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The Camino de Santiago…With a 5.5lb Running Pack!

by Meghan Hanson

Note: Click on ‘View Gallery’ to see some of Meghan’s wonderful drawings.

My goal:  21 days running 800k along Spain’s Camino de Santiago.

I wanted a balance of running, walking when I met someone interesting, sitting and drinking a beer when I felt like it, and sketching in my journal.  I also wanted to travel as light as possible.

I spent a lot of time fine-tuning my packing…managing to get all I needed for 500 miles & 21 days into a 5.5lb running pack.  Showing up on the streets of St John had me questioning myself.  My pack looked more like the top attachment of most folk’s set-up.  Hum.

Wine Fountain in the Rioja

At some points the trail was six feet below the forest showing how the constant use over hundreds of years had eroded its way into the landscape. Other places it paralleled a busy highway or messed with your perception heading straight across the Meseta.  In Pamplona, I got swept up in a Catalonian Independence parade. In the Rioja there were grape fields & even a wine fountain on the trail.  In the East, the trail crossed through Galicia with steep rocky trails.

When I did stop to talk I met wonderful people.  The common thread seemed to be a real interest in stepping away from the chaos of modern life, spending time just thinking, and learning about the others along the way.  I loved the lack of judgment I saw, over and over I heard people say ‘It’s your Camino’ –every one is different.

My 5.5lb pack that had me a bit worried turned out to be the best thing I could have done.  It started several conversations about what we actually need vs. what we think we need. One traveler said ‘we pack our fears’, we can all benefit from paring down. Sure I had a few cold nights, but nothing worse than that!

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Tom & Katie
1 year ago

Great run! We are so proud of you!

Jennifer M.
1 year ago

What a lovely story! The quote about “we pack our fears” is so true! Thank you for sharing, and for your fabulous drawings.

Colleen MacDonald
1 year ago

Love the drawings!