Day one of walking is complete. 15 km more or less. I left the albergue yesterday and it felt like it was time. I had felt pretty detached from everything for the day or two before. I had gone out with Mar, the owner, and had fun visiting some favourite places. Irish Dave and the kids came along. I realized that even though I thought I had no expecations before my arrival at the beginning of August, I had wanted to recapture some of the community of last year. There were times when it seemed I was there, but the ease of leaving seemed to indicate otherwise. A wise friend of mine once said to me “The pain is in the expectations, and not in the truth. Most of the pilgrims came with similar issues to resolve, troubled relationships, inner searching, transitions of some sort. They seemed to look to the hospitaleros for guidance but I know from my own travels over the last few years that what is sought can only come from within.
The camino I am walking is called the Via de la Plata and starts in Seville. I am starting about 300 from Santiago as I only have about three weeks and no desire to put in 30+ km days. It is stinking hot. The path went alongside a lake and my naked body was in the water faster than you can say 36 degrees. I got to the albergue by 1:00 and being the first one in managed to score a double bed. My laundry dried in about 5 minutes.
I also discovered that even though I thought I was more in tune with myself and being honest about what I wanted, that this still needs some work. I met another pilgrim at the bus station yesterday and after some chit chat, he asked if he could walk with me. Instead of declining, as I really like the solitude of walking on my own, I reverted to being nice at the expense of what I wanted. Sure, no problem. And my camino lessons continue. Instead of convincing myself why my decision makes sense, I need to follow my gut feeling, that first inclination to say no. No. No thanks. No, I like walking on my own. No, I prefer my aloneness right now. No.
I also discovered that my joy of being in Spain is in large part from this walking. But I can get that anywhere. Next year will be spent exploring walks in BC. The Sunshine Coast Trail. The Juan de Fuca Trail. Day trips. Camping trips on my own. I don’t need to be in Spain to find that joy in the quiet. I have it already. Everywhere.