I have a month left before I get home. Today I feel like going to the end, getting on a plane and saying ‘adios’. It’s not that this trip is awful, quite the contrary. It’s just that I miss home. I miss my hubby, dogs, bed, bath, mugs of tea and the familiarity that comes with all of it. Traveling can be tough. I want to experience different things and see different places yet I yearn for the similar.
Being away from home for four weeks breaks through the exciting barrier. Nine years ago I spent 4 months with my sister in Scotland and I went through the same after the first month. Then a shift happens and familiar takes on a new look. I imagine this time will be no different. My rucksack and limited wardrobe feels at the same time both restrictive and comforting.
The slow travel cuts me off from the speed of ‘normal’ life. Walking from town to town gives me a feeling of accomplishment and frustration. It seems to be talking so long to get places as we log around 5km an hour- mountains permitting. I run faster than this yet I know this is not a race. The beauty begins to numb my brain and it becomes a hassle to take out my camera. I sound restless and ungrateful but I know that this is part of my process.
Small things take on a new importance. A chair has never felt so welcomed. Ice in a fizzy coldrink fills me with delight. Bottom bunks become exciting and no bunks feel like a huge gift. A bath tub is like a four leaved clover and a hair dryer has become a new sense of excitement. I have been asked if my experiences are anything like I expected. I can honestly say ‘no’. However I am not sure what I expected. In a way I expected it to be more spiritual but so far it is not. The methodical rhythm of walking has not really led me to any spiritual answers. It has not made me fall on bended knee at the endless supply of quaint churches and tears have not yet spilled from the dark abyss of grief which I know is locked down somewhere inside.
I have felt light and delight at the beauty of the Heidi houses, the valleys and fields. I have wondered about the young people living in tiny towns that seem so quiet and deserted. I have been fascinated by the siesta way of life. I am impressed by the peace in the people that look impatient and prove me wrong. I am thankful that so many people live on the camino route to help so many of us with our journey. I have listened to fellow travelers gush about their journey. I overheard a man lament his soul mate who returned early to South Africa, another who was confused by the feelings he was having for a beautiful pilgrim and yet another who was pondering his purpose. Many of us come to the Camino to heal, yet many of us (ok I) wonder what I am doing here. But on a thankful, rest day, it is easy to get contemplative, with the luxury of rest, so I am not concerned with my erratic thoughts. I am simply writing them down to remember.
Onwards to Leon (tomorrow)
Hi Cathie my dear Maatjie , I absolutely admire you and your courage. You have heart and by you putting pen to paper you have answered all your questions , this pilgrim is unique to everyone, you might not be physically on bended knee but by the sound of it you bending from the inside out. Remember the brain is amazing it absorbs or records every detail, it will reply it at home whatever you have taken in will be displayed at home. A whole new outlook you will have on your return and you will never be the same as when you left. Experience Rich enjoy and thank you for sharing with us your highs and your lows … Love Cerlest