I think I’m about six weeks out from my trip to Spain (I honestly can’t start counting – it’s really too far away still to get hopeful) and things are really coming together. As you know, I bought a backpack. But, as it turns out, there are myriad other tiny things that you need to get to do this trip in comfort.

Wait. Let’s put that in context. I’m going to walk 700km. There’s not really a whole lot of comfort involved here. As comfortable as possible is really what I’m looking for, I guess. Here’s a mini-summary of my latest buys.

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That’s Betty, my blue(ish) backpack. She has lots of straps. Apparently that’s the new new thing. Right now, she’s got a very large, very old Collected Works of Shakespeare (not First Folio old, but 1993 old) and a 1.5 litre bottle of water in her. That hideously flourescent yellow book thingy? That’s my pilgrim passport from the Canadian Confraternity of Saint James. It’s important because it enables me to stay in the hostels for a reduced rate (10 euros or thereabouts per night). The white thingy is a neck wallet. Normally I use a waist belt but Betty kind of takes over that area of the body, and I want easy access to my passport and money, so I’m going to the neck wallet this trip. The orange stuff? Sheets of solid laundry detergent. My brother got me these for Christmas one year and they worked quite well.

My favourite item though, is at the top. Yes, I totally took a photo of my underwear and put it on the Internet.

I want you to think for a minute about having three sets of clothes for six weeks. Three. Three complete sets of clothing. One to hike in. One to sleep in. One to wear tomorrow. (Note: lots of people only have two sets, but I can’t handle that. I just can’t.) That means three pairs of underwear. And that underwear has to get washed every day, so you want it to be pretty sturdy. And most importantly, if you’re wearing quick dry pants and tshirts and socks and all that, it kind of makes no sense at all if you wear cotton underwear. First, sweaty underwear falls down. Second, it chafes under your waist belt. Third, cotton underwear tends not to dry overnight, especially if it’s been wet or humid outside.

I have spent the past month testing out underwear. I kid you not. My poor squash partner thinks I’m insane (I’ve also been testing tshirts, which is equally entertaining and MUCH more visible). My squash pants come in two sizes – a bit tight and a bit loose. My hiking pants come in the exact same two sizes! The first undies I tried felt amazing with the a big tights, bit fell down on the job (so to speak) on the bit looses. It’s too bad, because they were much cheaper and a hot sexy red. My second pair are really unattractive but fit like the best underwear I’ve ever owned. They aren’t moving anywhere, waist belt, pants too big, pants too tight, no pants. They’re staying put.

Today, I committed. I bought two more pairs. Now I have the undies, the pants, the wallet, the backpack, the rain poncho (there’s a post coming about that), the permetherin (and another about that), the hair bands (seriously? I started testing these in January), the pilgrim credential, the sleeping bag, the shoes and the socks. I actually have every single thing I need, including the massive leg muscles and a really positive attitude.

I’m going to start counting down in April. It’s not real until April. But today, it’s sunny and hot and hot and did I mention it’s hot? It’s making me think of hiking. And hydration. And sweating. And how badly I need a haircut. And how I’m going to need another one before I leave, so I should probably schedule that now.

So yeah. It’s happening. And I’m ready. Sorta!

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