Our little blue planet is almost finished it’s trip around the sun. As humans we like to get excited about the birth of a new year as if it holds some magic elixir that we are going to become fitter, healthier, wealthier overnight. Yet the energy and excitement of the new year does create a certain kind of magic. But I like to rewind the year and for me, this year has really been a year of travel.
I traveled in a motorcycle side car on a lovely trip out in the country. A steam train adventure from a city to a small arty town, made us dirty and satisfied. I took my sister on the national train to visit my dad in Port Elizabeth. We flew back and took a series of car trips to different races as well as some rather sad trips to visit my husband’s ailing parents. Some more flights and then I journeyed to the UK and Paris to celebrate my half a century of solar revolutions. The trip of my life had begun.
I trained on a super fast machine down to the very bottom of France to begin a 800km journey across Spain on foot. Up and down the Pyrenees, past beautiful views, quaint villages on foot then I jumped on a taxi, bus and train all the while marvelling at life in Europe.
More trains, buses, and planes shuttles eventually spat me out back on my red patch of earth. It was great to be able to drive my ‘smartie’ to local shops and everything back home seemed different yet familiar.
I took a tumble on home ground splitting my knee and ego and I sulked while it healed only to ‘trip’ again five weeks later. My rib took the brunt of it as I began to marvel at the human body and to the extent that I have pushed it this past year. I became aware that more self gratitude is needed. To be grateful for my health, my support team, my family, my life is really quite easy. I want to do more of this.
Thank you-me, and oh- happy New Year
It seems surreal I am sitting across on a couch in my hostel with the Tour de France on the Spanish telly. Locals and their dogs are out for a drink at the bar and heat is blaring down while my washing dries in the Spanish sun. I have walked from France (okay, it was the very bottom of France but still) to this tiny dorp which measures roughly 100km in distance from the start.
To sum it all up is the surreal situation. I have gone through physical discomfort and challenges to emotional roller-coaster in a few short days. It may be the same for everyone as we learn to live without our physical comforts (and support) from home. Every day a new town, shower, bed and sleeping mates as Pilgrims from around the world try to find a new routine. Some people are up very early to make headway before the Spanish heat. Some have to be pried from bed and growl at the plastic rustlers in the low light. I am both amazed and sometimes irritated by all of it.
It is said that we face our ‘demons- or dark selves’ on the slow pilgrimage to Santiago. I have already seen glimpses of mine. My first issue was my light sleeping and noise sensitivity. Tested to the maximum by being roused from slumber by snorers. If I get up early for something I am cheery however I don’t take kindly to being woken for nothing. Eventually I had to face the issue and so far I have booked a private room and when that option isn’t available, I took a fellow pilgrim’s antihistamine. Both worked a treat and I had two full nights sleep. I am slowly understanding that it is okay to have an opinion or not and that it is important to get the best bed available. I have learned a new kind of selfishness that isn’t really selfish but it is very unusual for me to put myself first in very basic ways. (It might not seem like it if you talk to my husband though. ?)
I am living, learning and loving it. All of it.