I did get out this morning, but it was hard. The weather was too lovely to resist – it was perfect “drive-the-Fiat-convertible- top-down” weather but I resisted driving and walked instead. I couldn’t fall asleep last night so I overslept, was tired, and ran behind schedule so driving would have been soooo lovely and convenient. But I walked. And it was hard.
Today was a busy Wednesday. I have a German class every Wednesday at lunch time. But I have had trouble getting there on time since I determined Wednesday would be my “walk to Patch” day. Walking on German class day means I have to leave the house extra early in order to arrive on time and, well, I just don’t seem to be able to do it.
Today I had lunch with a woman who is planning to walk the Camino with a friend this coming July a few days after I plan to be back home. Her girlfriend is the driving force behind their Camino. She herself is just returning from a trip to Barcelona! Plus, she is a very experienced traveller/walker, so I doubt she will have any trouble.
Her boyfriend is concerned about her safety. I told her that, on the on-line Forum, she will find answers to questions about the safety of women traveling solo (safe enough) but I don’t recall questions about safety of women who are traveling in groups. It doesn’t seem to be a concern. She mentioned the sleeping arrangements and I never thought of them as threatening – up to a hundred people of all ages sleeping in bunk beds in the same room.
I feel more threatened about body odor and snorers.
And I didn’t mention bedbugs. I don’t want to think about them, why get someone else all riled up.
She asked good questions about how to get the biggest “bang for the buck” when walking, since they have a limited time for their walk. They want to get a Campostella, the certificate issued at the Cathedral in Santiago de Campostella signifying that you walked at least the last 100 kilometers, yet they also want to hit the important cathedrals in northern Spain. They are also considering walking in the Pyrenees because it will be a much cooler walk (temperature-wise) during July. However, the Pyrenees part of the walk is 800 kilometers from the Cathedral in Santiago.
She asked me several questions about spirituality and what role spirituality played/ is playing/ will play in my Camino. Difficult, difficult questions. One writer whose Camino book I’ve read, Kevin Codd’s To the Field of Stars, mentions how the writer got into the rhythm of starting each day of his walk saying the rosary. I’ve started that and found it useful. It let’s my mind focus on things, people, other than my self (my feet, my back, my thirst).
At this point, however, I’ve been able to brush aside the big spiritual questions as I prepare the practical, technical items I’ll need – passport (check), sunblock (check). I seem to be avoiding working on the most difficult aspect of the Camino:
What, if anything, do I hope to get out of this? Why am I doing this?
The obvious answer is that you can’t prepare in advance for this. The Camino will provide what you need. Some pilgrims don’t seem to get anything out of it and are disappointed. I hope that will not be me. One pilgrim suggests that you can’t find God at the end of the Camino if you don’t bring him with you from the beginning.
Great. More stuff I have to bring.