MindSpace volunteer Julie talks about the build up to her seven-week, 400k walk of the Camino Way in Portugal next month

MindSpace volunteer Julie talks about the build up to her seven-week, 400k walk of the Camino Way in Portugal next month

20 July 2022

Preparation and anticipation – Julie Lunt’s blog part 2

There are several guide books which document ‘The Caminos’ in detail which include maps, terrain, daily distance broken down into sections between villages and what is available, such as cafes, accommodation and supermarkets. From this information I have created a detailed table of my pre-booked accommodation and the distances between each stopover. When I compared my guide book to my plan l realised, although training is going well, perhaps I need to up my game a bit. My current target, which I am achieving, is 30 km a week, however I will be walking about 70km and I feel a need to plan some longer walks on consecutive days and to do so carrying my back pack containing all my carefully chosen kit.

Being prepared gives me confidence and reduces my anxiety but this is tempered against other advice in my guide books, suggesting not over planning or over training. The authors say a pilgrimage is intended to be a challenge, it should be difficult!

On hearing I am beginning this walk at the end of the summer and mostly on my own, people often comment: I am very brave, I need to be careful, it will be very hot, take plenty of water. I appreciate their comments but I don’t feel brave and I do intend to take water, walk early, carry a phone and I am aware there are risks.

I’ve also been having very weird dreams. As with most dreams when I wake I can only remember part of the dream or even just the feel of the dream, which seems to be about not being in control of a situation It often leaves me with an overwhelming sense of anxiety. It is clear to me these dreams are about what I am planning and the sense of the unknown. But also they are about my grief and sadness this year following the death of my Mum, my former husband and my daughter-in-law’s Mum which leaves me with so many emotions I just cannot describe!

Mostly, I am excited and determined about this adventure, privileged to be able to do such a thing. In other moments I am filled with self doubt, I feel stupid, egotistical, I am overwhelmed with what might go wrong; not being able to manage the distance, sustaining an injury, becoming ill, loneliness, being mugged…

But yet I have to do it and I am not really sure why. I am not religious but but maybe this journey will enable me to find out why? So what, if the received wisdom of the Camino Guides is not to over-plan, taking reasonable action to look after both my physical and mental wellbeing will improve my chances of achieving my goal of being more comfortable with my self as well as walking the miles!


To sponsor Julie please visit Fundraiser by Julie Lunt : Walking the Caminho Portuguese for Mindspace (gofundme.com)