These are the first lines of my next project: compile my experiences on The Camino de Santiago (The Way of Saint James). Let me know your comments or even yours. Check out my first article in Medium.
Although I had heard as one of my friends had done The Way, I was hardly aware of its existence. Even after I had studied at a Jesuit Priests school and had some experience in their summer camps, I did not know what it meant, why it was walked by so many people or what its origin was.
I had to go through a troubled months so that, talking about everything and nothing with my little brother, the subject of making some stages of the Camino by bike would come up. At that time, summer 2011, Jacobeo year was still fresh with all the promotion that was made of the Camino especially from the Galician institutions.
Besides, I’ve always been very engineer. Always. Ever since I was a kid. But things had started to change for a while: new life, new job on something that was also new to me, new people-centered responsibilities… and also, after some months, I would pursue a master’s degree related to innovation and intra-entrepreneurship that would profoundly affect my perception of the world. I still remember the first feedback session where our team coach told me how he had been talking to the master’s director how much it would cost him to get me into the new dynamics. I can never thank my former manager enough for the opportunity to have been able to apply to that experience.
What do I mean by this context? That experiential experiences, while it may seem to be a redundant term, have never been my best skill. I have always shown a marked analytical capacity and that in El Camino, as I will tell you later, is of little use. Maybe when you return home but trying to rationalize the myriad anecdotes becomes an impossible exercise. In my case, I usually leave it soon and focus on sorting them simply to try not to forget anything.
Anyway, 2011. My brother throws the stone of doing it by bike and, by one of those twists and bravery that allows us our unconsciousness, I say yes. And the doubts start to arise. Now equip it with some saddlebags. Where do you buy that? What type of anchorage is the best? Is it worth attaching it to the seatpost? Better some anti-pinch tire and forget about taking the kit to repair it? Anything else we have to get ready? And again and again with a thousand questions. And when I say a thousand, it’s a thousand… at a minimum. That’s how my first planning started. From an engineer’s approach: minimizing risks. The famous «throw it away just in case.»
Before I could ever think about to go to starting point, I had to train something. The problem is that I hadn’t been on the bike for a long time. My brother didn’t need it, but for me it was completely mandatory if I wanted to have a chance. I started almost from scratch so I could only get better. Some tests through the Canal Imperial of Aragon or through the Juslibol mountains near Zaragoza and I thought I was ready. The Way would take care of putting me in my place. It always does. And it did.
As we entered peregrine mode but the first was the first: we had to choose the stretch. And we chose to start from Astorga. Just over 200km. Asumible. Of course…