Should you walk the Camino?

Many of the people I have met since I did my first Camino in 2017 tell me how much they want to do it. Most folks will never get around to walking it. Well, I am here to guide you.

What is your motivation to walk the Camino? In my case, I had dreamt about it for years, but it took my father’s passing for me to finally commit. Maybe you have heard from a few pilgrims that it was a cool experience? Or maybe you have a higher motivation. Although it is bad Camino etiquette to ask pilgrims why they are walking (it is none of your business, you can read more pointers here), most folks do it in between jobs, after college, to “find themselves.”

You 100% should walk the Camino. For clarity, for healing, for your mental, spiritual, and physical health, to get to know the country in a way not even Spaniards know, for culture: history, architecture, art, food, etc., to disconnect from civilization (you are not walking the Appalachian trail), but just walking for hours on end each day means that you are not looking at a screen for those hours, and yes, for fun.

Your first task is committing, maybe therein lies the issue.

Your next step is to figure out how much time you have. For the full enchilada, you are going to need thirty something days. Or you can do a shorter Camino like the Primitivo which will take you around 12 days. Any less and you are really cheating yourself out of the transformative experience that is the Camino. Sure, you only need to walk 100 km (62 miles) -less than a week- to get your Camino certificate, your Compostela, but if you are walking the Camino to hang a certificate on your wall, you might as well just go to Disney World.

Once you know how much time you have, take a look at all the different Caminos, you can start in Paris, Geneva, Madrid, Lisbon, Bordeaux, you name it. The Camino starts at your doorstep.

Money. The Camino in Spain is relatively inexpensive. You can get away at 30 Euros a day. You will need more if you want to stay in hotels instead of Albergues, and much more if you are going to walk in France or anywhere else in Europe. On the other hand you will need much less if you camp and/or if you make all your own meals.

Then you make your travel plans: planes, trains, buses, whatever.

And your equipment, there are a million YouTube videos on this, even I have written about it here.

That’s it, you are on your way, Buen Camino!

Paddle boarding, a wonderful experience

One of my colleagues is a keen surfer, who nowadays also paddle boards and paddle surfs. The last couple of weeks he has taken me out paddle boarding with him.

What a wonderful experience it is! You get to spend time on the water, working out, and in communion with nature, in a meditation. Already I have seen a spotted ray, a turtle -which was really zooming along! and a manatee (and some pink jellyfish).

We paddle out of the Ocean Inlet Park and paddle around the Intracoastal, checking out mangroves, and gorgeous waterfront homes! I am hoping that he asks me out again and maybe we get to go out to the open sea, I might have to earn my sea legs first.

If you get a chance to paddle board, do not hesitate, like the old commercial said: “just do it”.

Picasso in Warmer Climes: Works on Canvas, Clay, and Paper

For many of us growing up in the eighties, Picasso’s art is something we just grew up with (the Impressionists, especially Monet, are also right up there, but this is a post about Picasso). By the time I saw my first real Picasso painting, I had seen so many prints, posters, photos, etc. that I do not think I was that impressed.

The first Picasso painting that I remember seeing was no less than the Guernica, at the NY MOMA, (before it was returned to Spain) in the late seventies. I was more impressed with the size than the horrors of war that it portrays -also, I was, like, twelve.

Along the way, I became a fan of Picasso, studying his art, his career, his life. The whole thing is fascinating! My first full time teaching job, back in 2005 I organized a trip from Boston to NY to see the Picassos -back at the Museum of Modern Art! I relish any and every chance I get to explore his work.

Fast forward to last week when I made it to the last day of a tiny Picasso exhibit at the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach. It was worth it even if it only had a handful of works, equally divided between paintings and ceramics.

The exhibit was titled Picasso in Warmer Climes: Works on Canvas, Clay, and Paper, and it focused on Picasso’s last few decades, when he was prolifically generating art.

Every single piece of art Picasso created is brilliant and genius, but I have a soft spot for his interpretations of Don Quixote. Here was a tiny ceramic jug with a simple image of the Knight. Picasso and Don Quixote were implacable individualists creating their own destinies.

With such a massive oeuvre, there are Picasso exhibits everywhere constantly, so keep your eyes open for an exhibit near you soon!