Should I Hike the Camino de Santiago?
Am I too wimpy for this?
If you don’t already know, the Camino de Santiago is a series of pilgrimages across parts of Spain and Portugal that lead to Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of St. James were discovered.
There are multiple routes, but the most popular is the Camino Frances, which runs along northern Spain from St Jean Pied de Port in France and ends in Santiago. The full route covers about 485 miles, or 780 kilometers.
The Camino began as a spiritual pilgrimage. But it is now usually undertaken by those who are looking to experience the challenge of such an extended hike.
I don’t remember exactly where or when I first heard about the Camino. I think it was a blog post. I just know that, once I knew what it was, I couldn’t quite shake the idea of hiking the Camino de Santiago myself.
Which doesn’t actually make any sense. I’m not the biggest fan of the outdoors; I like the idea of nature, just not most of the practical aspects of being in nature. (Like avoiding bugs, getting too hot or too cold, getting wet or dirty, finding a place to poop, etc. etc.)
But over the last year or so I have started to add more outdoor activities into my life. I occasionally go on hikes and the idea of taking a walk outdoors no longer fills me with complete dread. Sometimes I think I even enjoy being outside a little bit.
Other times I still think I would be better off staying indoors forever.
Despite my mixed feelings on hiking and being in nature in general, I keep coming back to the idea of hiking the Camino. I am intrigued by pushing myself to complete such a big endeavor. I think of how it would feel to complete it, how maybe if I walked across Spain I could do just about anything.
On the other hand, I’m not the most physically fit person. I would definitely have to get in better shape before I considered doing something like that.
I’m also kind of a wimp. Too much discomfort and I turn into a cranky mess. All things considered, the Camino is probably one off the less uncomfortable long-haul hikes you can do, given that you are able to sleep every night in an actual bed (there are hostels along the way called Albergues that offer bare-minimum accommodation to those on the Camino) and you don’t usually go that long between seeing people. But still. Facts are facts and the fact is I’m a touch wimpy.
And yet I still want to hike the Camino de Santiago. The whole thing. I want to start in France and walk my way across Spain by myself for a month. Is that crazy? Am I a crazy person?
Maybe. I don’t know. I’m going to do some obsessive Googling and think about it.
Have you hiked the Camino de Santiago, or a similar long hike? What did you think?
Grace Carlson is a writer from Washington. She writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and the occasional poem. She also writes articles on travel, mental health, writing, and books. Sometimes she’s funny, or at least that’s what her mom says. Visit her blog, A Passport And A Pencil.
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