Guest Post

Reasons to Walk the Camino de Santiago

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During the last ten years the walking and pilgrimage routes of the Camino de Santiago have become very popular.  The Camino is not one route, but many pilgrimage routes that have Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain as their target and final destination. (Image by camino_pelegrino)

camino frances

The main hike is the Camino Frances.  This route is has the best infrastructure and that consequently makes it the most travelled.  The Camino Frances start in a small town in southern France, St Jean Pied de Port, and travels for 800km across Spain.  To walk the whole route needs about a month or you can cycle it in less than two weeks.

Here are three lesser know reason to walk:

Unplugged

Imagine not having the Internet all day everyday for 30 days?  For some us that might be a nightmare as we are so plugged in.

During the first few days I was looking for Wi-Fi spots or computers in the evening where I could check my mail.  Checking email, Facebook, work; it all seemed really important to me – even when everyone knew that I was going to be away for a month and I was not going to be online.  In emergency’s people could text or call – however my phone was off during the day and I only checked in the evening.

What I discovered by being offline for so long was that the world would happily go on without me and that I wasn’t that important in the whole scheme of things.

Exercise

Like many I exercise sporadically.  It has been one of those areas in life where I have often wished I more disciplined.  I know it is good for me, but the thoughts of spending my time staring at a wall in a gym doesn’t turn me on.

Before packing my rucksack and heading off I hadn’t given thought to this area.  I knew I could walk 20km a day and if the worse came to the worse I would walk less and just use public transport if I ran out of time.

The first day of the walk is tough going and I though I would never make it to the end.  My lack of fitness haunted me, however I knew that this day would be the hardest day of the whole route.  By the time I reached Pamplona, after three days, I had found my stride and I was walking 25km a day without trouble.

By the end of 30 days of walking every day I felt the fittest I had been in my adult life and to top it off I had lost about 14lb in weight. ( Image by Fresco Tours )

camino walk

Community

I set out on this journey because a friend had told me about it.  He told me about the hostels, the food, the landscapes – however I never heard him talk much about the sense of community along the trail.

The first thing I discovered about myself and people was there was a certain type of person that managed to wind me up no matter what language they spoke.

However from day one other people on the trail were helping me.  I do not speak any Spanish and I had to book my first night – one of the few times this needs to be arranged.  I walked about 25km each day, and this was the same pace of many others.  So the people that started out at the same time as me became my traveling companions for almost the whole journey.  Today I still keep in touch with many of them and because of the long hours walking together along dusty paths we got to know each other very well very quickly.

About the author

Leslie loves the Camino de Santiago so much he built a forum and has walked again along the same route and part of the Camino in France.

Featured Image by Jexweber.fotos

About kobi klaf

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