Thinking Ahead to 2021

Thinking Ahead to 2021

In a couple of weeks, I turn 61. It still blows my mind that I can be this age. I remember my grandmothers being this age and they looked and acted so old! I hope my grandkids don’t think I act like an old fogey!

In November, I plan to apply for social security benefits to start when I turn 62. I don’t plan to fully retire from work, but I do want to start collecting benefits now since who knows how long our corrupt government will keep the program in place. I don’t want to wait until full retirement age of 67 only to learn that I won’t be getting anything, because there’s no more money.

Anyway, before I go off on a tangent about our government, let me continue on more pleasant topics.

To kind of celebrate the transition in my life next year, I am committing to do something I’ve been thinking about for several years now…walk the Camino de Santiago.

Camino de Santiago

The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James (Santiago in Spanish) in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain. Yearly, hundreds of thousands of people of various backgrounds walk the Camino de Santiago either on their own or in organized groups. 

The history of the Camino de Santiago goes back at the beginning of the 9th century (year 814) moment of the discovery of the tomb of the evangelical apostle of the Iberian Peninsula. Since this discovery, Santiago de Compostela becomes a peregrination point of the entire European continent.

The Way was defined then by the net of Roman routes that joined the neuralgic points of the Peninsula. The impressive human flow that from very soon went towards Galicia made quickly appear lots of hospitals, churches, monasteries, abbeys and towns around the route. During the 14th century the pilgrimage began to decay, fact brought by the wars, the epidemics and the natural catastrophes.

The recovery of the route begins at the end of the 19th century, but it is during the last quarter of the 20th century when the authentic contemporary resurge of the peregrination takes place. There is no doubt that the social, tourist, cultural or sport components have had a great importance in the “jacobea” revitalization but we cannot forget that the route has gained its prestige thanks to its spiritual value.

I got interested in the Camino after watching the movie, The Way, starring Martin Sheen.

Example of a passport

I’m not going to walk the entire Camino Frances (French Way). I can’t take off a month to walk that distance. Instead, I’m going to walk the last 117km (about 73 miles). As long as I walk the last 100km and get two stamps per day, I can get the certificate of completion from the church in Santiago de Compostela.

Most people do this section in five days, but I know my limitations and have opted to do it in nine days. I’m also having a company take my bag from one accommodation to the next so I won’t have to lug all that weight on my back. They are also supplying breakfast and lunch, so I’ll only have to worry about lunch and snacks.

I’ll find my way by using an app with maps, plus the routes are marked with the signature yellow scallop shell.

By doing shorting sections, I can take my time, take lots of photos, talk to people, and really enjoy the walks. I’ll also finish early and will have the rest of the afternoon and evening to explore the towns where I’ll stay.

Right now, it’s just me on this trip, but one friend is considering it.

Completion Certificate

Interested in joining me?

I’m looking at starting around April 20, 2021. Cost for bag transfer, accommodations and meals (excluding lunch) with an extra night in Santiago de Compostela is $1,652.52 plus airfare. I’ll be putting a deposit down this April and can make payments for the rest (so you can, too). Just shoot me an email from my contact page.

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