1. IT IS BAD TO GET YOUR HOPES UP
Avoid getting excited months in advance to your trip, stop looking and researching, and of course, do not contact other people that have done El Camino before. All these things can only distract you and occupy your head discovering very interesting things that otherwise you wouldn´t have come across. Or even worse, it could lead you to make friends, even before you have set foot.
2. TRAINING IS DAMAGING
Who would have thought of such wild thing? One has to invest time in a sedentary life, spending time moulding our sofa to our shape. Why go out training for El Camino? Why dare leaving our neighbourhood? Probably you will get to know a wonderful place with lots of hidden corners, and even worse, possibly a few kilometres away from home there are incredible natural landscapes worth admiring.
3. BACKPACKS ARE N´T WARDROBES
What madness! A backpack of 10 kilos loaded with bare minimums! Where are we to put our trousers, T-shirts, jackets, shirts, shoes and a long etc of accessories that would make us look amazing? Thirty days wearing the same outfits? That´s unthinkable!, it is dangerous to discover that one can be happy with just the essentials.
4. THE MOUNTAIN IS NATURAL
Walking on the mountain is overrated. There is nothing like a good traffic jam, that´s real challenge for your respiratory system. On the mountain there are only bad things: trees and plants, and when it rains and everything is wet and sweet smelling, you can even get dizzy. There are also animals peacefully grazing, and that, sorry but it´s a bit mad. To think that I can get close and personal to a cow, sheep or horse and touch them…crazy! If that is not enough, imagine for a moment how you can feel when you see a deer or a fox free in their own environment.
5. WALKING IS VERY TIRING
Give up before you start, it is not worth walking 30 kilometres in a day, it is tiring, and you could come to the realisation that when you put some effort you can achieve anything. What could this lead you to? To have new challenges and goals to achieve? It is better to stay with your “I don´t think I can do that” than to realise that there are no limits. Believe me.
6. EL CAMINO IS NOT THAT BEAUTIFUL
It is not a pretty scene kilometre upon kilometre of green mountains, or huge plains covered in yellow flowers, or even less, hypnotising fields of row after row of green lines, and not to speak of the possibility to walk along the Pyrenees with their snowy caps or under their lush chestnut trees. Who likes this sort of thing? Ufff…Can you imagine walking for miles in the company of the murmur of the crystal clear running water from the streams? What torture!
7. THERE ARE NO FAST FOOD STALLS
It is not humane. You mean that after walking for hours and hours, at the end of a stage there are no places where to find a Big Mac with fries, Coca cola and a McFlurry? Instead you have to make do with the typical food of the place and with natural and organic produce. First class meat and fish, accompanied with wines with their own denomination of origin. It is almost guaranteed that you will die of starvation. And let´s not talk about desserts, all homemade, crazy!
8. YOU WILL NOT MEET ANYONE
If you finally decide to walk El Camino de Santiago, be sure that you will meet no one and you will get bored to death, but even worse than that and not to be able to have small talk on the lifts about the weather, the economy or the trash television programme the night befoe, is to have the opportunity to get to know hundreds of people from all over the world, people with their own personal story to tell, from different cultures and with different experiences. We have always been told not to talk to strangers, and it is true, there is a high risk of opening your mind and heart to wonderful people, and along with it to live unforgettable moments.
9. YOU WILL HAVE TIME TO THINK
Watching telly without thinking too much is lovely, isn´t it? Now imagine enjoying kilometres of solitude full of introspective thinking and reflexion. Who would like that? To get to know oneself? How lame! How can this be useful? That´s only good when you need to put order in your head and emotions, or to find solutions to problems. Unfortunately it is certain that doing exercise improves our cognitive capacity, reduces stress levels, enhances our memory and mitigates the feelings of anxiety. Imagine a combination of so much time for oneself and the exercise. Your brain will be set on fire.
10. THEY SAY YOU WILL REPITE
If I have failed to persuade you yet, pay attention to this: 90% of people that walk El Camino say they will do it again. Masochism? Between you and I, I think they are a bit mad. They swear that it is an experience that does not leave you indifferent and that marks you deeply, they even go as far as saying that they come back home a new person. Ha, ha, ha, how crazy. Well, do not do it, you risk having to come back over and over again.
I hope that the reasons I have given you get you thinking and that now you change your mind about doing El Camino. I recommend that things like these are left for those with a love for travelling, desire, a will of ever improving, and above all, for those who want to be happy. The comfort of routine is your best option.
Translation: Elvira Sánchez