cathyr wrote:All this talk about The Way is really intriguing/inspiring. Once I retire I think this is definitely something I want to look into. Like Victoria, I'd probably be looking at doing this alone, and El Camino Santiago sounds like a great experience.
I think there are two distinct attitudes towards long-distance hiking. The first one, epitomized by the Appalachian Trail, is focused on seeking solitude, getting away from the civilization, and toughing it out. The other one is living on the move while being exposed to a lot of different people and avoiding physical hardships. El Camino is the second type, and it's the one I prefer.
I had a similar experience when trekking in the Annapurna region of Nepal. Over there, I hired a guide and a porter, and we were walking along a busy trail from village to village, staying at tea houses. In every tea house and on the path, I was meeting a lot of people, many of whom I found fascinating. Paradoxically, when you travel by yourself, you are far more social than when you travel with companions.
For me, it's important to treat it as an enjoyable experience rather than an athletic feat. If I can walk only 10-12 miles per day, so be it. If I have to wait over a thunderstorm, I will. I will minimize the weight of my pack (it will be much lighter than what I am practicing now), which means that I will be spending more money on replacement items. On the other hand, I will try to stay in auberges and refugios rather than hotels, because sharing lodging with other travelers is a part of el Camino's attraction.
My main point is that it's possible to have wonderful experiences when one stops looking at them as athletic achievements and starts seeking adventure.
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