Then? How do you prepare the mind?
While I had no hesitation, at times I wondered what the hell I had decided to do! Let me begin by saying, I am not a highly detailed person. I tend to wander through life feeling, experiencing and observing the big picture. I love to sit back recognize the weaving web of connection. The little pieces that are a part of that web? Not so much.
Spread sheets are not my friends, I like dancing outside of the box and spread sheets are full of little boxes. I like circles and spirals. That said, walking 550 miles and carrying on my back everything I will use for 7 weeks, through a country where I only speak pequeña cantidad de (small amount of) the language... Does ask for a bit of attention to the details.
I like getting my information in an interactive way so I joined Camino Facebook pages and Camino forums and read discussions everyday. The information (and opinions) were offered on every conceivable detail. When to go, which route, how/where to stay, reservations or none, alone or not, what kind of pack to carry (or hire a company to take it place to place), exactly what to put in the pack or not, how much should it weigh. And shoes… Oh the discussions about shoes!
It was exciting, informative, overwhelming and at times, daunting.
On occasion, I felt myself get reactionary: ‘OMG, I must find boots that work for me’. Do I need to study more Spanish? Do I need to study the route and should I make that route spreadsheet? Should I make a list of the ‘best’ albugeres? Do I need to take… (The list is long).
As with preparing my body, my mental preparation became a quiet listening to myself. I kept returning to my core knowing. What does matter to me? What will allow me to feel prepared? How do I desire and choose to BE with this Journey?
My body informed me that running shoes work best for me. I did not study Spanish. I know a little and in my experience, when I get into a country and am immersed in a language. I figure it out.
I did not ‘study’ the route. I want my days to unfold as I feel drawn to… Walk more, walk less, stay here, continue on. I gave myself the expansiveness of 7 weeks to walk. I certainly have a sense of the 550 miles. Every evening I will look ahead at what possibilities the next day brings. (I may sit at dinner next to a pilgrim with a spreadsheet ;)
Albugeres? Reservations? I have reservations for 2 nights in Paris and 2 nights in St Jean Pied de Port. Once I begin walking The Camino, I will see what shows up each day. Perhaps I will miss ‘the best one’. Perhaps what I do experience, will be even better! And while I plan to stay in alburges most of The Way, I have given myself ‘permission’ to occasionally stay in a private room, B&B or hotel, if the desire arrives.
My pack: Osprey Exos 58
3 shirts, 3 pairs of running pant/leggins, skirt
3 panties, bra
3 pair of socks, 2 sock liners
Rain jacket that covers my pack
2 Patagonia Neo Puff jackets (Very light and warm, I can wear both if needed. At night when placed in a stuff sack with the fiber liner turned inside out, my pillow)
2 pair shoes. Nike Vomero’s and Nike Glides, both water resistant
Slippahs (thongs) for evening and the showers.
2 clothes pins, 1 carabiner, 6 safety pins
Small head light, whistle
Tilley hat, sunglasses
Small hiking down comforter
Mattress cover/sleep sack treated with permethrin (yep, for da' possibility of bedbugs)
Amoxicillin, ibuprofen, zycam, foot care band-aids
Brush, hair ties, lip balm, small sunscreen tube
Dr Bronners (for body, hair, clothes)
Tooth brush, paste
Spork, knife, small collapsable cup, camel back bladder for water in my pack.
Small Tibetan prayer flags
iPhone (with some handy apps including ‘Gaia GPS’ which holds maps and tracks me off line… I love maps!)
Small against my body, ‘purse pack’ with passport, camino passport, American express card, debit card, cash.
My Camino Scallop Shell.
About the Facebook groups and Camino forums. A few weeks before I left, I quit going to them. As the time to leave grew closer, I noticed reading them caused an increase in my reactionary self. The ‘OMG, I need to…’ It did not serve me well. I went back to the inner listening.
Eventually everything on the above list and my intent of ‘how to walk’... Was a simple decision. Also the last couple weeks before leaving, I tended the details of my life... Crossing off the 'to do' list of what to me, felt important to complete. Each decision, and each completion, settled my mind to be ready.
Next: Preparing to Walk The Way: The Heart