Everyone who knows me is aware how my walking of the Camino has impacted my life. I have walked the Camino Frances from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela twice, and the Via de la Plata from Seville to Santiago once. I cannot wait to walk the Camino again and yet the Covid 19 pandemic has made it unsafe to do so.
Will I be able to walk again in 2021 or will it be 2022 or later? If it’s the latter, then I will be more than 72 years old. What if I am physically unable to manage a long journey? After all, earlier this year I had to contend with what was described by the medical fraternity as “high-risk” cancer. But it’s not my time to go. Although I survived that journey well, who knows what my condition will be down the road?
Then I realise that I am making the mistake of focusing on the destination rather than the excitement of the journey that I am on right now. Yes, Covid is a part of our journey, inconvenient as that might be. Perhaps it’s like walking through industrial suburb to get to sublime and verdant countryside.
When I walked the Camino the first time in 2010, I had number of ailments including degenerated knee cartilage, shin splints and plantar fasciitis that might have derailed my pilgrimage at any moment. That was fear-based thinking weighing me down like so much excess baggage. The better alternative, I realised, was to savour each delicious step along the way and to accept the present just the way it is. If I had to abandon that journey then, by default, I would be on another journey – equally full of mystery and excitement.
In past blog postings, I have sometimes quoted directly from my book My Camino Walk – A Way to Healing. My story is partly travelogue, but it offers more. Walking between 25 and 35 kilometres every day for 30 days provided an opportunity to reflect on my life – to revisit some of the bitter-sweet events that have happened, and to come to terms with my past. It was like a walking meditation to examine and accept the past without judgement.
Similarly, Covid 19 has provided an opportunity to simplify my life because there really is no place to go. It’s a different journey – maybe also a time of transition or, at least, of change.
The photos accompanying this blog are taken between Castrojerez and Frómista. One day I will walk this way again……or maybe not! Perhaps it’s time for another adventure into the unknown.