Over the last few days, whilst I have been walking on my own as Colleen takes longer strides than me, I have fallen into a pattern of thinking.
Each day, I wonder what drives a person to do these long walks, why me of all people, because I don’t really enjoy walking. I love the commeraderie of the albergue occupants, the fellow walkers who all have a common goal. I love the immediate and sometimes intense friendships that are made and love to mingle with so many nationalities. Everyone has a story worth sharing, worth listening to and worth learning from.
I have met some interesting characters over the past few weeks. Notably, the Bordeaux guys who entertained us all the was to Salamanca; Ana and Staf, the Belgians, who we walked on and off with; and most recently,Brendan the Scottish Aussie who kept us crying with laughter at his yarns.
I think Brendan is the one that has affected me the most. He walks the Camino raising money for breast cancer as his wife of 37 years died a year or so ago and he is a broken man. He seems so lost without her and his emotions are never far from the surface. To most, he is just the funny Scottish guy, but he is just as vulnerable as any of us.
I look at all these people I’ve met and see that we are walking for so many different reasons- grief, depression, religion, health, fitness. Whatever it is that drives us to such extremes as walking over these long distances, we are all the same underneath. We have basic needs. We are all equal and it doesn’t matter what you do for a living. No one actually cares about that and it is a question that is very rarely asked. There are no rules to these walks, yet we herd ourselves together and form a flock whenever we can, eager to get to know each other, even though we might never see each other again. Why?
So many thoughts, songs and poems flit through your head when you walk long distance. It’s fascinating to watch each day as I put one foot in front of the other on my path to Santiago. My purpose this time, as you know, is to carry people’s worries and hopes with me, and to raise money for those that can’t walk. I deeply appreciate your donations and I am honoured to help. I am also humbled by everyone’s encouragement. It means a great deal and it really bouys me along.
Whilst walking today, we observed the different types of arrows and discussed how good it would be if we could all have arrows to show us the way through life .. To point us in the right direction and have crosses to show you that you’ve gone the wrong way.
For those whose worries and wishes I carry, I am honoured to do so. I hope it helps in some way. We all need hope and love in our lives. My thoughts go particularly to Jess who is fighting so hard right now. Keep it up sweetie pie💜