The Camino de Santiago is for walking. That is what you do. Everyday. You walk.
Up hills and mountains. Across valleys and rivers. On pavement, dirt, gravel, sand, rocks, cobblestone, and mud. Next to highways, through the narrow streets of old world walled pueblos, by rivers and canals, across open fields, past olive trees and vineyards, figs and sunflowers. Sometimes in the sunshine, and sometimes in the rain. And always you walk on.
There are deep thoughts to ponder, and the sound of your own footsteps to keep you company. You walk with other pilgrims, and you walk by yourself. There are changing landscapes and unexpected surprises. There are days full of beauty and joy, and days full of crabbiness. And always there is the walking.
You walk farther than you ever dreamed you could walk, and then you walk on beyond that. You get lost and you get found. You follow the markers, you worry when you haven’t seen one for a while, and you delight when you catch sight of a shell once again (or even a simple yellow arrow). And always there is more walking.
You listen to languages you have never heard before, and you recognize words you didn’t think you knew. There are greetings of “Hola!” and “Buen Camino!”, and the sense of connection when such greetings are shared. And still you walk on. Day after day, step after step, breath after breath. Always there are more steps.
It is the experience of a lifetime, and a lifetime of experiences. Time slows down and life expands. And still you walk on.
Perhaps I have slowed down enough to find myself. Perhaps I’ve slowed down enough to become myself. And so I walk on.
Buen Camino! Muy buen Camino!