Editor’s note: Gleb Velikanov, a regular at PRC group runs, will be hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, starting on Sept. 8th. He will walk 550 miles at about 15–20 miles per day. (See maps below to get your bearings.) Gleb will be posting updates from his long walk with us every few days. Enjoy his journey!
So, I was sitting at my desk, in an office, in a suburb, in a state of near-brain-dead stupor. Clicking on all the appropriate icons, getting the TPS reports taking care of, punching the clock with the orderliness of Old Faithfull. Naturally, the internal pressure of boredom and tedium kept building up, certain to explode in a geyser of travel and exploration. It is very difficult for me to remain in one spot for too long.
You see, endurance is my jam. Running (about 30 trail and road marathons and ultras) and backpacking (I thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010 and the Appalachian Trail in 2015) have been a constant passion for over a decade. Having those experiences under my belt, I knew I needed an endurance adventure to clear my head, after the time spent behind a desk. A brief trip to Alaska earlier this summer became the last straw: After two weeks of sticking to a demanding, but not a tedious schedule, I could not picture returning to the nine-to-five life.
Choosing the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James, Route of Santiago de Compostela), a hiking route in Spain, came naturally. The former Catholic pilgrimage, now a popular hiking and cycling system of trails, takes an average person about a month to complete, is easy to navigate, and is rumored to be very affordable.
I will be walking the Camino Frances, the most popular route that runs from Saint Jean Pied de Port in southern France to Santiago de Compostela near the Atlantic coast of Spain. All of that sounds like a recipe for a quick and easy getaway, something to clear my mind and crush some miles. Trail therapy. Endurance rebirth.
If completing the PCT and the AT taught me anything, it would be accepting every trail for what it is, trying to figure out the unique challenges and opportunities each time, without trying to fit the current experience into neat boxes of former ones. While I intend to complete the Camino in less than a month (most likely in three weeks), I am looking forward to staying in albergues (hostels), the proximity of civilization, and the availability of fresh food and beverages.
Bring it on!