I have packed so much into this trip. I came with absolutely no expectations but I knew it would be ok, an adventure, because nothing was organized. It filled my daughter with anguish as she is the total opposite to me and is super organized with plans set in concrete before she does anything. All I did this time was book my tickets. I was open to whatever. I suppose it helps that I am used to traveling on my own to foreign countries and I’m no longer a Camino virgin.
I had never wanted to go to Barcelona. I associated that with Gaudi who does nothing to inspire me, but what a time I had there. I will always remember the busy markets where I feasted in the hustle and bustle, the colours, the sights, the smells of the fruit, flowers, chocolate, cheese and chorizo. Barcelona is beautiful. My Barcelona amigos made sure I had a great time and stayed safe. I hope I can repay you.
Porto was awesome and I purposely didn’t spend much time down by the water as I want to keep something new for next time- coming back in September! I walked the central Camino and met some fantastic people. Simon, you made my day when I met you! I hope we meet again sometime.
And then I reached Santiago. I shared my sticks with German Michael as he had shin splints. We hobbled into the square together, hugged, said goodbye, and I never saw him again. Thus is Camino life. You are always saying goodbye to people that you share your inner most thoughts with, your experiences and fabulous meals. It is hard to detach but I’m getting better at it.
It seems that this time, it has not been anything to do with how far I’ve walked but more who I have met. Weirdly, it seems I’ve been a ‘Camino angel’ to so many people and I’m really touched by them. I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant but Ive just been in the right place at the right time so often. I can feel something (a higher power) with me. Those that know my experience on the Frances Camino will know what I mean by that. In fact when I was talking with Gonzalo about it the other day, he just smiled. He KNEW what I was on about and understood. I don’t know how to thank you Gonzalo for your friendship and kindness. Where did you come from? You are too good to be true.
I am now walking the Ingles Camino and I have been blown away with its beauty. It is still really natural and I haven’t yet met another pilgrim. I’m on my own with just my sticks, pack and thoughts. I’ve been reflecting today and I realized as I sat by the river watching the fish, the sparrows and the rowboats on the water, that I am so lucky to be able to have this experience. I KNOW I’m blessed and I do really appreciate it.
I flippantly say to people when they express ‘admiration’ for what I do, that they could do it too. The thing is, not many people have the courage to upturn their lives like I have. I suppose if I really think about it, it is a big thing to do. However, I have now met MANY people who have changed their lives after walking a Camino. It is that powerful that it makes you think about direction, what’s important and what you really want from life. Time passes by so quickly and I’m just making the most of what I have. I’m proof that you can have a simple life but also a full one.
There is always fear behind it-money, security and family. I don’t feel I’m anything special but I am a risk taker and it was relatively easy for me.
My travels in Spain are coming to an end now after this, and on Monday, I’m off to visit my Camino buddy Colleen in France ( if I can get there-lots of train and airport strikes) I have a flight from Madrid to Bordeaux, but I have to work out how to get to Madrid. Enter the handsome taxi driver again who has offered to work it out for me while I’m swanning around the countryside. How lucky am I?!
I keep pinching myself. I have somehow been enveloped in such kindness and generosity. My old self would say ‘you don’t deserve it’ but now I just accept with grace and love for those that make my life so easy and enjoyable. Steve used to say to me that ‘you make your own luck’ – in other words, manifest what you want. I think I’m doing that and I am so very grateful for all those that help to make my life so wonderful.
Just read this back and realized it is the effect of solo walking…. So many thoughts….this is actually my diary and you just happen to be reading it!