I’ve got Big Plans
I’ve got Big Plans
Next month, I will begin a walk of 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago. My trek, known as the Camino Frances, begins in St. Jean Pied de Port in France, crosses the Pyrenees and follows the northern edge of Spain to the city of Santiago de Compostela. I will go on foot, mostly alone and carry everything I need for this 5-6-week journey on my back.
So why would I want to do that?
I am walking to honor my son, Sam, who died of an overdose 2 ½ years ago. Hiking was an important part of his life and one of our favorite ways to spend time together. This trip will allow me to honor his life by raising funds for a scholarship in his name. I hope it will allow me discover inner strength, peace and find healing.
I walk to raise awareness of the tragedy of addiction, to give hope to other families who have lost loved ones and to raise funds for the Samuel Deford Scholarship Fund at the University of Colorado, his alma mater. By supporting this fund, you can become part of the movement to address substance abuse on college campuses nationwide, while supporting individual students in need of help to complete their educations.
My goal is to raise $100,000.
Where do I begin?
My walk begins in St. Jean on May 10th. John, is walking the first 10 days with me. After that, I will walk by myself, though never really alone, as there will be other pilgrims along the trail. I look forward to the opportunity to make new friends and share the spiritual journey with others who are seeking peace and renewal.
What is the Camino?
The Camino de Santiago began in the Middle Ages as a religious pilgrimage route. My walk begins in France, though there are many routes throughout Europe, all of which converge at the tomb of St James the Apostle, in Santiago de Compostela. Since its establishment in the ninth century, the tomb has become the destination of pilgrims from all over the world to secure forgiveness from their sins. The Road to Santiago (also called The Way of St. James) attracts over 100,000 pilgrims each year. Today, people walk the Camino for religious, spiritual and many other reasons.
What kind of trail is it?
The Route Frances is a historic route that passes through many towns and villages. Sometimes, it is a rocky path though fields and vineyards. Sometimes only a line at the side of the road separates the walkers from traffic. Along this route, the locals have cared for pilgrims for a millennium. Happily, this tradition continues. Cafes, inns and hostels dot the route. The typical modern pilgrim stays in “albuerges”, simple lodgings with bunk beds and communal baths. It’s not the Ritz, but it’s certainly not camping out. In the evening, a simple pilgrim meal is served to the group. There are also small hotels and B&B’s along the way. While John is with me, I think that’s what we will shoot for. After he departs, its likely I’ll gravitate toward the albuerges, for the sense of community and to explore the true spirit of the Camino.
What will I carry?
As little as possible. My goal is a backpack that weighs around 12 pounds, plus a liter or two of water. That amounts to a single change of clothes, rain gear, a light down jacket, a sleeping bag and a few other items. This will not be a high fashion tour, for sure.