So guess what? It looks like my Camino plans might be back on track….for 2023.CAMINO MMXX
As long-time readers / viewers know, this whole Backcountry Pilgrim thing began as “Camino MMXX” – a blog / YouTube channel dedicated to my (and my cousin’s!) preparation to walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. . . . in 2020. 😦
After the Camino was virtually obliterated by Europe’s response to the pandemic, I basically gave up on it. It wasn’t pessimism or panic that brought me to that point. Rather, it was that the Covid-19 protocols changed the very nature of the Camino. This communal pilgrimage route looked to become a tourist trek as albergues operated like private-room hotels, dining halls became isolated tables, and shared kitchens were simply blocked off.
My “Camino Cuz” and I agreed: Not what we signed up for. If all we wanted to do was walk from one hotel to the next, stay in private rooms, and eat in restaurants at isolated tables, I wouldn’t have to leave the USA. We’d spend less overall and probably have better scenery.
It was heartbreaking, but there it was.
To help me get closure, I finished transitioning the blog/channel to hiking, camping, and backpacking. To ease my disappointment, I spent the money I’d saved up and (barely) got refunded from travel cancellations on hiking gear and backpacking trips.
I spent the next year largely ignoring the Camino and focusing on hitting the trails. I told myself that this was not a bad Plan B at all!
But still the Camino called . . .
WORLD YOUTH DAY
In early Fall, 2021, I discovered that I would be involved with World Youth Day 2023 for work, and it was going to be held in Lisbon, Portugal. It sounded great, and . . . Wait a minute.
“Lisbon, Portugal” – Why did that sound familiar?
Yes way, Doug! Lisbon is one of the starting points for the Camino Portugues route for pilgrims in Europe!
If funds were raised for the flight over, I could just start the Camino after World Youth Day event ended! The route is shorter so it would be less expensive, take less time away from family, and require fewer vacation days. It’s a beautiful route – often hugging the ocean shore – and far less crowded than the longer, more popular routes.
The pandemic was still a thing, of course – but by then it had largely settled into a rhythm in Europe. Spain is over 85% vaccinated and the spirit of the Camino seems to have bounced back significantly. In fact, one of the most popular Camino commentators posted a video about this time saying he doubted he’d even report on Covid conditions anymore!
So, if I was ever going to go on the Camino, I doubted it would get much better than this.
I called my Camino Cuz and asked, “How about we do the Camino Portugues in the Fall of 2023?”
She said, “YEAH!” So – we’re back at it!
Now all I have to do is choose a backpack. 😉
NOTE: I am not going to revert Backcountry Pilgrim to a Camino blog/channel, but there will be some sporadic articles and videos dropping from time to time. These will be placed in the Camino Preparation playlist on YouTube and tagged appropriately here on the blog.