Having decided that I might definitely be going, I began the next level of preparations and panic. I had to find a way to get to St. Jean Pied de Port. There is no airport directly to St. Jean, the nearest is Biarritz and the second nearest is Bilbao, Spain. At both you either have to take a taxi, bus, or the train to St. Jean. Another big worry. Should I take the train? Too long of a trip I decided, and no less expensive than flying. I didn't want to get there worn out from a long train ride only to have to get up the next day to walk over the Pyrenees. Flying to Bilbao seemed to be somehow psychologically defeating because you have to land in Spain and then work your way back to your starting point in France.
For the size of the city, Regensburg has a wealth of sporting goods stores with two stores specializing in camping equipment and four general sporting goods stores. I began to make my rounds. I quickly began to worry about just how much all this was going to cost given that a pair of Gore-Tex rain pants was selling for over 100 euros, a good backpack over 200 euros, a rain jacket also over 100 euros, not to mention the costs of the alberques and food, and of course transportation to St. Jean and then back from Santiago. I began to feel guilty about wanting to go, about entertaining any realistic thoughts about going, and began to worry more and more about how to solve my job problem.
As luck would have it, I think about two weeks before I finally left, I was walking downtown and stopped dead in my tracks
But really, the seed for this trip was planted about 4 years ago when I still had a television, was trying to improve my German via TV, and a talkshow featured a woman who had recently walked the Camino alone. I was fascinated by her story, the film footage they showed (they always seem to show the stunningly beautiful part such as the Pyrenees), and the sheer daunting amount of kilometers such a trip would require. About 800, by the way.
This is crazy, just take me home.
I can't do it, just take me home.
You're here and you're going.
But...this is crazy. I can't do it.
You can do it. You want to do it.
If something happens I can just come home.
This was how my physical journey began on May 12, 2006 sitting in a car at the Regensburg train station in Germany. It must have been somewhere between 3 and 4 AM, it was pitch dark, and I was ready to call everything off after having thought and dreamed of going on the Camino for approximately 4 or 5 years. My body felt split somewhat in two: exhausted from the preparations and anxieties from the uncertain days leading up to my departure yet simultaneously very alive and rushed with small flashes of adrenaline.