February 18, 2015
Last month I was traveling in Indonesia, more accurately on the Gili Islands and Bali, visiting my son Tanner and his girlfriend Hanna from Sweden. Traveling halfway around the world to meet Hanna and to see my son over a year after he left the states again, I had nearly two full days of travel to think about how blithely we hop on a plane to go across much of the earth, arriving on the other side, dusting off our hands and stepping into a completely different culture.
My children are travelers, much sooner than I ever was, but I have made up for some of my late blooming over the years. Didn’t have a passport until I was 46 years old, but I’ve managed to explore 25 countries in the past 20 years. I looked at my “test”, mourning the 175 countries on that particular list whose paths I have not crossed. And frankly, as I scan over them again, many aren’t countries I have any desire to visit. I want to have time for some “repeats”. Twice to Australia isn’t enough. Four times to France . . . not enough. A dozen time to Italy? Not nearly enough for me. One special journey in 2013 is about to be repeated again. My pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago.
On September 1, 2013, I began in St. Jean Pied-de-Port, walked over the Pyrenees and into Spain, the beginning of a forty-three day walk to Santiago de Compostela. A month ago, while I was in Bali, I reserved a one-way ticket, again through Reykjavik, Iceland to Paris. August 27 is my departure date from Denver, and once I arrive in Paris, I will take trains and perhaps buses to get to the start of my next Camino. My debate is whether to take the Norte route this time or go with the Frances again. I lean toward the Norte, a new route for me, on the northern Spanish coast. The water will be spectacular, though the Camino del Norte itself is said to be less well supported, less well marked, with more of the path on pavement.
But this time I am a seasoned pilgrim, in some ways. No great worries about what I will bring, about what happens if it is “too hard”, no real worries at all. I will begin in the way that it took two weeks to learn on my first Camino . . . one step at a time is the only way to go. Be careful, pay attention, use my hiking poles, and tilt my head to the sun each day. Revel in this solitude path. Follow the yellow arrows and scallop shells and my heart. “The Way” reveals itself.
I. Can’t. Wait.
More later. Thanks for following.