• Walking

Walking, step by step

Mental and physical preparation to hikes or pilgrimages is essential. Here some advice to hit the road in the best possible way

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Walking, step by step
HOW TO PREPARE FOR PILGRIMAGES

Be it for naturalistic, cultural, historic or spiritual vocation, walking on the numerous paths that you can find all over the world - the Road to Santiago or Via Francigena, just to cite two famous routes - is one of the most engaging and training experience that you could ever have.

Walking on ancient roads, maybe on the trail of a lost spirituality, often means facing long paths, in unknown territories, where a bit of physical and mental preparation is always advisable.

Before starting it is better to know what you are going through and act accordingly. Here some tips:

1) Walking is within just anyone's reach, but doing it continuously it is not, and it needs a good physical preparation: the best thing is to train before, try walking many km a day, maybe with a pack on your back, many times a week. In this way, the body gets used to prolonged efforts.

2) The rucksack is the pilgrim’s best friend. Filling it up properly is an art, and it is a question of quality of the route. Generally, without the full canteen, it should not overcome the 10% of the body weight. Never forget the soap to hand wash your clothes nor some hooks and safety pins to hang the clothes on your rucksack when they are wet.

3) While preparing, giving up on the unnecessary is practical - and not only - advice. Material objects lose their meaning when compared to the beauty of the scenery, the silence and the rhythm of your steps.

4) Remove the unnecessary but do not skimp on good shoes, because they do make the difference on the long distance. Generally, hiking shoes are more flexible and more comfortable compared to traditional boots. Always check your shoes are waterproof.

5) Besides the equipment, study the stages of the route, spotting camping zones, hostels or inns along the road. Write down addresses and phone numbers and make sure they will be open in the period of your journey.

6) Weather is always a variable. Keep an eye on it. Check the forecasts a couple of days before leaving, in this way you will avoid walking under poured rain. Anyway, an anorak and anti-rain trousers are always useful.

7) Preparing for the journey by reading some books about the route, is not a bad idea. Literature always helps getting an idea of what you are going to face.

8) The pilgrim, while walking, slips in a sort of trance, closed in their own inner reality and thoughts. Though, facing the Cammini means coming across fellow human beings and, therefore, prepare psychologically to encounter strangers and share experiences. It may sound trivial, but it is not.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR PILGRIMAGES
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