These days you will find me preparing to walk the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) in Northern Spain, known as The Way, with preparations starting over a year ago in many different ways. First was the decision to go. Why do this? My cousins, Chris and Pat who walked the full 500 miles three years ago, invited us. My sister, Di was very excited expressing it was a long time dream of hers to do this walk. She very much wants me to walk as well. These have been my reasons for some time, because I am invited.
Buying the airline ticket brought me to another realization. It was a quick decision lacking in consultation with Chris and Pat, as they were unable to be reached. The ticket prices to Madrid dropped drastically and seats were slipping away. While agonizing over buying the ticket and pressing the accept button, I realized I really did want to go, not to be left out, not to miss something important as well as welcoming the challenge with a desire to shake things up with an adventure. Many decisions made each day are routine based on the day before. They are habits of convenience.
As the days, weeks, and months progressed concerns for the trip started to become clearer. The concern of 500 miles, the full distance on the French Way starting in St. Jean Pied de Port in France did not feel realistic from a time perspective and my fear of doing too much. Fortunately, the cousins decided this trip would be Leon to Santiago, a distance of 150 miles. That, I felt I could do. We shall see…
The next concern was bed bugs, the dreaded bed bugs. Considerable reading and preparing my gear to avoid them is the best I can do. This is another part of letting go and trusting, Prepare and then walk.
There have been countless hours devoted to reading, researching, trying on equipment and making decisions based on what I think I need to be comfortable and complete the journey. It has been important for me to embrace caring for myself, knowing my limitations, my personal health issues and concerns and allow room for my uniqueness on the journey. If the journey on a given day feels too arduous it is within me to call a taxi. The destination is not something outside of me but inside my heart where what we call God, love, Great Spirit, resides. Moving along The Way with other pilgrims is the metaphor for the journey within.
My current challenge is getting my gear down to a reasonable weight. That is the challenge and final decisions have not been made. There is also the concern of too much heat during the day as I overheat easily and then being too cold at night and being uncomfortable. I have to remind myself that while I am walking 150 miles we will not be in the wilderness. Decisions and purchases can be made. So here is the truth, what I really face is my life long desire to know as much about the future as one can so I feel more in control. I am not now nor never have been in control but I tell myself I can influence the outcome and joy of the trip by anticipating some known factors. What do I let go of? What do I leave behind?
Do I feel fear? No. Not now. Do I feel excitement? No. I am already on the Way so it is not something I am anticipating starting when I get to Madrid. I feel curious, I feel challenged, and getting out the door is always a place of relief for me when I begin any travel. I feel a desire to bring as much consciousness to this journey as I am able and to stay in the present moment, which is always and truly a connected place to reside.
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