I’m a planner. What can I say? Impulsive, I am not. Here’s what I’ve done to prep for my camino:
- Read books about others’ experiences on the camino (big stretch for this librarian, right?) Here’s a few of my favorites:
- Follow (religiously) these Facebook pages: American Pilgrims on the Camino, and Camigas – A Buddy System for Women on the Camino. Beth and I have told ourselves that we need to quit reading every post, but we can’t. The info is invaluable – from those who are currently walking, and those who plan to.
- Purchasing gear. Shoes and backpacks are most important. Pack Rat in Fayetteville is my favorite local store. The sales people are so friendly and helpful, especially regarding backpacks. I purchased one pair of shoes at REI and returned them right away when I got hot spots after 3 miles. REI is great about returns – even if you’ve worn something. Everything is about weight. The common advice is that your backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 10% of your body weight! Beth and I are both a bit obsessed with weighing everything we plan to bring. What about this portable fan (for my evening hot flashes?) Can I afford another 2.6 oz.? Decisions, decisions…
- Physical training: While Beth and I are both very active swimmers and cyclists, walking is a different animal. I started walking in late June, about 3 miles at a time, which took about an hour. Walking alone is hard for me. I want to run, and I get bored. But walking with Beth is great. We’ve slowly worked up to about 9 miles, and today completed 11. Trying to walk on different terrain is our goal – some pavement, and some off-road, to simulate our camino walk. With all of our mountain bike trails in Northwest Arkansas, we have lots of options. So far, we’ve hiked around Blowing Springs, part of the Back 40, the Razorback Greenway, Hobbs State Park and today we completed our longest hike (11 miles) around Lake Atalanta. I have to say that today was my favorite hike. The trail around Lake Atalanta is beautiful. The scenery is wonderful, AND there are lots of drinking fountains and bathrooms (nice ones!) available. Our plan is to work up to a bit longer hikes and then taper back down for the 2 weeks prior to our Sept. 10th departure. Walking with Beth is fun. We’re close to the same age. We both have 2 sisters and 1 brother. We are both retired teachers, and bottom line is… I just enjoy her company.
- Learning Spanish: Through the Bentonville Public Library, I’ve practiced some Spanish with Rosetta Stone. I’ve also used an app called Duolingo, as well as listened to some podcasts called Coffee Break Spanish. Each has their pros and cons (Do I really need to know how to say…The shoes are green? or My dog is brown?) I know I could get by with very little knowledge of the Spanish language, but I’d like to give it a try – make the locals happy, and challenge my old brain.