Trailogy Special Edition
Preparing for a 35 day walk across Spain
I came up with the idea to walk the El Camino several years ago. My original plan was to walk the El Camino in 2016 as my warm up walk for walking the Appalachian Trail in 2018. Yes, I am a bit grandiose. The double edge sword for me is, when I get an idea stuck in my head it happens. I’ve got this tenacity about me that won’t quit! On one hand, that tenacity has served me well. On the other hand, any rational person jumps ship when I wait until I’m just about to drown. I’m still learning giving up isn’t failure. It’s having the wisdom to know when to change trajectories. This life lesson is taking me a long time to reconcile. I’m still working on it.
So, here I am a month away from starting a 500 mile trek across Spain. It cracks me up that I considered this a work out to get ready for the Appalachian trail. You know what? I’m scared to death! I’m scared I can’t walk 14 to 16 miles a day for 35 days. Anyone who knows me has no doubt I am physically capable of walking the El Camino. I, on the other hand, have spent most of my adult life trying to keep up with athletes. I call myself an “adult onset” athlete. I ran my first mile at age 23. I learned to ski, bike, and hike after finishing college. The negative message in my head is, “I’m slow. I can’t keep up.” The fear is finding out it’s true.
Well, guess what? Just like Ben Howard repeats in his song The Fear, I will become what I deserve. If I hang on to the narrative “I can’t keep up,” I will become what I deserve. My El Camino (the inner journey) is about changing up that narrative. “I can keep up.” “I am keeping up.”
My El Camino is not an athletic pursuit. It’s so much more. Yes, it will help in my preparation to walk the Appalachian trail in 2018, but it’s not at all what I signed up for when I came up with this great idea. For the next 4 weeks, I’m going to lay out some funny, some sad, and some conflicting narrative about what the El Camino is teaching me in advance of my first step out of St. Jean Pied de Port.
I hope my journey, in some way, enriches yours. Stayed tuned. Happy trails, Allison