Notes for a New Day will recount some rather older days during the next few months – journal entries from my pilgrimage on Spain’s camino in 2013.
Emptiness. That is the feeling – or the outcome maybe – that best describes my experience on the camino. Thoughts come, judgments, fears – but they all seem like things to let go of, to empty myself of. There is a basic simplicity to each day. Perhaps as close as I’ll come to living like our ancestors. Each day has one purpose – walking to Santiago. Food and water are usually rather spare for most of the day, and when I do drink water or eat an orange I can almost immediately feel it going to work in my body. After walking comes rest, then dinner, then sleep. Simple.
The biggest disappointment for me is the lack of deeper conversations with other pilgrims. Each day you meet new people and have many of the same superficial conversations. I think maybe people are just too tired – or too empty.
And my hope is that this emptiness will be filled by good things. Love, acceptance, joy, fearlessness, optimism…
The camino changed in Sarria. Those walking just the final 100 km have now joined us, and it does feel crowded and a bit competitive. But I’m trying to let go of those judgments…how wonderful that so many people are getting a taste of the camino! Perhaps they will come again and begin further back, spending more time as peregrinos.
Today was a 23 km day, walking from 8 am to 2:30 pm. We are staying in a really wonderful albergue run by a South African couple. They tell us that some parts of the building are 1,000 years old. The bunk room itself looks at least 500 years old. We stopped in a little restaurant that had only been open for 15 days, run by a Filipino-Spaniard and her husband (from Malta I believe), and their beautiful little daughter, Mereia. It was a really good day, despite all those niggling resentments towards the new pilgrims on the road.