For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Camino Blues

I'm missing the simple life of the Camino. What can I do about it? No doubt I should pull myself together, get a grip, and adopt the old Victorian work ethic values once again.

Some statistics... I walked around 1560 km from le Puy in south-central France to Santiago in north-west Spain in 60 days (17 October - 15 December). This works out at an average of 26 km a day and includes 3 rest days. But, for me, the distance covered, in whatever time, is utterly irrelevant. The Camino is not a question of time, distance, speed, mileage, statistics and other such comforting criteria. It's a question of questioning one's life path. It's a matter of friendship. And what lies in the heart.

Come to think of it, I've also spent 60 days blogging about the Camino...

Statistics again... I met pilgrims from 18 different countries along the Way: England, Ireland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Slovenia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Korea. 20 if you include Mallorca and the Basque Country... And this was at one of the quietest times of the year...

Buen Camino

5 comments:

am said...

Lovely photo. Who's that carrying the cross in the stained glass window? It doesn't really look like Jesus to me.

There is a part of me that is always out walking the trails, roads and paths of the fields, deserts, hills, mountains and coasts of my memories and dreams. That part of me keeps traveling whether I do or not. The other part of me has homesick dreams about those places. Camino Blues.

For me, reading about your journey on the Camino has been an extension of your walking closer to your home. Seamless in fact. One continuous journey. Thanks so much for writing about it all.

I wonder if Bob Dylan will be seen walking around, masked and anonymous, up in Scotland.

My ancestors walked in Scotland, England and Ireland, Norway and Germany. Maybe that's why those places look so familiar to me. For that matter, I also had ancestors in France. Now I imagine there must have been some in Spain, too. Now, through me, they walk mostly on the northwestern part of the United States.

chasrle said...

It is addictive. It's interesting the number of people who you meet on the camino who are on their 2nd, 3rd, ... walk. I walked from St.JPdP a couple of years back and still have itchy feet and a hankering for setting off in the twilight to have the sun rise behind me and bathe me in gold. And then roll in to town in the afternoon and gradually see familiar faces from a day or so before...

Teri said...

Oh the blues. So many have written or said they need to snap back to reality. Why? This is our reality. We are different from the rest of the world. We don't have to look at it the same way! The lessons of the Camino need to go with us: Charity, Companionship, Outreach, etc. St. James gave us much to share. :)

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks so much for your comments, am. Travelling through physical, geographical space is wonderful. But we can always travel much further and deeper in our minds and hearts.

My Camino 'recollections' were as important and necessary to me as the experience itself.

I'm so glad the idea of a 'seamless continuity' comes across - 'cos that's what I feel too - the Camino is your whole life not just a 'trip'.

Yes, chasrle, many pilgrims do go back - one hospitalero I met had walked variations of the Camino 12 times! Your description makes me nostalgic...

...and teri, you are right. Why look at the world through the conventional lens - which habit, lack of imagination and the media try to force us all to do? Buen Camino!

Paul Webster said...

After doing our own walk for 11 months, even though we'd manage to retain our jobs, we found we couldn't simply adapt to our old life, nor did we want to. I think this is a common experience after such a journey.

We felt that now was the time to chase your dreams and try to make a new life working at something we can be proud of. Which for us, meant moving to Scotland and starting a new company, a website called Walk Highlands.