I Would Walk 500 Miles…

Hi friends!

First of all, no, I’m not pregnant.

I had a feeling that people that were going to think that, but no, my big news has nothing to do with growing a small human being. Plus, I can assure you that if/when that time comes, I won’t be posting teasers about it on my blog. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but that’s just not my style. More likely an announcement of that sort would come in the form of a photo of myself cradling bottles of wine while sobbing hysterically, with the caption “see you in nine months lovers.”

So, no, again, not pregnant.

But anyway, remember that 500 miles song by the Proclaimers? It used to be one of my absolute favorite songs when I was younger. I would drive my mom crazy by listening to it over and over and over again. I loooooooooved it. And even today, as a pseudo-grownup, I still do.

So it’s kind of funny to think that in less than one month I will actually walk 500 miles.

Well, 472 to be exact, but hey, I think that’s close enough to count!

Yes. You read that right. Me, someone who up until a few months ago had never done a real hike in her life, will be hiking almost 500 miles. With Kevin. Across Spain.

Confused? Let me back up.

For as long as I’ve been with Kevin, we have wanted to do some sort of big trip together. A “last hurrah” before we settle down and have kids type of thing, but we could never agree on what this big trip would be. And then about a year ago we started learning more about this little thing called the Camino de Santiago, and suddenly, it all kind of fell into place.

On October 2nd, Kevin and I will be flying into Pamplona, Spain, and from there we will spend the next 30 (+/-) days walking (yes, walking) to Santiago. For those of you that have never heard about the Camino de Santiago, you’re not alone. While the Camino is very popular in Europe, it’s still not that well known among Americans.

The Camino de Santiago is a 1200 year old pilgrimage that leads to Santiago de Compostela, in western Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of Saint James are buried. In medieval times it was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages one could make. Today, it’s become a very popular modern pilgrimage, drawing people from all over the world for all sorts of reasons, be it for the adventure, the cultural experience, to become closer to God, or sometimes just for the food and wine. Last year, almost 200,000 people walked the way.

 

Though many people do it for religious reasons, there are also a lot of people who do it for non-religious purposes, like us. Both Kevin and I are agnostic (agnostic theists, if you will), so while we’re definitely open to having a spiritual journey along the Camino, it’s certainly not the driving force behind it.

Kevin first learned about the Camino de Santiago when he was in high school, and he’s wanted to do it ever since. For me? Well, I first learned about it years ago when I read Paolo Coelho’s “The Pilgrimage,” but because his journey was very religious and spiritual and included things like camping and sleeping outside, it didn’t really appeal to me. Kevin and I had talked about it briefly but it was never something we seriously considered doing.

Then about a year ago Kevin and I saw movie The Way. While watching it I looked over at Kevin and said “wait a second… you don’t have to camp? You just walk through the beautiful Spanish countryside and then eat and drink wine and hang out with new people?” And when he said yes, I said “sign me up!” Because eating and drinking and hanging out with people? That I can do! That right there is my forte.

And so our plan was born.

The walk from Pamplona to Santiago should take about a month, and from there we’re giving ourselves another two weeks to do whatever our hearts desire. Our tentative plan is to spend a few days in Portugal and then head over to Morocco, but we’re taking a “go with the flow” approach and not really committing to anything in case we change our mind along the way.

I’ve wanted to write about this for so long but I’ve had to keep it secret, because taking a six-week trip kind of means that you have to sacrifice other things. Things like your job. Which means in order for me to do this trip, I will have to leave my job, and I couldn’t really write about that until I’d shared this information with my work. But now that the cat is out of the bag, I can blog about it to my hearts content!

And probably drive you crazy in the process.

Fortunately, Kevin’s job is awesome and is allowing him to take six weeks off, so thankfully only one of us will be unemployed upon our return.

As for what I’ll do what I get back? I have no idea. Quitting your job for the great unknown is equally as exciting as it is scary, and while the thought of coming back to San Francisco jobless does give me some anxiety, the thought of not doing this trip gives me so much more.

So there you have it, friends. My “big news.” Considering the number of real life friends that already knew my “big news” but that after reading my blog called or emailed me to ask just what my “big news” was, I fear I may have hyped it up a bit too much. I am sorry if that is the case, but to me, it’s pretty big.

I sincerely hope that you’ll bear with me as my blog temporarily morphs into that of a Camino de Santiago travel blog. I promise to try my best to keep you entertained, and hopefully my adventures in Spain will be a little more exciting than my life in San Francisco has been lately.

I do hope you’ll stick around.

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ritaSeptember 5, 2013 - 6:52 am

so so exciting! matt’s grandmother is obsessed with the movie and with this pilgrimage and will be so excited that i know someone who is taking it! i will quite likely send her your blog to follow when you head out! i can’t wait to hear about it, serena!

eileen ragan | leaner by the lakeSeptember 5, 2013 - 7:05 am

So so so exciting! Congrats to both of you on such a big journey to take together! I’m in the middle of reading WILD by Cheryl Strayed, in which she walks the Pacific Crest Trail from Cali to Oregon. It’s such a good read and perhaps a great one for a someone getting ready for a big trip of their own!

Can’t wait to hear about your preparations and planning. The secret looks absolutely stunning!

JessicaSeptember 5, 2013 - 7:45 am

Yes! This is awesome news! Seriously cannot wait for all the travel posts and pictures. You guys are so adventurous and amazing! And this is a HUGE deal!

Julie / BoundSeptember 5, 2013 - 7:58 am

THIS IS THE COOLEST THING. I am so incredibly excited for you! What an adventure, good grief. Elizabeth Gilbert did a really similar thing in France and wrote the most gorgeous article about it.

http://www.gq.com/food-travel/travel-features/200907/provence-walking-tour-elizabeth-gilbert-wine

LoraSeptember 5, 2013 - 8:07 am

I love girls who think camping and sleeping outside is for other people. And by people I mean animals.

KariSeptember 5, 2013 - 8:14 am

That sounds like the most AMAZING trip! I have never heard about that before, but it sounds like the best way to spend a month. I’m sure the scenery will be beautiful, and you’ll meet so many friends along the way. Can’t wait to follow along and really excited for you guys!

Lisa @ Two MartinisSeptember 5, 2013 - 8:32 am

What an awesome, amazing, exciting trip!! I cannot wait to hear all about it. This is much more exciting than buying a new pair of shoes and was well worth the wait to find out what your big news was!!

MargaretSeptember 5, 2013 - 9:00 am

That seriously sounds like such an amazing trip!! I can’t wait to hear more about it. Doug and I definitely want to do a last big hurrah before the whole kid thing- I’m definitely thinking a few weeks in Europe would be the absolute best!

nancy @ adore to adornSeptember 5, 2013 - 9:56 am

This is so incredible of you guys! I always imagine doing stuff like this but you are making things happen! Thankfully your husband has a nice company to let him off for such a long period of time! =) I always wonder how it might feel leaving a job for an amazing experience so I really envy you having the guts to do so!! Have an incredible time and I can’t wait to follow along. IG a postcard for me will ya?! I always ask for postcards…haha. =D

xo,
nancy

LauraSeptember 5, 2013 - 10:26 am

This sounds so incredibly AWESOME! Wow – I want to show my hubs this. Problem is those 30 days off!! I am so excited for you!

Marcie KimballSeptember 5, 2013 - 11:58 am

I’m so happy you guys are experiencing this amazing adventure together. Can’t wait to see pix and hear all about the trip!
xoxo
marcie

nicole marieSeptember 5, 2013 - 12:12 pm

so excited for you guys!!! some of my friends did a week long version of it during out spring break last year but honestly i am way too much of a pansy to have considered it but now you’re really making me regret it. maybe one day when i have a hot husband to join me

nicole marieSeptember 5, 2013 - 12:13 pm

oh and i am absolutely dying laughing and can not wait to see your pregnancy announcement post… one day

ShannonSeptember 5, 2013 - 3:49 pm

My social life and I are extremely relieved to hear that you are not pregnant. 😉

Rich KrawczykSeptember 5, 2013 - 5:31 pm

You’re going to have a great time and have one hell of a story to tell! Bring me back a Galician scallop shell from Santiago de Compostela! And make sure you get your credencial stamped to earn your compostela. By my calculations your walk will be about 700 kilometers, more than enough to qualify! Very cool!

Kelly BurgeeSeptember 6, 2013 - 2:11 pm

This is SO amazing!! I am REALLY excited to read all about your adventures!! As I may have mentioned to you before, my fiance and I are planning to quit our jobs at the end of the year and go on a last hurrah as well!! I really admire this and I’m very happy for you!! WAHOO!!

Kimberly @ The SimplicitySeptember 6, 2013 - 4:50 pm

This sounds so fricken sweet! I feel like this is exactly the kind of thing I need to put on a bucket list 🙂

WhitneySeptember 9, 2013 - 1:12 pm

How cool is this?!?!?!? I’d love to do something like this. I’ll probably have to wait until my daughter is older. Heck…I’ll plan to do this with her when she’s in highschool. A summer in Spain with your cool mom. Heck yeah 🙂

StephanieSeptember 10, 2013 - 9:02 am

I LOVE that you and Kevin are doing this!! It sounds like such a cool trip and an awesome experience. I can’t wait to hear all about your adventures and maybe Eric and I will literally follow in your footsteps and do the trek ourselves and a year or two! 🙂

[…] soon as Kevin and I started telling people that we were going to walk the Camino de Santiago, a slew of questions flooded in, most of which revolved around how exactly one “does” […]

JulieSeptember 12, 2013 - 6:02 pm

So excited for you guys! This will be a fantastic adventure and I can’t wait to hear about it! Btw, I was in Portugal last year so if you want any recs let me know. We stayed in a very cool tiny town on the coast. Love you guys! xox

[…] recently announced that I’m going to be leaving my job in order to walk 500 miles across Spain with my […]

Jeni YangSeptember 24, 2013 - 9:30 pm

You are CRAZY. And I am SO in awe of you and Kevin. This will undoubtedly be one of the most special things you will do in your lifetime, right?

Robert and Robin CharltonMay 16, 2016 - 12:10 pm

Have to say I love your blog, and as someone who is doing the Camino at present and is about to visit the town of Villamayor de Monjardin, it’s great to get a little preview of what’s in store. Love your description of how you saw “The Way” and realized walking through the Spanish countryside and eating and drinking wine was right up your alley. Yup! Same for us. My wife and I are loving the experience and just wanted to take a moment to say thanks for the great writeup, which gave us some good laughs as well as good insights.

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