About and Help
What is this?
This is a cynical, opinionated, and personal collection of short writings on things, places, sights, and the technicalities of walking the Camino Frances and other Caminos. It came about as a personal repository of short writings I did on Facebook, Quora, Reddit, and some forums, usually in response to some question or assertion.
I won’t claim that this is the truth or reality of your Camino. Rather, it is that of mine, the way I saw and walked the Way a few times. How and what to pack, where to stop, when to stop, what to do on the Camino, those questions are deeply personal and not I, nor any guidebook or post on an Internet resource, can answer those for you.
My first Camino was on a whim. I was in the worst shape of my life (see Body, Mind, Soul), mentally burned out, and between trying to adult at my day job I wedged on couches. It was a, literal, last minute decision to pack and leave, and four days later I found myself, with a backpack too heavy, useless boots, and no idea where to go, on the Camino.
But that’s not the only thing that has changed. The Camino has, too. Not the physical way, of course, that one’s still more or less as Don Elías intended, but the Spirit. Today, if you were to run a search engine search on “Stages of the Camino,” for example, you’d get five pages of companies trying to sell you a solution to a non-existing problem, from pre-booking albergues to getting your things from one to the next.
You’d also find people prescribing stages as if there’s only one way to walk The Way. Of course you must absolutely walk from Roncesvalles to Zubiri and from Zubiri to Pamplona (that’s B.S.). Others will tell you what a “real” pilgrim is. How many cell phones you’re allowed to bring, how bad or good it is to listen to music or podcasts on The Way, and many other things.
What isn’t this?
This is not a guidebook, not a prescription. No one can reasonably write one of those, despite the masses of books out there. The whole 900 km of the Camino Frances are some of the best developed infrastructures for hiking in the world, if not the best developed infrastructure. You are never further than a short walk or a ten minute cab ride from anything you could dream of, supermarkets, restaurants, bars, hospitals, public pools, and more.
It is a collection of writings. Linked to each other, for your and my convenience. A Zettelkasten notebook, if you so will, on some things Camino. But for all of it, the one guiding recommendation I can give remains: Just Walk.
How to read this
As I explain in How to Read This, this part of the website is free for the taking. You could download it, edit it, and republish it, as long as you keep my name in it and link back to this site. You could read it in your favorite text editor. Maybe you fancy a PDF? Or an eBook? Gotcha covered.
This does not include the pictures on this site. I have had some rather uncomfortable conversations and unhappy discoveries in which my pictures were used to advertise “Camino Services.” As I say below, I don’t like those websites and services, as I find them predatory and see them use scare language to sell things no one needs.
Additionally, I’d hate to find out (as I have), that a political party I do not agree with in the least, is using one of those pictures to advertise their candidate from La Rioja. Or find one of my images (as I did) for sale for €4000.
So, no, my pictures are not for the taking unless you contact me and watermark them with my name and the URL of this site. No, writing it below the image does not count.
Yes, you can use it (within reason) commercially. However, all commercial use requires you to contact me first. Why? Well, because this site exists solely because I became frustrated with the fact that any search on Camino related topics online always got me five pages of “Camino Services” companies before anything sensible. No one needs those services, and I’d hate to see my stuff abused by them to shill useless stuff for lots of money.