May 12, 2014
“I’m going to be a happy idiot and struggle for the legal tender”
And that is apparently what happens when one does things impulsively, like book tickets to Spain to undertake the Camino pilgrimage, based on a feeling that, “I just have to go!”
Apparently, things have changed over the years. First off, pilgrims don’t get to stay in albergues (hostel types of places) and eat for free in people’s homes. Nor do pilgrims receive free health care along The Way. One doesn’t get something for nothing, nor are we planning on getting by on our good looks. Which means it is going to take cold hard cash to make it from Orange County, CA to Spain and back again without going hungry or without a bed to sleep in during the 500 mile pilgrimage.
Secondly, if you are thinking of going off on the pilgrimage, I would highly recommend that you belong to the American Pilgrims on the Camino. The forum can be found on FaceBook. I wish I had found them a week earlier before I had booked my flights. I would have changed things around, but life is an adventure and we are just going to go have fun. But it is easier when there is a written plan in place without winging it.
The forum is a wonderful group of experienced pilgrims who will answer questions, offer their input, ideas, thoughts, opinions and encouragement. The group reminds everyone that, “it is YOUR Camino” and just because something worked for them, doesn’t mean that it will work for you and your circumstances. But I would listen to their advice. Also, go under the file section of their page and read the information located there. It is chuck full of first- hand knowledge to draw from.
This takes me back to my point about money. We put things off and procrastinate and make excuses about NOT taking off. We say things like “when I get more money…when I have time…when I retire…when the kids get older…when my health improves…when I lose weight…” And the excuses keep on rolling across our tongue. And so I threw caution to the wind and committed before finding everything out. It all will turn out in the end…one just needs to have faith.
I have used Squaremouth.com to access information and purchase traveler insurance. I bought a plan for both Abby and I that covers us for flight problems, medical issues ( will pay for med vac as well as hospital stays) and if we kick it, the policy even covers the return of our carcasses. A great deal for $120! We also have coverage from our Kaiser plan when we travel out of the country in case of emergencies. Given the state of Spain’s finances, we want to make sure that we are covered for those, “just in case” accidents. For everything else, that is what first aid kits and farmacias are for.
With regards to the cost of where we stay, well, we are hoping that the basic hostels- municipal albergues, parish albergues and the convent/monastery will not be full. We have a book that provides listings of the places for us to stay at. Some accept donations. Some have low set prices. Some include meals and some have facilities available to cook in. These places are set up for pilgrims along the way and you need a pilgrim credential to stay here.
Food is another major need to consider. After reading through the threads on the American Pilgrims on the Camino posts we have figured out that we will eat our main meal during lunch time at cafés, which is later in the afternoon than State time. We will purchase, bread, fruit, veggies, olive packages and tuna packs in the stores along the way for breakfast, snacks and late evening light supper. Evening meals in the towns don’t take place until late in the evening, around 9 pm. That is about the time we will be going to bed and there are curfews in the places we will be staying at. The rates I have seen suggest to plan on E25 a day (about $34 for both food and the cost of a place to stay) for each of us. Eeeek! We are going to HAVE to spend less than this in order to make it for 50 days. We are talking BASIC living. Nothing fancy or grand that is for sure.
See, even walking isn’t free once you start to factor in the cost of daily living expenses. But this isn’t the typical vacation either. Abby and I are on a spiritual quest- a pilgrimage- and we will do without the materialistic needs and comforts as we venture across Spain.
We will rely on faith, support and encouragement from others as we travel. Your donations are warmly welcomed. You can contribute towards our pilgrimage at http://www.gofundme.com/8hte10
And when you do donate, in return I will send you an original 4 x 6 watercolor/drawing.