Saturday, May 03, 2014

Starting to Prepare!

My preparation for the Camino de Santiago is underway and I thought I would begin to blog about the process of getting in shape for the long walk in September.

I plan to leave Tulsa on September 8, 2014 and travel to Paris. From there I will travel to Bayonne, France and on to Saint Jean Pied de Port, the starting point of el Camiño Francés. I hope to begin the walk on September 14, 2014.

El Camiño Francés begins at the base of the Pyrenees Mountains that comprise the border between France and Spain. The length of the Camino is roughly 800 kilometers, or 500 miles. With this in mind I will need to walk about 25 kilometers a day to finish the camino in thirty three days. I want to take a few days off during the trip to see the sights along the way and of course may need to let my body recuperate, so my preparation is to get my body used to walking from five to ten miles each day in the month of May. I plan to increase this to an average of ten miles per day in June and be up to walking fifteen miles per day several days in July. I believe that if I can be accustomed to walking at least three hours a day, every day, I can be ready for the walk physically.

The other aspect of a long walk is mental. Some persons have difficulty unplugging from this present world and its constant bombardment with noise, information, music, and conversation. I desire to fully unplug from this artificial world and its attractions and be fully present to the sights and sounds of the camino.

Quiero tener la experiencia completa y conocer los personas, o la gente, en Espana.

I want to have the complete experience and know the people of Spain.

I trust that you can tell that part of how I am preparing my mind for the journey is to study, and learn Castillian Spanish. I have a friend, mi amigo Bob Pennison. Bob and his wife Teri are missionaries in Spain and as it turns out are living in Santiago. Their presence there was part of the confirmation that I needed to know that this trip was right for me. Bob is here in Tulsa this summer and will be returning to Santiago about the time I begin my trip. We will meet up in Santiago as I complete my journey.

Bob has agreed to work on speaking Spanish with me and we have had two sessions so far. I am writing out paragraphs in Spanish and then practicing speaking with Bob. He listens to see if I am understood and then adds hints and insights on pronunciation and changes that need to be made. I also have been using a Pimsleur course and utilize mnemonics to assist me in memorizing the top 1000 Spanish words. Mentally I find myself speaking to myself in Spanish and as I practice with Bob and in the Hispanic community in Tulsa. The more I practice the more confident I become in my conversation. I believe that I can already communicate enough to find my way and get food and drink. I can ask for help and assistance if ill. The other mental work is to help me mentally stay focused on the goal.
Puedo communicar sufficente para direccion a hacer comida y bebida. (Spanish speakers please correct my poor translation from memory).

Needless to say I am quite excited by the prospect.

I walked seven miles on Thursday and eight on Friday making a total of fifteen miles so far in the month of May.  I want to hit the five mile average and so far am ahead of the game. I have developed my memorization list and will work on getting the "A" and "B" words into my memory plan this weekend in order to have at least 250 words committed to memory by the end of May.

A final aspect, and one that probably should be the first in the list, is my spiritual focus. I have been in spiritual transition for over five years, since 2009. This transition is positive in that my walk with the Lord is stronger than ever before. I find that my connection with the institutional church is almost non-existent. This transition is curious to me and part of my spiritual journey is to look at the draw of the Camino, and pilgrimage in general as I walk along the way. I am learning to simply receive the Love of God when I am tempted to judge others. This simple way of gratitude for having a resource to fill my lack of love assists me in resisting the call to be "right" and attempts to judge others as being "wrong". I am more at peace with this process and get ample opportunity to practice as I prepare for the Camino.

So there it is for early May. I am looking at the preparation of my spirit, mind and body in concrete ways. I am blogging this in order to be accountable for the work that I desire to do.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Thought from Kierkegaard on walking

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.”

Søren Kierkegaard

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pilgrimage to Spain

I've clarified the fact that I am traveling to Spain in September of 2014 to hike the Camino de Santiago- The Way of Saint James as a pilgrimage to celebrate my sixtieth year on the planet as well as my present vocation as a writer and encourager. I am very excited by this prospect and will probably bore everyone with the planning and preparing. I hope to build a small community of fellow pilgrims to share the experience and have several book and blog ideas.

Today I begin the process of learning Spanish, giving me eight months to gain some fluency in the Castilian language. I have the lessons downloaded on the iPod shuffle for use while I hike the RiverParks trail this afternoon. Buen Camino!

Welcome to 2014

Here I am in January of 2014. It is an interesting year, one of many new opportunities for walking and hiking. I want to blog about these and will complete the update later this week. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New and Revised WalkingMan Blog

I'm getting excited by the changes in my life and have decided to revitalize the WalkingMan blog. I realize that I have not walked as much this year as I would have liked, primarily because I no longer get to walk to the office and my new schedule requires me to be "cleaner" than I used to be. Coming to a meeting in walking gear and sweaty is not acceptable.

Now consider, what if the walking and writing about hiking is the new job?  I have an idea to capture a different hike each month, to be a travelogue of trips around Tulsa and Oklahoma that will combine the joy of walking and hiking along with my joy of travel. These are for my own interest but perhaps others will find it enjoyable to read and perhaps take on some of the travels themselves.

I like the idea and it may help prepare me for the Camino de Santiago in 2014.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Walking Man 2013

I love springtime. In our neighborhood the azalea's are blooming, trees are budding and allergies are full bore. I'm planning my year's hikes and will use this blog to keep updated and on track.

One area to explore this year is the McGee Creek Natural Scenic Recreation Area near Atoka, OK.  I'm planning this hike in May.  We are also going to the city of Davis Oklahoma in June and will visit the Chickasaw National Recreation Area for short day hikes. Finally, I'm planning another Outer Mountain Loop hike at Big Bend National Park in October of this year.  It's been five years since I last did this hike and I'm planning it earlier in the year to have warmer weather.

2013 is shaping up to be a good hiking year. I'll keep the blog updated as I progress.

Monday, December 05, 2011

WalkingMan Tour 2011

I'm all set for this year's Big Bend adventure.  This year I'm going to focus on the desert of Big Bend, instead of hiking the Chisos.  I've been intrigued for some time with Elephant Tusk and the Fresno Creek area so I'm planning to set up camp at the backcountry campsite and dayhike around, with the focus on silence and solitude.

On Monday I'll go down the River Road past Big Bend Ranch, hiking Closed Canyon, and then on to the Getaway for the rest of my time.

I'll share more soon.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting Back in the Groove for 2011

This morning was the first one this summer where I could feel the cool of fall approaching.  I realize that it will still be hot for several days, but the process of fall has begun, and so must I.

I walked to work today in preparation for WalkingMan Tour 2011.  Big Bend has received rain, so I think it will be possible to have my annual getaway.  Last year I took a fellow hiker, but this year I will be seeking solitude again.

I plan to blog more as the days progress.

Stay tuned.