Packing for the Camino. It is more difficult than I thought it would be to pare down to the bare necessities. It is essential that the backpack be light enough for my back to bear it and that means giving up many things that I’m used to. I never considered myself a particularly vain woman until I began to realize how many of my daily routines centered upon looking a certain way. There are age spots to conceal, lashes to elongate, eyebrows to be plucked, hair to be made presentable, outfits to disguise saddle bags and muffin tops. Achieving my presentable self requires creams, tools, liquids, specific textiles and small appliances. (If you need appliances to assist in your daily self-esteem boost, you’re prissier than you think.)
So I admitted my vanity as I gazed longingly at all the items I wanted to put in my trail pack, but couldn’t. One by one I said goodbye to things that assuage my superficial self. (sniff, sniff) I gave into the facts that 1) I’m not fooling anyone – my age spots burst through concealer an hour after I apply it anyway and everyone knows there’s a big butt underneath the long shirts I often wear and 2) the point of this journey is to shed the trappings of the exterior and look inward. What’s in the pack, what’s on me is less important than the discoveries I’m about to make. I’ve made one discovery already: vanity is heavy.