It was clear even during my first Camino that I was going to return. I suspect that for some people the Camino is a project on their bucket list which they have to do, tick the box and move on. I won’t be surprised if those people are in the minority. It’s more likely that once you’ve been there you will be keen, or as in my case, desperate, to go back. So it is that my backpack didn’t go into the loft, but took up a prominent place in the bedroom where it is impossible to ignore. (Hands up please those pilgrims who keep their backpacks at the ready too?)
I started sorting through my gear during the summer, deciding what I could do without, buying a few new items, but mainly sticking to the tried and tested formula. I had chosen well the first time. What did I leave behind the second time round? Well, the iPad had to go. Not only did it add weight, but it became a burden to look after. I left my heavy winter gloves, a puffer jacket, woollen long johns and a few medical items at home. Even my chunky Sony RX100 camera got traded in for a lighter, less expensive model, but crucially, with a longer zoom lens. And finally, Mr Brierley’s book also didn’t make the cut. I opted instead for an app on my phone, which weighs nothing.
I am currently working away from home. During September I stayed in a cottage near King’s Lynn, Norfolk, with delightful footpaths through woodlands nearby. I got up at the crack of dawn most days to go walking with the mists of autumn lingering in the still air. The mushrooms were out and an occasional pheasant feather fluttered to the damp earth.
One glorious Sunday afternoon I did a much longer walk and ended up in the next village for a scrumptious pub lunch. I could feel my legs getting back into their stride. Summer was creeping into autumn’s cloak but there was no let-up in the warmth of sunlight on my cheeks. Blackberries were past their best, although a good few juicy ones where still to be found if you knew where to look.
Back in my home village the bell ringers were filling the late afternoon with good vibrations.
I was ready.