If you'll pardon my gushing for a moment, I'll get to the practical stuff once I have this out: El Camino de Santiago is just the best. If I had to pick 30 days of my life to re-live over and over again, it would be the month that we spent on the Camino Frances (the most popular route between St Jean Pied de Port, France and Santiago, Spain) in 2013. It's my favorite cultural experience in the world, and I'm so glad it exists. If you're here, I'm guessing you have at least a vague sense of what it is, and if not the Wikipedia Camino article will get you up to speed better than I can. But if I had to summarize, I would call it a 500 mile purpose-driven long walk across northern Spain where cheap wine and beer and coffee and croissants rain down like manna from heaven as you wander through picturesque ancient villages. It's really my favorite thing in the world.
The best part of the Camino experience, in my opinion, is the community. That thin ribbon of Spanish land is populated by interesting, super supportive people of all shapes, colors, ages and nationalities who are there because they want to have a life changing experience - but not in a weird way. It's a rare place in the world where there's a strong sense that a large and diverse group of people are all in it together to help each other succeed and figure out how to accomplish a goal they set and sacrificed to achieve.
We're featuring a bunch of Camino stories on this week's podcast, and in the supportive spirit of the pilgrimage in Spain, I've been thinking about the one key to a successful trip for those who might find their way here who are contemplating it. I don't want to do another comprehensive write up (there are lots of those online), so I want to present the "if you could only write one blog post" principle that describes a successful approach in a nutshell.
I also realize that our readership isn't primarily composed of people contemplating el Camino de Santiago, but is almost exclusively an audience who are interested in various forms of outdoor travel and adventure. And as such, I've also been thinking about what gives the Camino its particular appeal for that crowd - our normal audience of travelers, athletes, and adventurers.
And I think I've got the principle that addresses both crowds:
Tim and Angel
The goat in the picture lives in Silverton, CO, and tried to kill us. We survived to bring you this dirtbag wisdom for the ages.