We all know that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In this case, thousands of very unromantic steps around the house, around town, around stores, all in preparation for THE journey.
28.08.2012 - 31.10.2012
I've been up since 3:30 am. Still prone but thinking, thinking, thinking, feeling the cat lumped at my feet and knowing that in four days D-Day arrives. For two months we will travel, most of it on foot, through a region of Spain that has felt the feet of millions of seekers, walking, walking, to a destination called Santiago de Compostela. Why? That will be answered on the journey itself. I am not Catholic, so it has little to do with finding my way to the burial place of Saint James. For the time being I am mostly preoccupied with answering deeper questions like, did I buy the right shoes? Can I afford to pack shampoo or lotion? Are finger nail clippers too much a luxury?
When walking 10-20 miles per day the weight of your pack is a central preoccupation, and that is the beauty of pilgrimage: it forces simplicity, a whittling down of one's identity to bare human essentials. Two sets of clothing, a sleeping bag, basic toiletries, a water bottle. A bit more than that, but not much. My pack cannot weigh more than fifteen pounds fully loaded with water and food for the day. Each pound of extra weight is an exponential experience for the foot. You don't want to violently offend your feet off when it is they who have to carry you 500 miles over rugged terrain. Vanity, therefore, is the first luxury to go. A swiss army knife is your basic tool, forget those clippers! Most pilgrims use one bottle of "wilderness soap" for everything: laundering, shampooing, cleaning. I stand and behold my arsenal of hair-care products and have to laugh. Is that really necessary? That answer will soon be discovered.
So, it is now 6:00 am. I have my the first entry in "the blog." The first of this type of thing I've ever tried. Up until know I have identified as a techno-moron and remained fairly checked out. Now, I am going on a pilgrimage where you are supposed to officially check out from the world you know, and suddenly I've leaped into the world of social media and Apps, hungry to find free wi-fi spots on my journey (there's an app for that!). Why? I am not sure, except that I know that this moment in my life is a turning point, and I am facing full force into the winds of change. Part of that change is closing the door on the past and opening to the path that is now unwinding itself before me. It is a big risk to put any words out into the world, because there are already so many words. So many. Will mine be worthy? Who knows, but I suspect that crippling perfectionism will be the first unnecessary item jettisoned on those steep inclines. Thank you Camino. I anticipate going silent at some point because, well, it's a pilgrimage! Until then, there will be much to share as we stop in Paris and Istanbul before winding the way down to the border of Spain, don our packs and start huffing up those Pyrenees.