PART ONE: ORIGINS
All stories have origins. Wether or not they happen in a particularly epic manner or not is a different manner. For me, the start of my 260km trek through Spain didn’t start with a vision in a burning bush, or a visit from the ghost of Christmas past, or a paranormal entity crawling out of my TV, but walking out of a cinema, 99p Chicken Mayo burger in hand.
“I’m just saying, sometimes it’s better to not know where you’re going. When was the last time you went on an actual adventure?”
This was the kind of thing we usually talked about, my dad and I, when out together. His mundane collection of maps annoyed me. My mundane approach of adventure and wandering blindly annoyed him. What was planned there and then may, or may not have been to put these theories to the test. My Dad, who had remained silent now offered his thoughts. “Have you ever heard of the Camino?”
Well, me being a sixteen year old obviously hadn’t. I knew about the burger, and munched on it silently. What was a Camino? It sounded like a species of Piranha.
I did have the guts to Google it when we got home. “WHAT! THAT’S A WALK, A LONG ONE!”. I hadn’t really known much about how long walks usually were, as the average duration for me was fifteen minutes down to the local Tesco to get a jumbo chocolate croissant in the morning (85p, in case you’re wondering, i’d recommend).
260km would be our distance, restricted by time.
That and my fitness.
Oh, and the sleeping arrangements.
I didn’t know this at the time, but hostels are not that comfortable. I was given a description, but nothing could prepare me for the living conditions. In fact, nothing could have prepared me for any of it. The walking, early hours, coffee, massive sandwiches, annoying birds and snoring women. All of which I experienced. But I did try to prepare.
Climbing Mt Snowdon, the numerous hikes, early starts and aching all played their part in my year long training so I would simply be able to finish. I do live in England though, so I don’t have the heat. Scorched earth beating down on you without any shade for hours as your lips dry and water depletes. You wage a constant war with the equilibrium of energy and sleep.
But I like a challenge. I like seeing what I can actually do, how far I can push myself.
After all, how bad could it be?