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 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.
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 surprise. 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. 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 conscience decision to not look at them becuase I’d rather experience it with new eyes and discover it 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 into 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 will have my big backpack 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 of 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 of the towns I will be going through. I don’t know what I will see. I don’t know how I will do 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 who I’m utilizing to help lead me into this unknown. They have a cool iphone/ipad application which will guide me every step of the way. They provide trail maps, and with the phones 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, insure 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 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!
Finally, not only will I be taking photos with my 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 that 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!
By Ted April 23, 2012 - 5:37 pm
Wow, that’s an impressive hike Sherry. Good luck! I just got into Barcelona tonight. Like many, I assumed you were still in Italy. I’ll definitely be referencing your posts once I get there. And I am very curious about the Lytro. I heard about the technology a year ago. It could be a real game changer. OK, off to Like your new FB Page…!:-)
By Sherry April 23, 2012 - 7:13 pm
Wow – you are in Barcelona…we are so close…but yet so far. 🙂 how long will you be there. I’m back there around mid June! Would love to meet you!
By Sharon Miro April 23, 2012 - 6:05 pm
Sherry: I have been thinking about this trek for some time..and I have hopes that this is going to seal the deal for me. No pressure:) Can’t wait ot hear your impressions and read about your resources. BTW, the historial significance of this trek is deep, and old. From St Francis to Shirley MacLaine…good stuff to be found.
By Sherry April 23, 2012 - 6:45 pm
Shirley MacLaine…now I’m intrigued!
By Mark H April 29, 2012 - 12:11 am
One of my dream journeys – best of luck with your endeavours. I will read your updates with interest. Did you ever see the movie “The Way” which captures a little of the the Camino in a very Hollywood way?
By Sherry April 30, 2012 - 9:33 am
No – I didn’t see it. I decided to experience it first with my own eyes and then will watch the movie afterwards!
By Nic Freeman May 10, 2012 - 10:15 am
Been loving your updates so far, especially as I get closer to started my own Camino (3 days!) I’m also a little under prepared. In Pamplona now and trying to send a backpack to meet me in Santiago. I saw you are using Jacotrans – how did you organise this (phone, email, in person)? My Spanish is all but non existent but I’ve emailed them to get a quote / service list and am just fishing for extra info.
Keep up the great stories! I’ll be telling some of my own soon at http://www.nicfreeman.com . Cheers,
By Sherry May 10, 2012 - 12:50 pm
Actually Rayo Travel contacted them for me. But – they will move your bag every day for 7Euro a day – it’s that easy. You can call them and see if you can get someone to speak English – simply tell there where to pick up your back the first time and then you should be able to use the envelopes they provide from then on out. I also SMS them sometimes just to make sure they know where to deliver – but I don’t think that’s necessary. Let me know if you decide to use them – they have been wonderful for me. Good luck – I started from Pamplona too! Take a look at the albergues I mentioned on the last post – as they were great! You will do great…and don’t worry about not being prepared – I honestly don’t think anything can prepare you for it – that’s the beauty – you simply see that the world throws at you each day and adapt.
Let me know how it goes!! can I follow you on FB or twitter?
By Jenny May 18, 2012 - 2:31 am
Hey Sherry. I’m excited for you and your current adventure. it’s great reading the blogs, and, as the above commenters mentioned, the Camino trail is on my bucket list too. I feel a bit like you in liking things to be a surprise, so I may have to refrain from looking at all your blogs/photos…
By Chris J March 10, 2013 - 4:22 pm
Wow…very impressive decision to leave the corporate grind and hit the road. I did that in 1984 (31 years old) and lived in Japan for over three years. Now as I approach 60 I am approaching retirement and already my wife and I have plans afoot to retire (early) to the Philippines. New adventures there–closeby most of SE Asia for travel, not to mention the adventure of building our new house.
Might do the Camino one day, but plan to circum-walk the island of Negros once I arrive.
Curious hw you are able to travel and earn enough money to get by. Blog income?