Notebooks on the road

by Stuart Lennon

My notebooks on the road for this trip were all Field Notes.

My intention was to use a couple of Mile Markers. However, as the trip came around, I was a few pages into a Wilco (“Glenn Kotche” by Cody Hudson) and my inner-completionist railed at abandoning the book early.

Walking Kit

So, I set off with the two pre-prepared Mile Markers and the Wilco. I was away for 8 days, and by the end, I had 10 pages left in the final notebook. 10 pages that I have now filled with reflections on the trip.

I feel like I have told everyone a million times about this trip, but just in case you missed it, I was walking the Camino de Santiago with my best friend Stuart. (Two Stuarts - makes introductions simple.) This was a fourth trip, each starting from the end of the previous, and this year we walked 115 miles from Léon to O Cebreiro, over 6 days.

Two Stuarts

This year was hard walking, ascending many hills and a couple of mountains. The last ascent into O Cebreiro, in particular, is steep and hard.

Every couple of hours or so, Stu and I stop. Almost certainly in a bar, for a coffee (in the morning) or a radler any other time. Radler is essentially watered down beer with lemon. Low in alcohol and refreshing, it has taken on a legendary status in our walks. No major decisions are allowed to be taken without first consuming a pensive radler. Stopped, I’ll loosen my laces, take a sip of radler and write a note. Perhaps of how I’m feeling, or something that I saw - or maybe even just a gentle muse.

Field Notes are ideal for this. It might just be me, but I don’t feel coerced to keep things neat and tidy in a Field Note. Sometimes I write portrait, sometimes landscape - in all sorts of writing implements.

I also take a stapler, having bought one a couple of trips ago. All three books have keepsakes stapled in. Train tickets, receipts, visit cards, all sorts of things. I find these excellent memory prompts as I look back on the trip.

I know that I will revisit these three notebooks time and time again.