It’s your Camino.
Does that sound familiar? If you’ve been planning and/or thinking about your Camino de Santiago for a while I’m sure you’ve heard it or read it before.
To me, it means that it’s OK to ask for advice and read about other pilgrims’ experiences, but you should make your own decisions. You know yourself best and you are, therefore, the most qualified person to decide what the best choices for you are.
Your Camino, your rules. After all, a pilgrimage is “a journey to a shrine or other sacred place”. There is nothing in the definition to indicate how far you have to walk (it doesn’t even say you have to walk), where you must sleep or how much weight you should carry.
Everyone’s experience is different and the fact that someone has already done a Camino (or dos or diez) does not mean that what worked for them is going to work for you. OK, some things are plain common sense but many of them are really just a personal choice.
And if you don’t believe me, read on.
Someone recently asked in a Camino forum the following question:
What’s one item you packed and never used?
It was funny to read how items that some people packed and never used were essential for some other people.
- Saco de dormir (sleeping bag). Whether you need one or not will depend a lot on the time of the year you are doing your Camino and where you are sleeping. Generally speaking, you will need one if you are staying in the municipal albergues and you won’t if you stay in private accommodation. But there are exceptions too.
- Ropa de lluvia (rain gear). Again, whether you will need it or not will depend on a number of factors such as the time of the year or the Camino you’ve chosen. However, the weather can be a bit of a lottery, so it’s hard to know what’s going to happen.
Last year, for instance, was exceptionally dry and so it didn’t rain during months that are generally wet. This year, on the other hand, has been quite wet (more than usual) so you might need some ropa de lluvia even now, in verano (summer).
- Bañador (swimming suit). Time of the year is again a deciding factor, as well as the chosen route: you are more likely to need a bañador in the summer months and/or if you do one of the Caminos along the coast (Camino del Norte or Portugués por la Costa, for instance). But that doesn’t mean you won’t need it elsewhere: some albergues have piscinas (swimming pools) and you could also decide to take a rest day and stay in a nice hotel with a spa!
- Almohada (pillow). Some people take an inflatable almohada and use it; others take it and don’t use it; some others manage with whatever almohadas are available in their albergue and some make one out of their spare clothes. It’s up to you!
- Tendedero (clothesline). Some people took one and used it daily; some others never used it. Alternatively, you can pack a spare pair of shoe laces and use them as your tendedero if you ever need one. Albergues generally have space for you to hang your clothes to dry.
- Spork. I have to admit I didn’t have a clue if there was a word in Spanish for a spork. After some searching, I found cuchador, a combination of cuchara (spoon) and tenedor (fork). However, I’m not sure how widely used this word is (I’ve never heard it).
Anyway, whether the word cuchador is used in Spanish or not, the fact is that it’s one of those items that some people used all the time and some others packed but never used.
Can you add anything to this list? I’d love to hear your experiences.
Saco de dormir
Ropa de lluvia
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