Day 22: I walked like mad today. Anger is a catalyst for change. At least for me and it has been that way my entire life. Probably why I am prone to it. If I am going to walk 2 more weeks, I need to enjoy my time and change my mindset. Sure my body hurts and my feet pretty much hate me. I don’t have anything wrong that keeps me from walking. So that is what I did today. Mad at the world, sick of playing victim so I walked with purpose. Guess what? I caught up to Eric and Ramon even though they started 3 miles ahead at the same time. I had no idea I would see them and I sent them a text saying turn around. It was a beautiful reunion. We met Philipp for lunch and the bond is amazing. Ended up we all stayed together in the same place. Wolfpack is back, at least for today. Ramon is injured from doing such a long distance yesterday. A bothered knee and a fever. He got the job done though and made it. Today after arriving, I forced myself to shower and socialize. Something I have struggled to do because I mostly want to lay in bed and rest. So glad I did. I met 2 lovely Canadian ladies Susan and Ashley- Aunt/ Niece. We got deep into conversations about life, if the world was getting better/worse, the Camino experience and so much more. Everyone joined in at dinner with great insights. Eric is always full of the best. He talked about a metaphor of life being an onion and how these layers are put onto you but his journey has been about finding the core. Today was the first day I truly enjoyed the experience. I am determined to appreciate my time here and today I was on a mission and accomplished that. I think it is true, life is a Camino. I am here to embrace that philosophy.
Time: 6 hours
Money spent: 30 euro
Day 23: Today I started out thinking I would do a short distance. As I went I thought about things. The symbolic location called Cruz de Ferro where you throw a stone to represent life’s burdens being cast aside. It was a short distance from where I planned to stop. As I walked, I felt it was perfect that 6 years to the date of Sean’s suicide that I go to this place. I told Matty of my plan and he said I should go and that even with the chance of bad weather, that maybe I was meant to struggle. So I communicated this to the wolfpack and I walked on. Even had to change shoes due to the mud and snow. Matty also informed me of his support and that he would let me be but if I should need anything, he would be available. He then told me that he understood that today was my day with Sean. The tears flooded and I walked alone and listened to my playlist of music that reminds me of Sean. When I arrived, I went and sat on the hill of rocks and cried and cried and cried. I cried for myself, for those that I was carrying burdens for, and for the burdens left there from others. Philipp arrived after me and he spent his time then he put his hand on my shoulder in comfort. I pulled him in for an embrace and we sat there crying for awhile. He then asked if I wanted to stay and I did. I had not even thrown my rocks. I had family send me rocks to represent these burdens. Ramon came and hugged me and kissed my head multiple times. I continued sitting there just crying. Eventually after about 20 mins I pulled out the rocks. I examined them and thought about the meanings and relevance. When ready, I started throwing them one by one. I saw Eric off to the side just taking it all in. I finally was down to 2 rocks when I stood up and placed them at the top. These 2 rocks represented strength and deserved the highest point. I then proceeded down the hill of rocks to where Philipp and Ramon were located and we embraced thanking each other for the love, support, and company during the journey. We all took a turn playing a song that meant so much. My song was, I’ll think of You- by We are Messangers. Eric took his turn on the hill and made his way to us. As he approached, I said it is time for a group hug and we all went to him, embraced and cried some more. It was very emotional for all of us in many ways and for different reasons. We left our make and headed off. Shortly after we left, it started to rain and sleet. There was a dog and after the story of the people being bit, I told Ramon to get his stick. He attempted to yell off the dog but it continued to follow. I was freaking out so he called the dog over. It wagged it’s tell and started to cry. I think it too was not enjoying the storm. After about a mile, we came across a shack. We went in for a break from the rain. We were invited in to a place with no electricity or running water. We were offered tea/coffee and cookies. We sat in by the fire and warmed ourselves. One of the guys were Brazilian so Ramon and him had great conversation, or it seemed that way. With water leaking through the roof onto the floor next to me, I couldn’t help but feel blessed. Here these guys had opened the home and taken us in to get out of the cold and rain. Even without speaking the language, the time was magical. We eventually bundled up and headed off in the rain, cold, sleet, snow, and walked. Knowing we had a couple hours of walking left, we embraced ourselves with the reality of the journey. After walking in the horrible weather for 1 1/2 hours, I rounded the road and saw the most beautiful blue skies ahead. It was hope and my face lit up. I stood there in the rain, cold, shaking and tears welled up in my eyes yet again. It was a great view and a symbolic meaning to the day that there was light and hope in the hardest moments. The bad things were left behind and there were blue skies and sunshine ahead. Although we were all walking our own pace, we joined in that moment and finished the walk to the village together. We found a beautiful hostel and topped the evening of with a steak and shrimp meal. The day could not have been more perfect and energizing. So many people reached out to me today. I am truly alive and feel the love and support during this journey. I hope that today you too have a chance to celebrate life. It is due to Sean’s death that April 13th I chose to celebrate life. I am thankful for the opportunity of this journey and the way to self discovery. My heart is full and if you are reading this, know you are loved by me. XO
Time: 8+ hours
Money spent: 37 euro
Day 24: Today was a standard day. We walked, and walked, and walked or so it felt…. The morning views started out beautiful because we went down the mountain. Since we went so far yesterday, today was a bit hard. My body still hates me. My Achilles loves to give me fits when it gets tired, making it hard to walk. Got the job done though. Philipp and Ramon are with me but Eric went on. Getting closer to the end…..
Money spent: 42
Day 25: Today I woke up with energy to walk. When I got up around 7 Philipp asked me why I was getting going and told me I should lay down and relax a bit more. I think day by day things are looking up. The weather has been great the last few days too which has helped me in enjoying the walks. After one of our stops, we went the wrong way and had to turn back. Ramon and I ended up not seeing Philipp the rest of the day. He is in the next village over from where we stopped for the night. When we first arrived, the alburgue was so cold. I showered and laid under the blankets for a few hours. Even ended up taking a 1 hour nap. When I woke up, I called a friend from school. That really helped boost my mood and subsided the frustrations I am experiencing in my doctorate program. Ramon and I went to dinner with a Dutch couple. The guy reminds me of my Grandpa Beale. Anyway, uneventful day which right now is the best type. I think we are about a week away from the finish line. As you can see from the photo, we have under 200km to go, if we don’t make the wrong turns of course.
PS- due to the snoring I am currently experiencing in the room, I thought I would add that I have learned to embrace ear plugs. They are better than shit sleep due to the snorchestra
Day 26: I conquered the last mountain on this journey today! So the morning started with pancakes with Ramon. First time I have seen this on the Camino. It was a Russian couple who owned the place and the breakfast was perfect for a big day up hill. After this, Ramon went on ahead. I spent the rest of the morning playing leapfrog with some Spanish guys. Eventually, as I walked by them enjoying a beer, they invited me over and bought me a beer. They didn’t speak English and I dont speak Spanish. The experience was worth it even if I didn’t understand. We tried to communicate but the best thing exchanged was the sound of laughter. Just what I needed for the push to the top. Once at the top there was snow! After my last battle with the snow, I got nervous. I am much stronger now and the hike today was amazing on so many levels. I felt a great sense of accomplishment and pride knowing I have made it this far. The path should be easier moving forward and I have some extra time so I plan to slow it down and enjoy the last bit at my pace. I am again on my own as the guys are ahead and since I want to slow down, it is not likely I will catch back up to them. The place I am staying tonight has no restaurant in the village. So, bye bye beans. The story of the beans is I bought them in a week ago. I have tried many times to leave them and the guys would grab them and give them back to me in the next village saying I lost them. The beans are a joke now and I quit leaving them and have been lugging them around. Even brought them up the fricken mountain. Tonight was a perfect time to use the suckers. I will have them again in the AM for breakfast UK style. It is 7:30pm and I am already in bed. Tomorrow will be a short day with great weather. They say there are 3 phases: physical, emotional, and spiritual. I am through the physical and emotional- I think… so we will see what the next week holds. Crossing my fingers that we get to keep the nice weather.
Distance: 15.27 miles
Time: 6 hours
Money: 33 euro
Day 27: I woke up and cooked the left overs of eggs, beans, bread, and cheese. I left a bit later than usual knowing I had a short distance for the day. Still alone as the wolfpack has moved far ahead. I got lost! I was caught up in frustration with Matty since we were texting and I didn’t make a turn. I walked a few miles out of my way due to this mistake. Ugh… so much for a short distance day. I called him up mad that he had distracted me and I got off the path. Blame game. Matty was diagnosed with ADHD recently and I have some resentment and hard feelings about this. I think mostly because I asked him 4 years ago to go see someone and he didn’t. So for 4 years I have blamed myself for some issues in our relationship that I feel would have been smoothed over had he done this. Last year in November he called me while I was on my way to see my family, he was upset and needed me. I told him I can’t. I can’t deal with his needs and mine and told him that he needed to go see someone immediately. He did and this diagnoses is the result. Anger is what I feel about it. Getting lost today was a symbol of how I feel in life sometimes. I was on a path for myself and got easily distracted and got lost. Sometimes I put so much energy into other people, I forget about myself for a bit. Then something happens that makes me realize I have given too much and I get resentful. It is an expectation I have and definitely a huge flaw I deal with because it usually ends in disappointment for me. I set myself up and it is something I am actively working on.
However, I got back on track and found a beer. While sitting there, I saw some people that I had not seen in a few days. One of them got sick after the climb so he caught a taxi. I walked on to the next village and again stopped to enjoy lunch and the views coming down the mountain. I took my time today and even sat on a rock to just take it in. I called Matty later and found I was still really bitter. He had to go to work and I entered the village I would be staying. Upon arrival, I found a beautiful alburgue. I did my usual chores and while doing laundry I met a lady from Colombia. Since I went there in 2013 I was so excited. She offered me their leftovers she had cooked for her and her husband. Along with wine. Bonus! It is this that reminds me and humbles me after a tough emotional day. Put it in the fridge for later. Continued my nice chat with the couple who now live in Switzerland. Then decided to work on school. Had a nice leftover Italian dinner alone. I need the time alone at this point to just sort through all that is going on. Job rejection. Life choices. School frustrations. Aging parents. Anger issues. & Relationship trouble.
I find that the Camino has a way of making sure you are living in the moment. Finding meaning in the challenges and reminding myself about the joy amidst the pain, that is what this is about. One foot in front of another in this path and in life. Great adventures await and I am reminded to embrace and appreciate the journey.
Time: 8 hours
Money: 20 euro
Day 28: First day without the meds. I didn’t have to take anything today for pain which is a first. Unless beer counts? My first dark beer on the Camino though! Today the views and weather were amazing. Even getting some sun and color on my face. My body is functioning. All is good. Still without the wolfpack but I have come to terms with the thought that I won’t see them till the finish line. I found the sticker that said “Don’t mess with Texas”. Philipp sent pics of mess with Texas because someone took the don’t off and put it somewhere else which he also sent a pic of. Matty signed the contract for next year so it is official we will be in Europe another year. We hope to move to Asia next year. 🤞 The Camino will start getting busier because I just passed the town where people can start and still get a certificate. I had dinner with 3 Italians, a German, and a Canadian. We laughed so much. Especially when one of the Italians asked the Canadian if she eats beaver. 🤨 At the end of the night I met a Canadian who was passing through and stopped for dinner. He was a police officer and quit 3 weeks ago and walked the Camino. He had me cut the badge of his pack and he worked for the Royal Police for 30+ years. My grandparents have the best story of when I traveled with them to Canada and was so shy when my granny wanted me to take a pic with them. They loved that story because they had never seen me so shy in my life. The badge means a lot and to cut it off the bag makes it more special. Today was a good day and at the end of the day…. Love wins
Distance: 15.63 miles
Time: 8 hours
Money: 33 euro