You know what I’m not super keen on? Bugs. I used to be one of those super squeamish women who’d make a dude kill the bugs. Guess what? Not an option when you live alone. I kill my own bugs now. In fact, I have to say, the thing I’m most proud of was calmly walking around the two boys (men in their 50s) provoking the tarantula with their hiking poles in the Grand Canyon instead of turning around and running in the other direction.

But still. I’m not that keen on bugs. You know what though? Bugs LOVE me. Oh man, do they ever. I’m like a mosquito’s version of the Victoria’s Secret catalogue. Sweet, fleshy, and exhaling lots of carbon dioxide. When I go into the woods, to the third world, or heck, to the back yard, I get eaten alive.

And yet, I have decided to hike in May, in a climate slightly warmer than Ottawa, which would put me there in full on bug season. Did I mention that I’m sweet, fleshy, and that I exhale lots of carbon dioxide? Also that I sweat a lot? And that bug spray slides right off when you sweat?

Enter my new best friend.


Permetherin. It’s an insect repellent that you spray onto your clothes (and socks and shoes and hat). It lasts for about six weeks and your clothing is washable every single day in that time period. Also, it’s apparently useful for the sleeping bag as a method of warding off bedbugs that linger in the occasional hostel. Oh, and ticks, too.

I’m very excited about this little bottle, to be honest. I hate spray insect repellent. I hate getting it in my eyes, I hate the way you can taste it when you spray it on. I hate the way it smells, even the “nice” stuff. It’s really tough to find permetherin in Ottawa – I actually ordered this from REI in the US. If it works well, I think I’m going to spray a bunch of my clothes for the summer and remember to only wear them when I’m in buggy areas. If it doesn’t, I’m just going to scratch and weep and gnash my teeth. I might moan and whine as well.


Some people have asked if they can communicate with me or “sponsor” me on my Camino. It’s a little known fact that I don’t even own a cell phone, let alone a smart phone, so it’ll be more of a challenge than normal to access the internet. I will try to blog via my iPod touch or pay computers whenever possible, however.

I’ll be starting my Camino in Pamplona, Spain. It’s a beautiful historic city and I’m trying to figure out if I’m going to spend a full day there or more. If you’re interested, I’m certainly happy in having you pick a day and sending me positive thoughts and messages on that day. It’s a tough mental journey, and support from home is always appreciated.