Epic road trip in Spain

2600 KILOMETERS. 9 days. 2 Almost Strangers. 1 little car.

I’m excited to finally be able to share this unforgettable road trip across nearly the entire north-northwestern coast of Spain. This video, “La Ruta de La Costa” (“The Route of the Coast”) contains the highlights of a trip full of breathtaking sights and spontaneous detours.

Road trip

Beginning in the province of Navarre in the city of Pamplona, we rode northwest passing through the provinces of Guipuzcoa, Cantabria, and the gorgeous coastal towns of Asturias, before continuing into Galicia, tracing the coast west then south, all the way down to Finisterre, then cutting back east to the interior to go to Santiago de Compostela.

From there we turned southwest back to the coast and continued all the way down to the town of A Praia, which is separated from Portugal by a narrow channel at the Portuguese border. Then, in just two days, we crossed the entire distance back east through the interior of Spain, along the traditional route of the Camino de Santiago, completing a giant loop upon arrival at Pamplona.

Crossing all these different provinces in such a short amount of time — we never slept in the same town twice — was an experience in itself. Along the way, I saw a variety of landscapes and cultural sites that genuinely surprised me — and crossing from one province to another felt at times like entering another country.

Traveling across the Spanish countryside has been a dream of mine ever since I saw the movie The Way. This movie has inspired thousands of travelers of all ages to travel to northern Spain to attempt the famous Camino de Santiago.

My plan was simple: Make no plans or bookings whatsoever and see what happens. I hoped to make local friends and let them show me around. I’d never done that before — last year, I had planned for months before embarking on my 80-day “mini-retirement.”

My no-plan worked beautifully: I ended up getting an invitation from Julia, whom I met in Navarra, to join her on a road trip she’d been planning. There would be dramatic mountain ranges, quaint coastal towns, loads of dramatic cliffs by the sea, and sun-drenched beaches. Needless to say, claro que sí, I joined her.

road trip

Photo: Author

With Julia at the wheel of her trusty VW Polo, I was treated to as unique a travel experience as I could have hoped to get. I just had to sit back (for hours… and hours… and hours…) and enjoy the scenery.

Now you can join us, minus the butt-numbing hassle of sitting in a car for most of the day for nine days straight.

GEAR NOTES:

I shot with a lightweight, relatively minimalist setup this entire trip. My entire shooting kit consisted of:

Any questions about the above? Leave a comment.

Differences between Spain and the US

I moved to Spain a year and a half ago from California. At that time, I had taken a couple trips through Europe, but nothing permanent. I had left the United States enough to dull the culture shock of living without greasy spoon diners and IPAs, at least for a month or two. But when I arrived in Madrid with just a rolling suitcase and a backpack, it struck me: Going a couple of months without craft beer is one thing, but living in a foreign country is another thing entirely.

Now, a year and a half later, as I begin to pack my bags to return to California, I can’t believe how much I’ve learned. Not just about Spain, but about my own country, too. If you had asked me what it meant to be American before I moved to Spain, I would’ve have shrugged my shoulders. But living without Cadbury eggs, Cheez-its, and sub sandwiches was like a psychedelic mushroom trip, illuminating the depths of my American soul.

It’s not that one country was better than the other. They were just different.

1

Laundry

2

Coffee

3

Traditional music

4

Dinner

5

Football coach

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Water heater

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Beer

8

Breakfast

9

Burrito

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Coffee at home

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Ham

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Long hair

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Politics

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Shopping

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Saving money

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Shoes

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Skating

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Smoking

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Tortilla

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Art

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Bar