Keeping a Journal on the Camino de Santiago

by Stuart Lennon

Regulars will know that I am completing the Camino de Santiago; in stages. Each year, I walk six days, and the following year, I restart from where I finished. This year was year two.

Full disclosure, although it is a pilgrimage, neither of my friends nor I would claim that we are solely motivated by religion. We all have some faith, but not in a traditional way. 

The Duck and Chickpea Stu

On the left is the belligerent Basque - the Duck. (Don't ask!) to the right is Chickpea Stu.

The walk was born to commemorate a friend who passed away. I walk partly for that, partly for the pleasure of spending time with a couple of friends and partly to log off, get into nature, and recharge.

As you may note, the Duck is looking a little less than fighting-fit, and sure enough he was unable to complete the walk this year. At the end of Day 2, after medical advice, he had to return home with swollen legs. Despite further problems at home, he is OK now and plans to 'catch up' before next year.

Chickpea and I continued.

Our routine at the end of a day's walking varied little. Having found somewhere to sleep, we would strike out looking for a glass of wine and some chairs. This day, we found some absolutely superb wine and a pretty decent couple of chairs.

Chickpea would scroll through his photos of the day and write notes on what had been taken where. I took few photos, but would jot down some thoughts or observations.

I would hoard any pieces of paper; receipts, bills, maps etc and fold them into the notebook.  Back in Blighty, I stapled these in.

Both chickpea and I used a Field Notes Expedition. I started from the front for my free-form stuff as described - and from the back to store any important logistics notes. Stu is using the PN notebook cover and a Kaweco clutch pencil. I had a Field Notes Fisher Space pen.

The walk was only a couple of months ago - but already, I treasure the notebook.

The Expedition is, as you might expect, perfect for this. The paper is nigh-on indestructible and revels in being treated roughly. The pen worked a treat too.

If you get the chance, get out there into nature. If you can do the Camino, I recommend it. It is amazing, but you don't need to go to Spain to find nature. There's probably some five minutes away. Put a pen and book in your pocket, turn your phone off and go take a walk. 

When you feel moved to write something, write it. 

Pilgrimage? There's a pocket notebook for that.