Postcard from Pamplona

April 23, 2012 10 Comments »

Camino de santiago pamplona

Here’s a little secret, I’m not where you think I am.

Do you think I’m in Naples? Surprise, I’m not. In fact, I’ve been to 4 countries since I was in Naples and I’m currently in Pamplona, Spain. It’s impossible to travel at this pace (6 countries in 7 weeks) and be able to keep up with the work of a blogger. What’s that…you are surprised that bloggers work?! Well, keep in mind that my job as a travel blogger is to make you wish you were somewhere else. It doesn’t seem like that would be hard, but it is and it’s most definitely work!

So in order to continue writing about my European adventures as the Go with Oh Blogger, and to keep you slightly up to date on my current happenings, I’m starting a new section for a few weeks called “Postcards from (Fill in blank with exotic city/village here)” to be posted on Mondays. This is where I will be in real-time on that Monday and what I’m doing.

So – even though I’ve only just started writing about my Go with Oh experiences across Europe, my gig with them is currently finished and I’m in Pamplona now ready to begin my next adventure.

What is the next adventure?

I’m going to walk 441 miles (711 Km) across Spain for the next 5 weeks.

camino frances

I’m preparing to leave tomorrow and this will begin my Pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago trail across Northern Spain. To be honest – I’m quite nervous about the whole thing.


I’ve done no research on this trek, and have no idea what to expect. This has been partially because I’ve been quite busy with other things taking up my time, but also a large part due to the fact that I like surprises. I like to experience things with new eyes and not have expectations. This is probably the least amount of research and planning I’ve ever done for such a big trek; the longest trek I’ve ever done.

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I simply know that I put one foot in front of the other and walk. Walking is not rocket science, and you don’t necessarily need a detailed plan for every step – at least that’s what I keep telling myself.  Yes – I know there are guides and movies out there that could give me lots of info; however, I’ve made a conscious decision to not look at them because I’d rather experience them with new eyes and discover them for myself.

Here’s what I know:

The route I’m walking (Camino Frances) will be a total of 441 miles. It should take me 33 days including 4 rest days planned. I will walk an average of 14 miles a day – every day (this is the number that scares me). I will be doing this solo, but of course, I expect to meet people along the way to talk to! I will walk to my destination for the day and find a pilgrim albergues to sleep in. This is basically a low-cost bed for pilgrims walking the trail; sort of like a dorm. I

My big backpack will be transported for me by JacoTrans  (a luggage transporter for the Camino) every day and will plan on carrying about 12 to 15 pounds with me in a day pack (mainly my camera, lenses, layers, first aid kit, water) I will eat at villages along the way whenever I feel like it. I will go as high as 4,970 Ft. I don’t know Spanish. I will get blisters. I will be sore. I will probably cry at some point (tears of joy or pain).

Here’s what I don’t know:

What is the historical importance of this Pilgrimage? How many people will be on the trail with me? I don’t know my route or how I am supposed to find my way. I don’t know anything about the towns I will be going through. I don’t know what I will see. I don’t know how I will do the laundry. I don’t know if my knee will hold up.  I don’t know if I packed warm enough clothes.

Finally, I don’t fully know why people do this trek, but I know why I’m doing it.

I love hiking and it seemed like a great challenge. I sort of have a goal to do all the great hikes in the world and I feel like I’ve accomplished my share (Kilimanjaro, Inca Trail, Annapurna Circuit, Mt. Kinabalu, Half Dome, Milford Trek – to name a few).


I also wanted time to slow down and reflect upon my current situation. I think I have been going so fast and furious these last 2 years that I have not had a chance to actually consider what I’ve accomplished and most importantly – where I’m going. Five weeks of alone time and slow walking should provide me plenty of time to reflect. I have no idea what will come out of it, but I do hope that some clarity appears in some aspects of my life.

Don’t fear, I have help:

Rayo to the rescue! Rayo is a company that I’m utilizing to help lead me into this unknown. They have a cool iPhone/iPad application that will guide me every step of the way. They provide trail maps, and with the phone’s GPS function, the application will let you know exactly where you are at all times. This way you know exactly how far you have to walk to get to the next albergue or the next café/market, and obviously, ensure you don’t get lost or make a wrong turn.

It also provides details on all of the historical sites you pass and even has a translator so that when I arrive in a town in desperate need of Band-Aids, I will be able to ask for them in Spanish. Finally, it will also provide me a 3G connection throughout the trail so I can upload iPhone photos and keep myself as plugged in as I’d like.

I’m really excited to try the Rayo application out as they have been super to work with thus far!

How can you follow my Pilgrimage? I have an easy answer…

My new Facebook Page! If you hadn’t heard, I have finally started a real Ottsworld Travel Page on Facebook as opposed to the personal profile that I had been utilizing before. So to christen the new FaceBook page, I will be providing daily short updates on my trek. I expect in the beginning there will be many pictures of blisters and me whining about how sore I am, but hopefully that will give way to lots and lots of great photos and little snippets about the trail and my experiences. So as I make my way to Santiago, you can make your way over to my new Facebook page! Simply go ‘Like’ my new Facebook page and follow along, and please leave me some comments!

In addition, I will be doing this Monday postcard on my blog with a little rundown of my week of walking and how my Rayo application is working. Then after the whole thing is over I expect I will write extensively about the Camino de Santiago in case you are interested in doing it someday.

Finally, not only will I be taking photos with the new camera I bought, but I also have another cool new toy in the world of photography – the new Lytro camera. The rectangular-looking camera lets you focus the shot after you take it. The folks at Insure My Trip have loaned me the camera for a few months so I get to test it out and see how this new technology works.

I take off tomorrow and have no idea what to expect – but that’s just the way I like it. ‘See’ you in a week!

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