Items Bought, Calls Made, & Medical Matters

In my first post of 3rd March, I mentioned the Camino items that I hadn’t yet bought,

  • A hotel room in Saint Jean Pied de Port for the 9th April (I intend to stay in an albergue on the 10th before leaving SJPdP on the 11th)
  • Walking sticks or staff. I so want to buy a staff like Gandalf’s but I imagine I will have to ‘make do’ with sticks.
  • Sandals
  • Toiletries
  • Adaptor
  • Sewing Kit
  • Travel Insurance
  • Waterproof trousers (Possibly. I might stick with what I have got)

Today, I am very happy to be able to say that with just two exceptions (although see below), all these things have now been bought and are ready to pack (incl. waterproof trousers).

The two outstanding items are toiletries, which I will either leave until the last minute or buy in Saint Jean, and travel insurance.

I’ll come back to travel insurance in a moment, but first, a money update.

I have had a quick look at my earlier Camino posts and it looks like I didn’t share as much as I thought I had about this important topic, so I will here. Please excuse me if I am accidentally repeating myself.

I am paying for my Camino out of my savings. I initially took £2,500 out*: £1,050 for the Camino journey itself, the rest for everything else. E.G. all equipment, the flight out and back, the hotel in Saint Jean and Santiago, and any other bills that might crop up along the way.

In regards equipment, when I first visited Cotswold Outdoor I had no idea how much buying it would cost – backpack, clothes, trekking poles etc; the figure of £500 swirled around in my head but it had no basis in reality.

Indeed it didn’t because having now bought everything that I need, except the two items mentioned above, I have £1,112 left of my £2,500. I have spent, therefore, £1,388. (BTW: If you are reading this in Britain and are thinking of doing the Camino, join the Confraternity of St. James: I saved about £300 thanks to the membership discount).

Now, if I had truly bought everything I needed to get me started on the Camino on 11th April, I might have been tempted to leave the £1,112 alone. However, I know that when I arrive in Biarritz I will have to pay for a transport to Saint Jean. And I haven’t yet bought my hotel room in Santiago or my flight home.

So, today, I called my bank up to ask for a further £700 to be released into my Camino account. It was no problem – I called, the call centre man listened, asked me the relevant security questions then completed the disbursal process: the money will arrive next week.

The thing is, though, I hate using the phone. I don’t know why, I just do. As a result, even though I have known for the last week or two that I would have to make this call, I have kept putting it off until now. I feel very stupid for being so apprehensive but there it is. I wish it was otherwise. When I ended the call today, I was so thrilled I got hope and did a few fist pumps! I really did feel like I had conquered the world. How silly, but it’s true.

* Not literally. I created a new ‘Camino’ account with my bank for the sole use of Camino related expenses. I didn’t want to put the money in my regular account in case I ended up accidentally spending it on books or iTunes

Travel Insurance
At the start of this week, I logged on to the Compare the Market website to find a travel insurance policy. A backpacker deal by a company called Cover for You seemed to fit the bill so this morning I started filling out their online application form.

The medical section asks you to tell them if, amongst other things, in the last two years you have been to see your doctor for an unresolved condition.

I have, and the condition does remain unresolved. It isn’t a serious one – I am not receiving any kind of treatment for it – but as it is there, I thought I better mention it on the form.

However, the website also asks you to tell them what exactly it is. The problem is, I don’t know. When I went to see the Doc. I didn’t ask, and he didn’t tell me. As it approximates to a muscle strain in my right leg, though, I initially wrote that. But then I thought, I better find out if that is enough. So, I called Cover for You up to ask.

It’s just as well that I did because they recommended I find out from my doctor what specifically he wrote down (if anything). This, I was told, will make things a lot easier if I have to make a claim.

So, I toddled along to my surgery to ask for my medical record. Receiving it is not the thing of a moment. I had to fill out a form and will now have to wait a week until they are ready to pass me the information. Once they do, I will go back to Cover for You’s website and complete the application form. Once it is done and ‘sent’ has been clicked, I will have completed the last necessary action before leaving for France!

I am very happy that I didn’t leave sorting out the travel insurance any later than I did. I do regret, though, not dealing with it first. I leave the U.K. in just 18 days. I would have preferred at this stage not to be waiting on any forms.

There we are, then; today has been a day of little achievements that mean a lot to me. Just 18 days to go!

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