I have a vivid (and not pleasant memory) from the first day of my Camino in 2013. I had set out from Le Puy en Velay with much trepidation about the enormity of what I was attempting. As the morning progressed my apprehension grew as did the pain in my feet and my back. In some nondescript hamlet I found a stone table by the side of the path. With effort I took off my pack and, for a brief moment, stood looking at it and wondering how I could carry it over a thousand miles.
Over the next few days I learned to appreciate my pack, and its crucial importance to the success of the Camino. Eventually I christened the pack in memory of a wonderful dog with whom I had shared so many adventures. Over the next weeks Oscar (the sack) became an extension of me.
When, eventually I shouldered him for the final days walking I experienced a sense of loss.
Since December 2013 Oscar has hung on the back of the door in my house and, in a fleeting glance, I have remembered so much shared. When Mel Shuldham invited me to join her at the end of her Camino Portugese I said that I would have my luggage taken by taxi. After several practice walks with 7kg in my day sack I decided that Oscar should have another Camino adventure. The first day of our reunion had its moment but now it is as if we are back in 2013 (although he is much less full).
Of course, judging what we need and do not need is one essential aspect of the Camino. Letting go of things is an essential part of the process. There is a freedom when we know that what is on our back is the sum total of our necessities.