I don’t know why walking the Camino de Santiago has such a hold on me, but it surely does.  I learned of the Camino through my blogging community and then Abi and I had the opportunity to see the documentary, “Walking the Camino, Six Ways to Santiago” and I left the theater completely inspired and fully committed to walking. If a young woman can push her 3-year-old son in a stroller across the country of Spain, then surely, I can make the walk.

Join the Club

There have been others who have inspired me with their journey.  Kim, of So Many Places, made the trek solo.  Each story I come across not only inspires me but it also encourages me to step out of my comfort zone to take on such a quest. I guess I want to carve out a little niche for us; to join the club, so-to-speak, of those who have learned the secret of the Camino.

Camino Inspiration

My most recent Camino inspiration is that of my monkey sister and her husband.  My monkey sister is my sister by choice, not blood, and for us the bond runs deep and has done so for 50 years.  Yes. I am that old.  But in my our defense we met in 2nd grade, so maybe we’re not that old.  We had hoped to walk the Camino as a foursome, but we were not able to move away from southern Oregon until October, so we couldn’t make it happen.  It’s okay though, there will be more walks. It was meant to be this way.

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Stories from El Cardonal

If you’ve been with us for a while, you know my monkey sister.  She is the voice behind the beautiful stories of life south of the border, near El Cardonal, on the incredibly serene and beautiful shores of the Sea of Cortez.  She and her husband just returned from walking the Camino de Santiago and I’m excited to share their story with you.

Patti: The big question – Why? Why walk the Camino?

Darrell: Walking isn’t a team sport, we support one another, but in the end you are alone in your head, putting one foot in front of the other through heat, rain, cold and pain.  Walking the Camino is a perfect time to really get to know yourself.
Roxanne:   Both Darrell and I knew my cousin Bill, and his wife Paige, had walked the Camino and we really enjoyed Paige’s great Camino photos.  However, walk 500 miles carrying a pack?  No, thank you. Then Darrell caught Bill and Paige’s enthusiasm and he’s going. I love my husband.  I tell myself, I got to see what this guy is so excited about.

Photo credit: Roxanne & Darrell

Patti: How many miles in how many days?

Darrell: We did 500 miles, 800 kilometers, in 33 days.

Patti: Did you have a daily mileage goal?

Darrell:  Our only goal was to enjoy going from point A to point B and hopefully there would be a bed at end of the day.
Roxanne: Sometimes we walked less sometimes we walked more.  Twice, we walked 23 miles in one day, just felt good to keep going.

Photo Credit: Roxanne & Darrell

Patti: What was your travel route from the United States to the start of the Camino?

Darrell:  We departed San Francisco and flew to Copenhagen and then on to Paris. We spent one night in Paris and then took the train to Bayonne and on to Saint Jean Pied du Port.

Patti: What was the toughest part of the experience?

Darrell:  The finish, didn’t want to stop, I just wanted to keep walking.
Roxanne:  Saying good-by to a friend whose Camino was cut short because of injuries.

Photo credit: Roxanne & Darrell

Patti: What made you smile as you walked?

Darrell: The strength of my wife, a.k.a. your monkey sister, our fellow pilgrims, and the sheer beauty of the country side.
Roxanne: The crows.  Their sound at times was so different from their crow relatives here in North America. Really, no kidding. Tell me if you notice that when you go.

Patti:  What touched your heart as you walked?

Darrell:  The pain I saw people walk through and the support we all received from each other.

Roxanne:  Our fellow pilgrims and their stories and oh my God, Darrell, Mr. Blister just kept moving forward.

Photo credit: Roxanne & Darrell

Patti: Most memorable moment?

Darrell: In Santiago when Roxanne walked out of the office with her compostella; a very stoic German women grabbed Roxanne and hugged and kissed her, and cried.

Roxanne:  Reading Darrell’s answer has made me cry.  Again! Crying like a baby right now.  Holy Shit! The tears are streaming. Sorry, Patti-monkey Sister, I don’t have the skills to intelligently explain the emotions of the tons of amazingly sweet moments!

Photo Credit: Roxanne & Darrell

Patti: What was in your pack?

Darrell:  Clothes, toiletries, silk bed liner, water, snacks.
Roxanne:   So my body wouldn’t mutiny, weight was important. Bare bones.

Patti: What did you take away from the experience?

Darrell:  A reminder that you really don’t need much to get along in this life.
Roxanne:  I’m hooked.  So, Darrell, where we walking to next?

Patti: How did you decompress after your walk before heading back to the states?

Darrell: We rented a flat in Spain to decompress and rest.  You really are exhausted physically and emotionally.
Roxanne:  I thought we had decompressed until some of your questions made us cry.

Photo Credit: Roxanne & Darrell

Patti: Best piece of advice for anyone planning a pilgrimage?

Darrell:  Commit. We met pilgrims who decided to make the walk just 3 weeks prior to walking.  I can’t stress enough the importance of your gear, experiment, get out the scale and get your weight down.  Roxanne had 11 pounds.  I had 13 pounds. You will be glad you did.
Roxanne: Pick shoes that will be your friends.

Thank you to Darrell and Roxanne for sharing their experience and words of wisdom.  I love the concept that taking a walk – albeit a really (really) long walk – can bring about such valuable lessons in our lives and we look forward to our upcoming walk in the spring.

We Need to Toughen Up

Abi and I have been walkers for years.  While living in Ashland, OR for nearly 4 years everyone in town who knew us, knew us as the walkers.  Come February, Abi and I will take on a training regiment in preparation for our walk in the spring.  We both need to toughen up our backs and get used to walking long distances with a backpack before we head to Spain.

What about you?  Do you have a desire to walk the Camino de Santiago or take on an equally challenging quest?

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