As I write this I am less than four days away from setting off on our trip. Aside from a few minor things I am otherwise largely physically prepared to go. Most of the gear I’m bringing I had to buy specifically for the trip. For this I relied on a mix of outfitters and outlet stores.
From REI I bought the hiking shoes I’ll be using for the pilgrimage and the travelpack (fittingly of the ‘Osprey’ brand) and from a Columbia outlet I purchased a few pairs of pants and tops. As far as clothing goes, I’ll also be bringing other dryfit shirts and pants along with at least one outfit of streetwear. Outside of clothing there isn’t much that I’ll be taking with me. I will be bringing two backup phone batteries for use whenever my phone gets low on the trails, a composition notebook, and as of writing I plan on bringing my laptop for any course related work I may be doing in the evenings but this may change as I fear I’m packing too heavy.
Someone who doesn’t fear packing too heavy however is my mother. I’ve had several heated discussions with her over the course of packing about how many changes of clothes I will need. Initially I envisioned bringing just enough that I could fit everything in my travelpack, but have since let her talk me into bringing a small suitcase (hence the laptop). We have reached a point where I feel comfortable with what I have packed, I still believe there will be at least one outfit that comes home having never been worn.
All this talk about packing can make one forget what one is packing for. In my case, I find it rather surprising how little I’ve actually thought about the trip itself. Relatives of course have been dying to know how excited I am and all the details of my itinerary. My less than interested answers to these answers have largely left them unsatisfied, but they know how I am about these kinds of things. It’s not that I am not excited or interested in the trip, I just think it won’t really set in until I’m there getting off the plane in Barcelona. That being said, the classes we’ve had in the weeks prior to departure have certainly piqued my interest in the discussed topics. I especially enjoy the thought of the “palimpsestuous” nature of the landscapes we will be traversing. The concept which Dr. Sheffler is so fond of really appeals to someone like me who adores many different facets of history from the ancient to the contemporary. Northern Spain is rich with a history whose marks can be seen wherever one chooses to look. From its Roman antiquity, to its medieval and Romanesque heights of pilgrimage, and even its complicated yet fascinating struggle to define itself in the 20th century.
Whatever this trip may hold I can say without a doubt it will be a worthwhile experience and one that will stick with me for years to come. ¡BUEN CAMINO!