I departed on April 10th. It’s an interesting feeling to go somewhere having bought a single one-way plane ticket and no specific agenda for what to do when getting there. It is true I have a route I plan to follow, but right now there are no strings attached anywhere and considering the possibilities is exciting in and of itself.
Here are some pictures showing what I packed and how it evolved so it could all fit into the backpack (I think I packed close to double what the guidebook recommended). Total weight: +25lbs
Here are a few of the guidelines I followed for packing:
- Pack as light as possible: Contrary to what one would initially think, you would actually want to pack less for long-term traveling than a 1 or 2 week vacation. For this type of traveling every ounce of weight counts
- Keep those extra items at home: All those “just in case” items one usually throws in don’t make it.
- Pack essential clothing only: Extra pair of shoes? Can’t decide what dress clothes to wear so you take all options? Not a good idea when traveling like this. Trust me, it was hard for me to get here with a minimal amount of clothing, only a pair of sandals and walking sneakers. The idea of wearing the same shirt several times per week isn’t that appealing either.
- Bring clothes that are easy to wash and dry: Thick cotton sweatshirt? Not good. Thick large towel? Not good. Jeans? Not good. These take very long to dry and weigh a decent amount. I did have to buy clothing of specific material types that are easy to wash and dry. I will be doing a lot of hand washing. (PS: I did bring jeans and other items I probably won’t need, although I will at least leave them at my cousin’s apartment for El Camino and I’ll decide when I come back in 2 months if I missed them that much)
Here are some items which are not typically included when I travel for a week or two:
- A comprehensive first-aid kit
- Sleeping bag
- Rain Jacket
- Duct Tape
- Nylon strings
- Swiss Army knife
- Solar charger (for electronics)
- SteriPen (UV water purification system that kills bacteria, viruses and protozoa)
- Nail clipper
- Camino de Santiago specific items:
- Trekking poles
- Extra pairs of wool socks (best on the feet for long walks and a variety of weather)
- Body glide anti-chafe
- Platypus hydration pack (3L)
First stop is Madrid, Spain (arriving April 11th) where I will spend a few days with my cousin Andres and will prepare for “El Camino de Santiago” walking pilgrimage.