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  • To the End of the World

  • Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is a small town in

  • southwest France, sitting in the foothills

  • of the Pyrenees mountains.

  • It would be totally unknown if it weren't for the fact

  • that it's the traditional starting point for the

  • Camino de Santiago, a 540-mile historic pilgrimage

  • across northern Spain.

  • That's why I ended up there, anyway.

  • Okay, so I just got the pilgrims' credencial.

  • It's a passport that you use on the Camino.

  • Normally, my brother and I meet every year

  • for a backpacking adventure.

  • Hank: We've made it to the top of the North Rim

  • of the Grand Canyon on January 1st!

  • But he couldn't do it this year because he got married

  • and needed his vacation time for his honeymoon.

  • So, sad that I'd be walking alone,

  • I decided to head out on the Camino de Santiago by myself

  • with a plan to walk all the way across Spain

  • to a lighthouse on the ocean.

  • This is the door to Spain and the Napoleon Route.

  • So, onto the Pyrenees!

  • People come from all over the world to walk the Camino

  • and a lot of them want their Caminos to be inward, spiritual journeys

  • as well as physical ones.

  • (Brock Currie) I'm doing the Camino because

  • the Camino is happening from here to here.

  • And, walking the Camino with so many other international

  • representatives of the world gives me a great deal of hope.

  • And I find myself marveling at

  • the beauty of the common spirit.

  • I'm not exactly sure why I'm doing the Camino de Santiago.

  • Really, the main reason is just for the adventure.

  • So, I'm not sure if I really believe

  • in the transformative aspect of it.

  • On the first day, I took the Napoleon Route,

  • a notoriously difficult, 25-kilometer climb over the Pyrenees.

  • It is pretty tiring. It's straight uphill the whole way.

  • If it anyone tells you the Camino de Santiago is easy, it is not.

  • It's quite a view up here though.

  • And it wasn't long before my fears

  • of being lonely disappeared.

  • These guys are hiking with me. This is

  • Katie, Mosta, and Grant & Ashley.

  • And, we are halfway to Pamplona!

  • But, by day three, I realized that, maybe, sitting in an office

  • for six months wasn't the best way to train for this trip.

  • It's a beautiful morning here.

  • This is supposed to be the easiest day so far, so,

  • that should help because

  • I have horrible blisters on the bottom of my feet.

  • I'm on the way to Pamplona, and I have three blisters

  • that are like pressure blisters on the bottom of my feet

  • and they hurt like a-- like crazy. Ugh.

  • Why am I doing this?

  • I mean, if it's this painful the whole time,

  • there's going to be some serious questions that need to be asked about

  • whether I really need to go the full 35 days.

  • But, wow, my feet hurt right now.

  • But, I was almost to Pamplona, so I kept going.

  • So, I'm here with Ky, a friend of mine from Germany.

  • We're hiking here through the city of Pamplona.

  • The strange thing about this is that we've been hiking

  • across the Spanish countryside, now, for days,

  • and, suddenly, we've just walked right into a huge city.

  • And there's music everywhere,

  • and it's pretty jolting and strange.

  • But, my feet hurt like crazy.

  • But I was happy I made there.

  • We've been having a picnic in the Pamplona park here

  • with some tasty...

  • (Ashley) ...morsels!

  • (Hank) Grant, how excited are you about this sandwich?!

  • Grant: Aw, yeah!

  • (Hank) Ashley, are you excited for this sandwich?

  • Ashley: Oh, yeah!

  • (Hank) Katie, how is it?

  • Katie: Number one sandwich.

  • So, I'm here in a restaurant here in Pamplona,

  • and, as you can see, we've finished

  • one, two, three, four, five, six

  • pitchers of Sangria!

  • (Hank) Katie, how are you feeling right now?

  • Amazing!

  • Uh, yeah. We've been drinking sangria all afternoon and

  • suddenly we have more energy than we've ever had on the Camino.

  • We're ready to do a whole other stage this afternoon.

  • (Hank) Ky, what do you think of the--

  • what do you think of the sangria?

  • It's pretty good.

  • But, in the morning, my blisters were so painful,

  • I could barely walk.

  • There was no way I could keep up with

  • Katie, Ky, Mosta, Grant & Ashley,

  • and they quickly left me behind.

  • It's the morning of day four, and things are

  • not looking good for me right now.

  • My blisters on my feet hurt so much.

  • I'm not sure I can hike today.

  • I'm going to start trying to hike and see how far I can get.

  • One of the things that's really interesting about the Camino

  • is the transitory nature of the relationships you have with

  • the people that you meet on the trail.

  • You're hiking and everyone hikes at different speeds

  • so you might meet someone on the trail

  • and you really like them; they seem great. But,

  • turns out they're hiking a lot faster than you,

  • and, suddenly, you talk to them for 10 minutes, and then

  • you walk away ahead of them, and you realize you may

  • never see them again for the rest of your life.

  • But, I kept going.

  • My feet hurt so much that I was walking at a quarter

  • of my normal speed, but at least I made it to the next town.

  • I've only walked half the day today from Pamplona,

  • but my feet just can't take it anymore; the blisters are so bad.

  • So, I'm going to stay here overnight and see how that goes.

  • I'm really pissed off and disappointed.

  • But my foot pain turned out to be a

  • blessing in disguise that day.

  • Stuck in town, I met up with Amalie.

  • I was really angry yesterday because

  • my blisters were hurting like crazy

  • and I only walked half the day.

  • But, I put threads and needles in my blisters yesterday:

  • tried to drain them out.

  • So, today I'm here with Amalie.

  • Amalie: Hi!

  • Hank: Who you can see right there.

  • And we're going to try to hike and see if my feet work.

  • Amalie and I walked together through rolling hills,

  • blanketed with thousands of green stalks of wheat,

  • shivering in the breeze.

  • When she told me that she was a medical student

  • walking the Camino to decide on her specialty

  • and to find an American's Netflix password to steal,

  • our shared sense of humor made us best friends

  • almost immediately.

  • (Hank) What are you eating?

  • Oh, you're video taping this?

  • (Hank) Mm hm.

  • I'm eating a snack pepper. That is some thing.

  • That's a thing.

  • (Hank) How long-- how many days have you been

  • carrying that in your pack?

  • I'd rather not tell.

  • But, with every step, my blisters only got worse.

  • Things have gotten pretty desperate here on the Camino.

  • We're taking these pads,

  • which are usually used for something else,

  • and we're trying to put them in our shoes

  • to make the blisters go away by reducing moisture.

  • I have no idea if this is going to work,

  • but, anything that could work, we're trying.

  • I'm here with Amalie.

  • I'm at the Centro de Salud which is the

  • health center here.

  • My blisters have gotten so bad on my feet that

  • I am ready to cut off my feet but instead of

  • cutting off my feet, I thought I would try

  • going to the Spanish doctor and see what

  • they want to do, especially because I want to make sure

  • it's not infected.

  • I have two nurses fixing my feet.

  • So, hopefully, I will be able to walk again soon.

  • But, boy, it hurts.

  • While the nurses worked to bandage and clean my feet,

  • the doctor was clear with me about one thing:

  • I had to stop walking for three days.

  • It's a pretty sad day on the Camino.

  • Amalie couldn't stop her Camino just because

  • my feet were hurting, so she had to hike out this morning.

  • And, so, I had to have a sad moment where

  • we said goodbye, and I may never see her again.

  • I meet people traveling all the time, but

  • there is something special about Amalie

  • that I can't quite quantify.

  • There's something pure about her spirit,

  • and inspiring about her that made me want to stay with her.

  • So, it's really hard to have to say goodbye to her.

  • Even though we only hiked together for three days,

  • it feels like we're already very good friends, and,

  • the idea of never seeing her again seems terrible.

  • It's very hard to let go of that feeling

  • of not wanting to let people go,

  • not wanting to let people get away.

  • I always have the sense of wanting to say,

  • "Well, if I never see you again for the rest of your life,

  • it was great meeting you!"

  • in a way that's kind of weird, and

  • you can't really say to someone you just met.

  • But, you want to because

  • you want to just appreciate the people in the moment.

  • The Camino really forces you to appreciate that moment

  • because that moment's fleeting.

  • In just a minute,

  • the person you're talking to will be gone,

  • and you may never see them again.

  • And, so, you just have to relish

  • that moment that you have.

  • (Gardur) This is the third Camino in three years.

  • I'm doing 1,800 kilometers

  • and that's because of my fiancé.

  • I did the Camino in 2007,

  • and, after one or two days, I met her.

  • I just saw her neck!

  • I fell in love with her neck!

  • I approached her, and

  • we walked the Camino together.

  • And then there was no contact in eight years.

  • And then we both decided to do the Camino.

  • Separately. So she contacted me on Facebook.

  • So, we said, "Let's see if the

  • feelings are still there."

  • And they are.

  • After letting my blisters heal for two days in Estella,

  • I started walking the Camino again by myself.

  • Well, it's a different kind of day on the Camino today.

  • I'm the only person I've seen hiking the Camino

  • the whole day.

  • And, I'm in tens of miles of wheat fields

  • that just go on forever.

  • And, it's a very different

  • experience, which gives me a lot of time

  • to kind of think to myself and relax.

  • I spoke to a man from Iceland, and

  • he has walked the Camino every year, I think,

  • for the past eight years.

  • And he says that every time he does the Camino,

  • he gets closer to his true self.

  • Hiking today through these miles and miles

  • of wheat fields by myself,

  • I can kind of understand how

  • maybe if you just do this a lot,

  • you become more and more at peace with

  • who you are, and you really get to understand

  • what you're thinking and feeling

  • and how that affects you.

  • This is one of the prettiest parts of the Camino so far.

  • I'm the only one out here today,

  • because I left very late because of my feet.

  • So, it's a little bit lonely, but it's just gorgeous.

  • It's been an extremely long day, but

  • I'm at Logroño, which means: 100 miles!

  • I've hiked 100 miles across Spain,

  • which means I only have about 450 miles to go.

  • My feet hurt like crazy, but

  • I'm glad to have made it.

  • So, I've made a decision.

  • After hiking maybe 20 miles today,

  • I'm still having blister problems,