It’s pretty obvious that, even a year after we flew home from our adventure, I’m passionate about the Camino. The great thing is, I’m not alone. Five years ago, when I first started planning this journey, if I said “Camino de Santiago” I got a lot of blank looks. Today, there’s a lot more “oh, that’s the thing in that movie…” (thanks, Martin Sheen) or “oh, my friend’s cousin just did that.”
I end up talking about the Camino so often that I’m making it official: I’m going to teach a class.
On August 5, I’m going to share my research, tips, and experiences “Walking the Camino de Santiago.” It’s offered through the University of Washington’s Experimental College, the enrichment program of non-credit classes for students and community members. (I’ve been teaching with ExCo as part of my “day job” for years.)
This isn’t a “hey, let me show you pictures of my awesome vacation” experience. I’m only offering this to a small group (20 people max), so that we can focus on the practical questions that I wish I’d known before I started.
The outline is still a work in process, but I know that we’ll talk about:
- What the Camino de Santiago is—the history of the Camino, and the current network of more than a dozen separate trails that cross three countries.
- How to choose the “right” Camino path —considering each person’s available time, distance, and what they’re looking to experience, and exploring all of the Camino options (especially now that Frances is getting so crowded).
- What an average day on the Camino looks like—the terrain in different regions, from volcanic hills in southern France to wide, arid bread basket country in central Spain; the accommodations, from municipally-owned hostels to full bed-and-breakfast guest houses; and the support systems of stores, medical help, and other needs of a hiker.
- What to eat.
- How to budget.
- What to pack and what to leave at home.
- How to be safe, especially for anyone traveling alone
There will be lots of pictures for inspiration, and maps and lists to really help prepare.
So if you happen to be near the Seattle area, I’d love for you to join us. You can find more information here.
And wherever you are, I’d value your feedback:
If you’re considering your first pilgrimage, what are your biggest Camino questions?
If you’re a Camino veteran, what do you think new pilgrims really need to know before they leave?