Camino de Santiago del Norte
(Lake Geneva, WI)
This was a burning desire of mine since reading the book Pilgrimage by Paulo Cuelho in 2005. At that time my life was paying off two mortgages, car, credit cards and supporting my daughter through college. My desire grew over the years. The time was ripe!! I strategically pad off one debt at a time.
In 2014 my plan was to walk from Pamplona Spain to Santiago, using the popular route through the middle of Spain.
The day before my departure for Pamplona I decided that the Northern route took me through the parts of Spain that I desired to see, Asturias, Santander, and the Beach of the Cathedrals. I stayed one night in the hotel that was booked in Pamplona and took a bus to Bilbao.
I was alone with no guide book. There were yellow arrows that I followed through town. The plan was to start off my stamp book with a Basilica stamp. My walk was in circles not knowing how to get a stamp from anyone. So, I followed the yellow arrows until I couldn't walk anymore. I found a hotel and studied a map before leaving the next morning.
Little by little the universe gives you what you need. People will help you along the way. It wasn't until my second week walking someone showed me a guidebook that was extremely useful. Thank God for technology and Kindle. The phone is much lighter than the book.
When walking a long distance keep in mind the weight in the bag. You need a comfy pair of shoes to walk at night, two pairs of lightweight pants and one nice dress or change for hanging out in the cities you visit. Bring a portable clothes line so you can wash your clothes when you are done walking and hang them in the hostel, albergue, or hotel while your in your night clothes. Every ounce counts.
It took me one month to walk 685 kilometers from Bilbao to Santiago. It was definitely the best experience of my life. Just don't ask my feet :)