10 things to know before you go on a journey
If you have decided to take a walk in Italy, the classic route of Santiago or one of the many wonderful walking routes in Europe (which are one of the most beautiful ways to travel slowly) this guide will be very useful.
How To Prepare For A Travel
How do you prepare for a journey? What do you need to know to be a true pilgrim? In this guide you will find all the information you need.
The routes are usually divided into stages, the length of which varies according to the type of route and the distance between the villages along the route. Usually the average length of the stages is about 20 km (some stages measure only 7/8 km, others measure more than 30 km).
In each stage there is a place to sleep, drinking water, food and services.
When you decide to walk along a path you are not obliged to walk all the way and you can decide to walk along one or more stages, at will.
It takes a little training, especially if you walk for several days and continue to strain muscles and joints. You need a proper preparation of your backpack and you need some information about the route. Usually online you can find gpx tracks and you can buy paper guides with all the useful information.
Below you will find 10 rules to follow in order to face your first path and enjoy it to the fullest.
Training to prepare for a walk should begin a few months before departure. At least a couple of times a week you take long walks of about ten kilometres at a fast pace. This will train joints and muscles. You can add the weight of your backpack and lengthen your pace behind the start.
#2 THE BACKPACK
The good preparation of the backpack is one of the fundamental elements for the success of the journey. Inside there should be only the essential and should not weigh more than 10% of your body weight. A good backpack has a rigid reinforcement along the part that rests on the back, a breathable net to reduce sweat, ergonomic braces, rests on the sides to relieve the weight and has plenty of external pockets.
#3 READ BEFORE YOU GO
There is an incredible variety of themed literature. There are tales of walks, guides to specific walks with all the useful information and lots of books to help you prepare for the trip. One of these is The Art of Walking by Ediciciclo written by Luca Gianotti who is an institution in the field.
#4 OPEN TO MEETINGS
Along the way you will meet other people who have made your choice. It is very likely that you will have something in common. Of course, you will have in common the stages that have already passed, the places, the joys and the labors of the walk. Sharing them will make the walk more interesting.
#5 THE RIGHT SHOES
Shoes are an essential ally in your journey. The first rule is mandatory: they cannot be new shoes, but they must be well run in. The second rule is that it is better to spend more than to save on shoes.
Unless the path you have chosen is a high mountain route, classic hiking boots are not the most suitable. Better low and light trekking shoes or running trail shoes, even lighter but with less support for the ankle. It is important that there is a waterproof upper between the bottom and the lining. The goretex shoes are completely waterproof and breathable, although in some cases they are too warm for those who walk in the middle of summer.
#6 STUDY THE ROUTE
Before leaving, it is a must to study the route and the stages well: mark the hostels, campsites and hotels and make sure they are open during the period of travel. Study carefully the transports to reach the starting point of the walk and the right times to start walking in the morning. Bring a useful paper guide with you if you can’t recharge your devices for some reason.
#7 CHECK THE WEATHER
When you walk along a path you walk every day, waking up at dawn and walking one stage a day, with no ifs or buts. On the way to Santiago, the hostels accommodate travellers for just one night, unless there is a need for health. Before departure, however, take a look at the weather to start on the right foot and check it from time to time to choose the time of departure and to know what awaits you.
#8 AVOID OVERDOING
You have just completed a very short stage. You are still feeling strong and the sun is still high in the sky. The temptation to go on to the next stage will be very high, but it is better not to exaggerate. Take advantage of the short stages to rest your body, to devote yourself to reading or writing your impressions of the day.
#9 IN COMPANY, BUT WITHOUT EXAGGERATION
When you move at the pace of your steps it is much easier to get in perfect tune with your body and mind. The secret is to follow your own rhythms. To face the path with fellow travelers means to find a compromise with the rhythm of others. Make sure you choose the right companions. In any case, put aside enough courage to separate and then reach out if circumstances require and not to force your body.
#10 WALK ALONE
Even if you are not inclined towards solitary journeys, consider making a journey, or a few stages of a journey, on your own. Paths are not like other journeys. Time spent walking is time spent with yourself. During the walk you meet other people and in our opinion it is one of the easiest and most delicate approaches to solo travel. Provided, of course, that you have prepared yourself properly following our advice, choose a well marked path, frequented and up to your physical possibilities!
How To Prepare Your Backpack
The backpack must be as light as possible to face the path, but there must be essential equipment. Inside, put a pair of t-shirts, a pair of underwear and a pair of socks, sleeping bag and fleece. Technical clothing is not essential, but in some cases it makes a difference: it weighs little and dries faster, leaving the body drier on the way.
Essentials: needle and thread for darning, safety pins for hanging wet clothes from the backpack in the morning, backpack cover for rain, k-way, rainproof pants, sunscreen in spring and summer, water bottle.
Bring a pair of bags and a cotton bag that you can use as a bag when you leave your backpack in the evening in the accommodation.
Bring with you the essential medicines: a few tablets of an antipyretic, an antihistamine, a painkiller and a few camions of a supplement with potassium and magnesium, better if it also contains some energizing active ingredient to be used if necessary. You cannot miss the latest generation of patches for blisters on the feet and disinfectant (better if in towel, lighter and more practical to use).
Personal hygiene: use Marseille soap to wash your body and clothes. For the hair you can bring a piece of solid shampoo (there are good and emollient in circulation). An aloe cream will be useful as a moisturizing face and body and also in case of sunburn or irritation. Argan oil is also very convenient and multifunctional and can also be used to moisturize hair after the use of solid shampoo. A small and light comb, toothbrush and toothpaste close the list.
Not essential but very comfortable the Kindle that allows you to take with you any reading with a derisory weight.