patience, graciousness, and flexibility. No matter how much travel/hiking experience you have there will be days/people/things that frustrate you and I feel strongly that we represent much more than ourselves to many people on the Camino.

    More concretely, while people can get really intense about socks, shoes, and ounces in packs, there’s nothing that can’t be taken care of on the trail. Don’t pack so heavy that you ruin our day, but if you packed the “perfect pack” it takes away the lessons, fun, and community of sharing on the Camino. I loved when I was able to give something I didn’t use to a fellow pilgrim. Conversely, someone may have something you need and its a great bond to share. Even if you pack something you may lose it in a messy early morning scramble to leave a hostel, so there’s no use getting too attached. It all really works out, even if not the way you planned. After all….”the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” right? I know the return plane ticket is our “task master” to some extent but try not to think of that too often.

    It’s all about your head, heart, and feet. Keep your feet happy. Buen Camino!!

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  5. I think the beauty of the Camino is, even if you don’t intend to find yourself or walk with any burning sort of desire or purpose… the purpose finds you. I truly think it happens to everyone, and it is an incredible process to uncover some of the lessons we’re given by the Camino. I walked last summer and continue to be amazed and awed by the experience. Good luck to you and Buen Camino!!

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  6. Cheers to your big adventure! This time last year, I started my serious planning for my Camino in September. I see you’re planning to start in Barcelona. If you can work it out, try to be there for a Wednesday evening. That’s when the Amics dels Pelegrins (Friends of the Camino in Barcelona) have their office hours. If you have your credencial, they’ll stamp it for you. I already had mine (got it in Canada before I left), so I wandered over to their office, shared some kind words in broken Catalan and got a lovely sello. If I can be of help with any other Camino questions, drop me a line (bitesizedtravel@gmail.com). Buen Camino!

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  7. The Camino is a unique experience. The steps sometimes become difficult, but that is partly why the journey is so rewarding. For me, the people I met along the way made the trek one I did not want to end. Best wishes!

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