The final days leading into Santiago de Compostela were filled with excitement, until the last night when it registered that our quirky group would be parting ways soon. For the first time I also imagined I would miss walking every day. Given the amount of pain our feet have been in this is a little astounding, but I know the daily lounging sessions wouldn’t have been nearly as satisfying without having worked for them first.
Something I will miss immensely is the simplicity of walking the Camino. Our biggest decisions amount to “Where shall we eat dinner?” or “How far do you want to walk tomorrow?” For me there has been little energy spent on larger questions, and yet I can feel larger answers coming to me in the form of feelings and instincts.
I will also miss the community we have found on the Camino. It is amazing that within two days of meeting someone it can feel like I’ve known them for years, and I can trust them completely. This community experience isn’t entirely new to me, though creating this type of community without intention or facilitation is new to me. It just happened organically.
A lesson I have learned over and over again, and will continue to learn in different forms for the rest of my life I am sure, is the reminder to appreciate what is, right now. This is something I think about on a regular basis, and it is a challenging lesson to apply all the time. Walking every day and dealing with pains, discomforts and challenges is a condensed and simplified version of this lesson. Instead of catching myself thinking, “If I only owned a home, I would feel…” I catch myself thinking, “If I can just get through these 10km, I can stop hurting…” Sure, there are times when there was no avoiding that attitude toward walking. And there were other times when I could make a small change and find myself enjoying the process of walking a lot more.
Something else I have been mulling over while I walk is the idea of following a curiosity rather than a passion. After listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic” I was struck by this idea of hers. Upon reflecting on my own life I found that when I have tried to follow a singular passion I have felt pinned down and gotten burned out quickly. When I have followed a curiosity, it has regularly led me to something much bigger and much more alive. This idea is hugely relieving, because it makes it OK that I am interested in a lot of things. It makes it OK to delve into a tiny curiosity and relish learning about something I find really interesting, even if it doesn’t relate to what my passion is supposed to be. Who knows where a curiosity might lead? Elizabeth Gilbert decided to make herself a flower garden on a whim, and it lead to the creation of an amazing novel about botany. I signed up for a marimba class because I thought it looked fun, and it lead me to become a band manager. Will took a free programming class because it sounded vaguely interesting, and it has lead to a career pursuit.
Following curiosity is what got me to the Camino de Santiago. While I am not sure just yet what will come out of that, I know it is an adventure I will be reflecting on for the rest of my life.
And now Will and I are on to the coast, another 90km from Santiago!
Portomarin –> Palas de Rei – 25km
Palas de Rei –> Ribidiso – 26km
Ribidiso –> O’Pedrouzo – 23km
O’Pedrouzo –> Santiago de Compostela – 20km