I could spend all day reading the blogs of the vast "underground" of long distance walkers. (Yes, there is such a thing!) They are so inspiring and fascinating. Here is another quote I found which will keep me going:
Only those willing to risk going too far, can find out how far they can go.~ T.S. Eliot
I have a nice three and a half mile jaunt starting at my front door which I really like. It is mostly a peaceful country road with an "agony hill" at the end to get me ready for the Pyrenees. I walked it yesterday with my friend, MB, and explained to her that the goal was not to see how fast we can do it, but to walk in a relaxed manner as all those who have walked the camino advise. It is not a sprint, nor is it a marathon. It is more a walking meditation, and the idea is to be present to the moment at every step. This goes counter to the American spirit of competition, doesn't it? However, I intend to make walking a lifelong endeavor and it is essential to enjoy it. And an easy, thoughtful stride is deeply satisfying to me.
I will eventually work up to four times around that loop, and that will be about a day's journey on the camino. A typical day on the camino will start early with two hours in the morning, 7 o'clock to 9, say. A good hour's break for breakfast. Two more hours of walking, 10 to 12, another break for lunch, then another two hour trek, 1-3, and it will be time to find an albergue. Throw your sleeping bag on the bed, crash for as long as necessary, then explore the town with some fellow peregrinos and find a bar that serves a pilgrim meal, remembering the Spanish habit of very late evening meals. Keep in mind that a bar or Spanish barra is the word for a local hangout, not specifically for adult beverages! This doesn't sound too arduous, does it? But those who have gone before me know that the hard part is getting up every day and doing it again, day after day after day. That is where the mental toughness is required.