Back in September, I completed one of the most challenging and satisfying experiences of my life. In a little over a month I walked from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, a small French town at the base of the Pyrenees, to Santiago de Compostela and onward to Finisterre on Spain’s Atlantic coast. These routes, the Camino Frances and Camino Finisterre, are part of a vast network of medieval pilgrim paths across Europe collectively known as the Camino de Santiago.
I’ll write plenty more about the experience in the future, but wanted to devote one post solely to the gear I took — exactly what I chose to take and leave behind, and how well those choices worked over the course of my five week walk.Continue Reading →
There are many great things about my backpack. It has the best harness I’ve ever used, it’s easy to secure, and its 50 litre size means that I’m never tempted to pack more stuff than I can easily carry.
Or, at least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself ever since I bought it a little over three years ago. I’ve been on the road continually for around 18 months now, though, and despite my best efforts that little bit of extra space I’d always had in my backpack had magically disappeared. Over the course of a year and half, the occasional extra t-shirt here or book there had left my pack bulging and zips straining. It was time to either throw a bunch of stuff out, or find an inventive way to fit a little more gear into the same space.
When throwing a few things out didn’t make as much difference as I’d hoped, I opted for plan B instead.Continue Reading →
My old pack had finally given up the ghost after a decade of being dragged around the world, and as I laid my shiny new one on the bed to fill it up with the ‘essentials’ it suddenly occurred to me how just how much I was putting in. That third pair of trousers. Half a dozen travel guides and other books. A toiletries bag so full that I had to put a few items in a plastic bag. Here was me, supposedly an experienced traveller, fighting with the zips on my backpack. Every item had a perfectly good justification for why it was included – but unless I also planned to pack a donkey to carry it all for me, I just couldn’t take it all. And yet I still tried.Continue Reading →