This time last week I had left South African shores and was on route to the UK. Land of my birth and now almost not part of the European Union. It has been a week of chatting, laughing, gently crying, surprises, wheezing, gifts, biscuits and many cups of tea (not a surprise).
50 years ago I showed my face to this part of the blue globe so it was kind of fitting that I was here to witness a democratic referendum. But I wasn’t here for politics, I was here to gently ease into my long walk.
I celebrated my 21st birthday in Glasgow and that too was supposed to be a launch of my gap year travels. But then I chickened out after landing bright eyed at Schiphol airport and saw that the world was very different to what I had imagined. This birthday saw my spread-out family show up unexpectedly, to show that they supported me and my journey (I think!) It was fantastic to see them all and celebrate life together.
Tomorrow I meet my husband (who has been working and missed out on all the festivities) for two days, in France which feels like a pitstop which isn’t really fair on the city. I never thought I would say that Paris would be a sideline but this time, it is. I was searching on ways to get to the hotel and I realised how little attention I gave this section of my trip. It is like the warm up band to the main attraction of the Camino Santiago.
I am both nervous and excited at the prospect ahead. I am quite different to that youthful, falsley confident, 21 year old. This time I know that it is okay to admit my fear. I know that I am no longer as shy as I once was (yes -gasp) and it is okay to ask for help. I am aware of my physical limits but now also am excited to challenge them. I am not scared of strange food but I am still a little afraid of the dark (and the abyss under the bed- blerry Hitchcock). But I now have Google and cellphones and Internet and a credit card plus I have