Preparing for My Camino – What goes and what stays
Imagine you are going away for 2 months. Now imagine you need to carry on your back the items you will need to sustain you for the trip. This brings up the big question “How little can I get by with?”
If you have read my past blogs, you know that this has been a year of looking at how to simplify in so many ways. I cleaned my entire house in January, getting rid of things as I went. I have been tracking how much trash and recycling I am generating and looking at ways to keep it to a minimum. I have simplified my beauty routine on most days. I am learning new ways to be frugal on my new retirement budget and I am re-finding my interests and myself separate from the job I used to hold. Preparing for the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage is the perfect next challenge, but not an easy one.
WHAT TO TAKE ON MY CAMINO
I recall George Carlin’s famous speech on “stuff” and how it has influenced me. Our culture is so bound up in advertising that we create artificial needs and then wonder why our spirits feel empty. I am starting to think that less magazines, less TV commercials, and to focus on buying things that no one is advertising such as fruits and vegetables or items from local artists is the way to go. Last Spring I became aware of how many beauty products I had and then I realized I had them because I wanted to be beautiful and thought I was not. That “aha” opened my eyes to how much commercialism is going on in my life and strengthened my resolve to simplify.
In preparation for my journey I was able to take other peoples lists of items they took on the Camino and craft my own list. I began to get items I needed as I continued to talk to people. Some would contradict one another, so then I put a question mark by that item. I did my best to try out the item such as the bar shampoo and conditioner, the tooth powder, the REI convertible pants, the rain jacket, socks, sock liners, shirts and more. REI became my friend and I am grateful for their return policy too! A dear friend, Jennifer, works at Columbia Sports and she got me added to her friends and family discount…wow, that is quite the gift! I am not easy to fit. I wear a women’s 11 or 12 shoe and it has to be narrow to fit me. Cute dresses and skirts look too short on my long legs and make me look distracting. But I didn’t give up, I kept trying on items and then getting input from friends like Lori and my daughter, Myra. Thanks to all those people who helped me determine what to take and what to leave at home or return to REI. Your input is helping me have a good Camino!
So I got my list honed as much as I could, packed up the items in the backpack and began carrying that in my training hikes. I then would come home and see what I could let go of. I also took Heather, from the Portlandia Pilgrims, up on her offer to do a “backpack shakedown.” She came to my house to help me do another layer of what can stay home and confirming I had what I needed to do this trip. Thanks Heather for all your support, expertise and encouragement! They mean a lot to me. Remember the lighter the pack, the easier the Camino, the less injuries, etc.
Here are the final items I am taking with me in photos and on a list.
|Camino Gear 2013 (Edited after the Camino to show adjustments I would make for next time)|
|X||clothing||Athlethic jacket that zips up|
|X||clothing||Bandana x 4|
|X||clothing||Bra x 2|
|X||clothing||Hats x 2 – 1 for shade nylon, and 1 cap for warmth|
|X||clothing||Pants (long nylon that zip off into shorts) X 1|
|X||clothing||Rain Coat or poncho|
|X||clothing||Shirts (long sleve)
|X||clothing||Shirts (short sleve)
|X||clothing||Undies x 3|
|X||entertainment||iPhone (& Charger, adapter, earbuds)|
|X||entertainment||iPhone Gorilla tripod & Oscillo 3 in 1 lens|
|X||entertainment||Writing Pen & highlighter|
|X||gear||Backback & Rain cover|
|X||gear||Camino book (Brierley)|
|X||gear||Purse/bag or bellypack|
|X||gear||Stuff sack & plastic/cloth bags|
|X||gear||Swiss pocket knife|
|X||gear||Tupperware for food|
|X||Meds||Aleve, Calm powder, Power C, Dehydration salts|
|X||Blister Kit||OminiFix, blister roll on, Lg. needle & cotton thread|
|X||other||Paris Books (leave there)|
|X||other||Passport, ID, credit cards, cash, pilgrim credential, medical insurance info|
|X||other||Copies of passport, credit cards, etc. (on iPhone)|
|X||personal||Glasses & copy of prescription|
|X||personal||Contact Lenses & solution|
|X||personal||Condoms x 4|
|X||sleeping||Ear plugs (4-5 pairs)|
|X||Sleeping||Eyemask (Bucky – 40 Blinks from REI)|
|X||sleeping||Sleeping bag liner with space for pillow (treated for bed bugs)|
|X||toiletries||Dr. Bronner’s soap for bathing and laundry|
|X||toiletries||Eyeliner pencil, mascara and eye shadow (mirror), eyedrops for special nights|
|X||toiletries||Hairbrush, hairbands, rubberbands, scrunchie|
|X||toiletries||Laundry bag for dirty clothes|
|X||toiletries||Nail clippers, hangnail sizzors, tweezers|
|toiletries||Razor (get there)|
|X||toiletries||Toothbrush, toothpowder, Tongue scraper & floss|
|X||washing||Diaper pins to hang clothes on pack & for blisters|
This has been one of the hardest parts of my Camino so far. I love colors and choices, so trying to limit the clothes in particular was a challenge. Most people bring 2 outfits. I increased the amount of shirts and added in lots of bandanas and headbands to help give me more options for mix and match and self expression. I also choose a variety of bottoms (pants that convert to shorts, a skort, a dress and thermal pants) to be able to have more variety. If it gets cold, I may have to wear all my layers or purchase additional items there. I was reminded by a friend Patty who did the Camino last Fall, that Spain is not a Third World country and that most items can be purchased there.”
Once again, this blog is not saying that I am an expert. It is merely meant to capture my journey including the preparation pieces. Nothing will help me know if I am bringing the right stuff more than actually doing the Camino. Stay tuned as I explore the one final aspect of preparation which is being clear on the spiritual reasons for my journey.