By day, I run a marketing company and part of my role is to teach people about the joys of social media. So it was a natural place for me to start by a bit of research online.
The Camino is over 500 miles long. Where was the best place to start the Trek? How was we going to get there? What was the best rucksack to buy, what things did I need to buy for my trip? and over 100 other questions. The internet is a wonderful thing, and if you are also wondering where to start then this is my journey so far:-
The Way – Film
I posted on Facebook that I was interested in walking the Camino and a friend mentioned to me “Have you seen The Way?” Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to France to deal with the tragic loss of his son (played by Emilio Estevez). Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage “The Way of St. James” to honor his son's desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn't plan on is the profound impact this trip will have on him. Through unexpected and oftentimes amusing experiences along “The Way,” Tom discovers the difference between “the life we live and the life we choose.” (write up taken from http://www.theway-themovie.com/)
If you are thinking about walking any part of the Camino then I would highly recommend this film. It gives you a real insight as to what the walk is all about, and some of the characters that you may come by. (It's also very funny in parts).
I rented the video through Amazon Video on Prime.
A browsed lots of online forums, but the one I found most helpful was Camino De Santiago. The site is well maintained, and there is no such thing as a silly question. The search on the site is excellent and I love the little emails you get each week with a round up of people's questions. I am a keen geocacher, and I asked a question about caching on the Camino and the response was fantastic, even with links where I can download waypoints for the caches along the route I was taking! My first question in this forum was “Which Camino trail would you recommend for a 40+ lady, who is walking with her best friend (also 40+) and a 13 year old. Nearly everyone replied “Do Camino Frances”. Mainly as there are lots of people on the route, so it's a great way to meet people. Apparently it is one of the easiest walks to do on the Camino and not dangerous. There were numerous other reasons, but we decided that this was the route we were going to take.
OMG! If you put Camino packing list into YouTube then you will be amazed at the results. I have honestly spent hours on here watching videos, but here are three videos that I personally found incredibily helpful.
The official video gives you a real view of the people on the trek (and this was only last year)
This guy is quite funny, but gives you loads of ideas! I have now bought my Lush Shampoo bars and they are fab!
This video shows how tough the first day from St Jean is, which put it all into reality for me. Her story is great!
If you are thinking about walking the Camino, then you can't go wrong with these channels. I didn't find much on the social media sites, but I have downloaded and listened to many podcasts on the subject (which is handy when you start your training – but that is for another blog!)
I have no idea how often I will post here, but I intend to post my whole journey from start to finish. As mentioned before, this is not just about doing the walk, half of the excitement is in the planning. Signing off for another day.