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firsttimer

New Member
Hi everyone,
I'm planning on doing my caminio frances this coming August. having gone thorugh a particularly tough time in my life I feel i need to get away and have some time for myself for a change. I am doing it 'alone', although i know i wont be alone, I am slightly nervous about this, im generally a shy person when it comes to talking to strangers but have also taken a huge confidence blow in my life recently which make this whole thing a little more daunting.
I have a million and 1 basic questions, some of which i will only know the answer to when i get walking i think. One of my main material worries is money, I will be working from a budget, I imagine I will be going the supermercado route for as long as i possibly can to keep cost down, is this do-able?
Clothes wise, would I be ok with a few t shirts and few pairs of shorts and maybe something light for a few colder days(will there even be any colder days in August).
Now the big one..shoes.. what would anyone recommend is the best way to go or has anyone any recommendations?
i think the start of this is very unnerving. like when i get to st jean, what do i do. just start walking? should i stay a night there maybe and meet up with a few people and set off the next day.
will i need a sleeping bag.
Edit: I keep coming up with more questions, it being Holy year and in August what will the situation be with accomodation or should i just wing it and see what happens?

I think im just a bit unsure of myself doing this, iv told people and they all think its fantastic but im a lot more nervous than im letting on to them.
 
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suzie morgs

Member
Welcome to the Camino experience. I would really recommend John Brierley's book on the camino frances. In it he will answer most of the questions you have. It can be purchased online. Just google John Brierley and follow the links to the route you want.
This forum provides excellent first hand knowledge as a great guide.
I'd advise having a night in St jean before walking as the first day is a big one.
Many people walk on their own. I walked with my husband last year from St Jean but this year with only a week available, I'm starting at Sarria, on my own. You will meet people on the way and they will be your camino family. You will rejoice when you see them on the way and share the highs and lows together. Waiting at the cathedral in Santiago is lifegiving as you greet those you have shared the journey with.
On most stages you will find a shop for supplies but read your guide carefully as some stretches are hot and dry, with little available food, so you may need to carry some light supplies with you.
My husband found last year that his t-shirt smelled so bad towards the end we couldn't have it in our room! You need a fabric that will wick away moisture but dry quickly. This may not be such a big deal in August but clothing that dries quickly was a better option for us.
I had a fabulous pair of boots that i could have thrown away after a week of walking. I had worn them in for a few months but finished up buying a pair of joggers at Logrono. Some of the terrain is very rough and boots provided great support but it has to be what you find comfortable.
Enjoy your preparation physically and spiritually.
 

voyagermoon

New Member
Hi there,

I have written a very short book that answers a lot of your questions. It's called The 7 Secret Keys to Painless Pilgrimage - it's free and you can get it at http://www.voyagermoon.com.au

It is easy to do El Camino with just about nothing on your back - after one week of carrying a pack, I posted it to Santiago (they have pack sized boxes at the post office - I'm probably not the first to do this) and I bought a day pack. I traveled only with what I could fit in this pack around my sleeping bag or tie around my waist or fit in my pockets. I had only one change of clothes and they were also my pyjamas! The trick is investing in fine merino wool clothing - they don't stink, they're light and you can wear them for a whole month without stinking :)

And believe me, after 24 hours everything you thought mattered on your pilgrimage won't matter at all. All the best and having walked from Rome to the foothills of Macedonia (two years after doing El Camino) I'm pretty well-versed on answering your questions in The 7 Secret Keys to Painless Pilgrimage :)

Bon Camino!
http://www.voyagermoon.com.au
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Hola VoyagerMoon!
Perhaps you are the very person needed to start a CSJ or similar down under? Even South Africa has a busy CSJ (8 years old now) - and since when do the Boks beat the Wallabies to anything!

A few comments about your E-Book:

The Correos in Santiago won't keep a package for longer than 14 days (the exception being this Holy Year - 30 days) so you need to qualify that bit of advice.

Thermal pajamas? In Spain, in summer?

One wash in a month?? Why? Lazy, laissezfaire, don't have any sweat glands? Nah! You gotta wash at least every 2nd day.


By the way, Stephanie's book is about her walk from Rome to Jerusalem, and you can order it on her website.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Hola First Timer,
Walking the camino is one of the best thing you could do at this stage of your life. They say that the stars are the souls of pilgrims past looking down on pilgrims walking the camino. I have a theory that all the pilgrims' troubles, heartaches, tradgedies and sorrows that they bring with them are manifested in the rocks, pebbles, gravel and stones that make up the camino paths. And, boy oh boy, there are millions of those!
Some pilgrims manage to do the camino on 15 euro a day. Sharing food bought at supermecados is one way to keep your costs down.
You don't need a 'few' of anything. 2 shirts, 2 shorts, 3 socks, a light jacket and perhaps a pair of light trousers will be sufficient.
I walked 650km of the camino Frances in hiking sandals three years ago. Many pilgrims wear hiking shoes or All Terrain trainers. You don't need to spend a fortune on boots or shoes.
When you get to St Jean you could go to the Pilgrims' Office in the main street - Rue de la Citadelle - and get a credencial, profile map, and a list of albergues on the camino. If you have a booking for a bed at the albergue Orisson - about 10km up the hill - you could start walking right away. (They charge about 30 euro for dinner, bed and breakfast). Otherwise you could book a bed ahead at the albergues in St Jean and start walking the next day.
August is always busy and this year August will probably be very busy but, I'm sure by then plans for the alternate accommodations will have kicked in.
Try not to worry too much. You will be walking on a well worn trail in a First World country with lots of infrastructure and support for pilgrims like you.
Every year people with all sorts of problems to challenge them do the camino - blind people, people in wheelchairs, people with diabetes, heart problems, cancer survivors. Just go and walk - and be happy!
Big hug,
Sil
 
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vjpulver

Crazy Chicken Lady with the Camino on my Mind!
Past OR future Camino
Apr-Jun 2009 - I solo walked from Roncesvalles to Santiago. I hope to return as a hospitalera in 2016.
I am glad I went light.

Yes, there were times when I kind of longed for the comfort of some item, but generally it was wonderful to just pare life down to a change of clothes, a 1lb sleeping bag, a pair of flip flops. I had a fleece and a rain cape. I took several bandanas and a scarf that I used as washcloths, towels, headband, napkin. I wore a tank shirt and undies in my sleeping bag. I did not take walking sticks and ended up with a lovelt stick another pilgrim foraged from the woods for me. I took no books, not even a guide book. I carried a small water bottle and chocolate bars, just in case.

I cut off every tag and extra strap and button and wieghed and considered every item I took.

It was a joy (to me) to NOT have to deal with tedious packing and stuffing every morning. Most days one can find the essentials at a local shop (not always).

The difference between needs and wants becomes pretty clear after 40 days of living this lifestyle. :cool:

There is no right or wrong answer to the packing adventure.

Life is good

"Ginn"
Peregrina Pulver in Sunny Santa Fe
 

voyagermoon

New Member
sillydoll said:
Hola VoyagerMoon!
Perhaps you are the very person needed to start a CSJ or similar down under? Even South Africa has a busy CSJ (8 years old now) - and since when do the Boks beat the Wallabies to anything!

A few comments about your E-Book:

The Correos in Santiago won't keep a package for longer than 14 days (the exception being this Holy Year - 30 days) so you need to qualify that bit of advice.

Thermal pajamas? In Spain, in summer?

One wash in a month?? Why? Lazy, laissezfaire, don't have any sweat glands? Nah! You gotta wash at least every 2nd day.


By the way, Stephanie's book is about her walk from Rome to Jerusalem, and you can order it on her website.

Hi there! And thanks for the invitation and for making me laugh and for checking it all out!

Interesting about the Correos in Santiago - they held my pack for nearly a month. Like everything, there is policy and there is reality - I will certainly update the book with this information.

Interesting thing about fine merino wool - it's cool as well as warming. And yes, walking in summer you will wash more often - you'll notice my little book recommended walking in autumn, when it's cooler and you get to walk the turning wheel of the seasons ..... and when you arrive in a refugio in the dark and it's freezing cold and noone else is there so you have to find a crack in the wall to get in and there's not hot water .... well, we all know it's not a lot like this, but it can be and I'm making a minor point about the importance of washing - personal cleanliness yes; clothing - with merino wool, just air it on the end of your bed and it's all good in the morning.

To be honest, my feet have only just recovered from walk from Rome (two and a half years later) - I didn't think I had any interest whatsoever in another pilgrimage. Engaging on this forum stirs the blood all over again!

Bon Camino!
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Stirring enough to start a CSJofAu?? I'm sure you'll find a few willing helpers on this forum.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Hello Firsttimer, I have attached my packing list, refined after a few long distance walks/Camino/etc. I have just bought a lighter backpack than the one on the list, I got myself an Osprey Talon 31 ltre pack which weighs only 850 grams.
Happy planning, my stuff now weighs under 5kg, water excluded. Gitti
 

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dmmorris

Member
Hi Firsttimer!

It's always comforting to relate to other first timers!! I go next month and although I discovered this forum a couple of months ago, and have gained EXTENSIVE valuable knowledge, it's interesting to be aware of how my emotions swing from excited to anxious to nervous!

Having said that, within this forum you are going to find yourself feeling much more confident in all areas, not just finances, by the time you depart in August!

Meanwhile, you asked a lot of questions that obviously I'm not qualified to answer. However, when you asked about shoes I must share that I WISH I could hike in my Ecco sandals but... my knees are shot and I require shoes that are almost as stiff as the Dansko's I wear to work year round. I've been breaking in low-top "5-10" hiking shoes which are quite stiff and it makes a world of difference. I tried light weight trail shoes but there was too much give in them. My point is that you will want to consider your body and needs. Another example is that I will pack both a "bladder" and water bottle for hydration as I go through much water, yet some, like Annie, have said that she only carried 1-2 bottles and refilled at every fountain along the way.

I wish you (and me) a wonderful Camino experience!!

Ciao! Denise
 
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StorkRN

New Member
I am also a first timer and I just joined the site today to be able to post! I'm planning my first Camino in September and can not wait! I have read this board for hours and I really appreciate all of the info I've gleaned! Thank you so much! Gitti, I love your pack list. Sil, I love your info/insight. I have found that if I read through the past posts, all of my questions are being answered!

Danette
 

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