Preparing for the Camino (Blog #2)

Sorting out what to take and what to leave behind and a pre Camino walk with my family.

Preparing to walk the Camino de Compostela is an art in itself. Pilgrims are urged to carry no more than 10% of their body weight in their “mochila” or backpack. Bear in mind that a strong, lightweight backpack may weigh 2 or 3 pounds alone.

A man like me who weighs over 180 pounds could only fill his backpack with 17 pounds of clothing and supplies. This includes toiletries, a compact sleeping bag, shirts, pants, shorts, underwear and socks. I have a good packing list which I’m happy to share.

Some who make the Camino prefer to stay in country inns (called posadas) or hotels. They can travel without a sleeping bag. You can also pay a service to transport your backpack to your next location each day. I call this “Camino de Luxe.”  It makes the journey far easier.

If you are planning to travel and carry your own backpack, which I like to do, you must determine what to leave behind. What people regret is not what they have left behind, but what they have taken along. They regret the extra weight with every weary mile that they lug it.

One of the most important lessons that the Camino teaches us is that all of us are lugging too much along on the road of life. We Americans are very materialistic. Our possessions often weigh us down and crowd our lives. We also carry wounds and grievances that burden us as well.

What things are you carrying that you might set aside or give away in order to unburden yourself and perhaps gift to someone else? What experiences, sorrows and frustrations have you been lugging for months, years or even decades? Perhaps it’s time to let go and leave them behind.

We’re happier and nimbler when we walk lightly through life. No saint was ever rich in things. It’s easy to collect all manner of things while impoverishing our soul.

Buen Camino!



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