Sweaty backs, maps and social media.

For the Camino I have a small booklet showing the route (and the profile of the walk) the watering spots and albergues (hostels) and alternative accommodation.

I feel reassured that I have a printed version (even though there are apps etc and I might well have to go online to book ahead at times, because I would like to travel light in terms of not using the WiFi or phone much, or engaging much on social media.

My plan is to contact hubby (most likely daily) saying where I am, how I am and sending a photo when I can.

That leaves the question of writing. I have two clear alternatives (though it’s not quite an either /or) … I want to write, I will need to write, but how best? Do I take notebook(s) and pen(s). I’m not sure. One pilgrim friend suggested notebooks and posting them home when full. It’s an option I hadn’t thought of … or do I write notes on my mini iPad? Mmm.

I will blog as and when I’m inspired to, and possibly link that to Facebook … but will work hard on resisting the temptation of being lured back into Facebookland, checking the lives of others or engaging there as I usually do. I’m choosing to do this not because there’s any inherent blessing in fasting from fb because I feel travelling alone is part of the spiritual discipline of the Camino for me at this time. That might be hard.

I know I won’t be alone – there will be fellow pilgrims – plenty of them – but I am anticipating that at times I’ll be homesick, lonely and pilgrimage weary. And I know I’ll be physically tired, but I can’t anticipate how I’ll be feeling mentally or emotionally. I guess that’s part of the pilgrimage …planning but not micromanaging!

In Finland right now it’s been hot, very hot, and dry.

It’s made me recognise how hard it is for me to cover any distances in the heat. This was always the reason I knew that when I walked the Camino it would either be May or September-October.

I love the heat but walking in it depletes me of energy very quickly, and I need to drink constantly to avoid dehydration, headaches and migraines. What’s more, I really dislike the sweaty back syndrome associated with carrying any back pack in the heat. Yesterday I only had a dog belt on (so I can walk the dog hands free) and when I got home my lower back was soaked. Yuck.

The backpack I’m using on the Camino (only 28l because of my height and to prevent me carrying too much!) supposedly is designed to eliminate (or reduce) this problem … and on Thursday I’ll get to test that … I’m doing an overnight pilgrimage preparation walk (with Tinka the bonus dog) …only about 10 km each way but in hot sunny conditions.

Better not forget the sunscreen and water! Oh and a map, as this walk won’t be signposted like the Camino …nor will there be other pilgrims!

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