August 5th, 2017
WELCOME – family, friends and others – to “Short Thoughts on Long Walks.” Two years ago I started a Facebook-based blog titled “Followers of Tony’s Camino de Santiago – Sep./Oct. 2015.” My mission then – and now – was to maintain a personal journal that is open to others to see and to participate with comments or questions. Since not everyone I know is on Facebook, I’ve created this web-based site for those who may wish to follow my next adventure. In a few weeks I hope to post on the blog site and will then share these posts to the original Facebook site. Updates and photos will be the same, regardless of which channel a follower chooses.
The original blog covered a friend’s and my 500 mile long walk from a small village in southern France, Saint Jean Pied de Port, to a city in northwest Spain, Santiago de Compostela. We were hardly alone in following the steps of pilgrims preceding us for over 1200 years. We encountered hundreds of others from all over the world. We met many – always with the greeting “Buen Camino” – and became good friends with a few. There are countless memories and feelings from those 33 days of walking, and all of them are still accessible in that blog on Facebook. Those who followed the journey also sustained me, especially in those moments where the drudgery of walking long stretches, or the physical pain, might’ve served as an excuse to quit. I remain grateful for the interest, the questions, the words of encouragement, and more, that nearly 200 followers provided. With their help – truly – I made it, feeling better, happier (despite tears of sadness at the end of that adventure) and reinvigorated.
Those good feelings laid the foundation for a commitment I made soon after I finished: I will walk the Camino again. There’s not just one Camino; it’s a network of paths all across Europe, especially the southern regions, that lead to The Cathedral of Saint James (Santiago) in the Spanish city that bears his name. In the spirit of keeping this a “Short Thought” I won’t go into the history of the Camino pilgrimages or even Saint James; you all have the resources to educate yourselves if you’re inclined. Rather than retrace the steps of two years ago, tempting as that would be, I chose to walk the Camino Portugues from Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, to Santiago (Spain), a distance of approx. 620km or 390 miles.
I’ve never been to Portugal, and one of the joys of a “Long Walk” is the constant – and intimate – discovery of new places. Every day will present a new horizon as a destination, and all along the way there’ll be new sights, new people, and new experiences. As the late summer weather on the Iberian peninsula seemed ideal two years ago, I chose the same time period for this second Camino. On August 25th I’ll fly to Lisbon, and after a few days of sightseeing there, I’ll start walking north on the 29th. If all goes as planned, I’ll walk into Santiago on September 23rd, and two days later I’ll fly home to Boise.
As was the case two years ago, I hope to post daily updates and photos. All of this will be done on the smallest device possible, my i-phone. It’ll serve as my camera, writing instrument and communications link to you all. Despite the best intentions, I’ll make typos and other mistakes. Please bear with me. My goal for photos will be to convey the scenery, the history, and the culture of the places I’ll pass through. Yes, there’ll be people too, but most likely there’ll be fewer of them in these shots, and fewest will be shots of me… definitely none of blisters and swollen ankles.
I’m eager to start this newest adventure, this time without a friend but certain that I’ll make new ones, and I look forward to my virtual conversations with you along the way. Thanks for following.