“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.” – From Walking, by Henry David Thoreau (1862)
“Man’s real home is not a house, but the Road, and that life itself is a journey to be walked on foot.” ―From What Am I Doing Here, by Bruce Chatwin (1988)
In a few weeks I plan to follow the advice of Mr. Thoreau and Mr. Chatwin and walk the entire length of Spain!
My girlfriend J’Nell and I will be embarking on the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage, a 500 mile hike that will take us from the Pyrenees Mountains in France all the way to the rocky coast of Spain at Muxia (after a very important stop at the Santiago de Compestella Cathedral). No car, no trains, no bikes, no busses, no scooters, no Segways … all of that mileage westward will be by foot. While thousands of people traverse this established route every year, it still seems more like something you talk about but never actually do.
We’re doing it!
I was granted a sabbatical from my job (a huge thank you to my boss Geri and Highgate Hotels), and during this leave of absence we will be in Europe for three months. We say a hui hou to Hawaii this Sunday and fly to San Francisco, where we’ll get to hang out with friends and visit our favorite places there. Our European adventure starts September 6th in Paris, my favorite city in the world.
After enjoying the City of Lights and its moveable feast, we’ll then head down via train to the medieval town of St. Jean Pied de Port in Basque Country, which is the start of the Camino de Santiago. We’re not sure exactly how long it will take us to complete our five hundred miles of walking, but we’re not in any hurry and want to savor the experience. There’s a very popular book we’ve been reading that has a 33 day schedule, but with our built in rest days for exploration, we’re estimating about 45.
Portugal will be next on our itinerary, and we have no reservations yet for accommodations nor any idea when we’ll get there or how long we’ll stay. From our research on that beautiful country, I’m sure we will not want to leave at all. Porto, Lisbon, Sintra, the Douro Valley, Lagos, and so many more wonderful places to see.
But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself here! First we have San Francisco, Paris, and the Camino de Santiago.
I’m not taking my laptop on this journey, but I’ll have my phone and hopefully some wifi along the way. I’m going to try to post at least something once a day, most likely just a photo and some short commentary on what I’ve seen.
While I’m sure I’ll also put some stuff on Facebook and Instagram as well, I’m going to purposely (and severely) restrict myself to both social media and the internet in general. After I had already decided to go on this 500 mile walkabout, I serendipitously read a great article on a guy who did a longer one in Japan and found bliss by (mostly) disconnecting himself from technology and immersing himself in the here and now. I want to (mostly) unplug and experience something similar.
But I do want to share what I’m doing with family, friends, and anyone interested in my travels! You can check back to the blog whenever you like, or else sign up to receive email updates for when I post (which of course you can always unsubscribe from whenever you like, or else ignore in your inbox). Thanks in advance for following along on the journey!