• Ryan Newman

Taking the first of a million-plus steps.

“Our feet do not walk by themselves. The mind is the engine and our feet are the tires. Invest in good tires, but always stay attentive to the needs and demands of the engine that drives you.”

Over the last year, I have rehearsed over and over again my first steps on the Camino. With each step, I would ask myself “how does that feel?”

On the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrim will take over a million steps, but the first few steps are some of the most important. If your shoes and feet don’t find a happy marriage, it is going to be a very, very, long 500 miles—surely you will end most days bloody and blistered.

I have tried on and tested about 10 different types of shoes/boots. Orginally, I thought I was going to wear hiking boots. I bought a great pair of hiking boots and proceeded to hike 10, 20, and 15 mile hikes on consecutive Mondays. My feet grew angry.

My attention turned to the latest trend on the Camino: Trailrunner shoes. Lightweight running shoes with a decent tread and extra cushion. After a few blind dates, I finally settled on the “Columbia Montrail Men's Caldorado III Outdry Trail Running Shoe.”

Like teenagers in love, we have been inseparable for the past month—I have been trying to break them in before they “break me” in on the Camino.

Lesson for the day (preparation day ‘pre Camino’): The first steps tell you a lot about a relationship.


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