Camino Countdown

In 18 days, I’ll be embarking on the greatest adventure of my life thus far. I’m a little worried, because I haven’t made it to my fundraising goal yet. But if I have to skip a few meals or donate less at donation-based alburgues, then that’s what I’ll do, I guess. One way or the other, I’ll make it to Santiago de Compostela.

My family also has me worried, though I know there’s nothing I can really do. My therapist has been helping me understand that my nature is that of a “fixer” and my compulsion to make everyone OK is simultaneously the thing that makes me so very tired of being around people. I feel like I’m constantly being judged for not helping enough people, for not being a good enough person, but I can see (kinda) that I DO do my best to be good to others. I just can’t help everyone. And I can’t let my imagination keep telling me that people are looking down on me for not being a martyr. Even though I feel sometimes that it’s the truth. I feel like people at home expect me to move home and take care of my parents now that my father’s in the hospital. But that’s not rational. Moving home would get me nowhere, except out of a job and with no way to offer support, just more strain for them. I don’t know how to best be of service right now. I suppose I’ll figure it out when I’m walking and have the time to take a breath now and then and think things through logically.

In other news, it’s been really nice talking to my Mum daily for the last few days. She makes it seem as though I’m helping her when I call to talk, so I hope that’s true. I haven’t been able to get through to my dad on the phone for the last couple of days, but maybe tomorrow. I know he’s in the rehab center now, and exhausted from all of the exercise. I’m not-so-secretly pleased that he’s being forced to reactivate muscles he’d given up using long ago. He’s a very strong and capable man, and a lot younger than he thinks he is. I’d love for him to realize his strength and overcome this new challenge with the grace of which I know he’s capable. I just want to see them both succeed at this new approach to life. Mum’s even talking about getting a smart phone now. It’s a whole new era!

Other than that, I still don’t have all of the gear I need for my trip. I’m waiting on some paychecks to come in, and hoping that they’ll do so prior to my departure so that I can pay my bills in advance, and buy the remaining items that I need to get. It’s going to be a little chillier this year than in past years, judging by current weather, so I’ve decided to get long leggings rather than capri-length, and that I’ll need some long sleeve shirts with wicking capabilities. Still also looking for the right waterproof jacket. Hopefully I’ll be able to find some of it secondhand, or at least at a steep discount on Sierra Trading Post.

Another important step that needs to be taken is to spray my gear with permethrin to prevent bedbugs. Unfortunately, I bought the permethrin, but now that I have the bottle I realize there’s nowhere in my apartment (or outside it) that would be safe to use it. When it’s wet, it’s highly toxic to cats (and only cats – dogs and a whole host of other animals are fine if they come in contact with it). I have two indoor kitties that I’d never put in danger. I could use it outside, but there’s a beloved neighborhood cat that hangs out at my front door (yes, we all know I’m a complete pushover – he gets wet food more often than Izzy and Munky do), and there are a bunch of feral cats from a few houses down that also sleep in the yard now and then. I’d be heartbroken if I accidentally did anything to hurt any of them. So I’m going to have to see if someone has a cat-free area that could be used while my gear gets dipped and dried. Maybe my friend Caroline, who seems to only have dogs at her condo building.

As for being ready for this long, strenuous walk, I’m not sure I can ever be ready enough. But I’m comfortable with my shoes, and I’m comfortable with my pack, and I’m fairly certain that I won’t be packing too much. My coach at Iron Tribe, Shelby, is going to work with me to develop a daily stretching routine that I can do before and after walking to help cut down on leg and foot pain and chance of injury. I’m most concerned about my right Achilles tendon, which has been tight all this year. But the best I can do is not take it too fast, and not push myself too much too quickly. I’ve already decided that if I have to take rest days or take the bus now and then, that’s OK. Everything else is up to the Universe.

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