Some interesting things have occurred to me over the last few days. I’ve experienced many repeat moods from the PCT and very similar feelings towards documenting my journey as I did half way through the last. As I walked in the rain with a bit more gusto than the last few days I started reflecting on the first few days on the Camino when I thought it was only me and the trail.
Initially when I started bumping into people I was shocked and excited to know other beings were out here too. Since Santander there have been many other Pilgrims along the way, and I’m finding it a little hard to adjust to the notion of sharing rooms with other hikers who snore, sleep restlessly and wake up before the crack of dawn. I have to say the first ten days of solitude have made me somewhat antisocial. A lot of the other hikers are also much older, and some of their English skills aren’t great, but there just hasn’t been that same feeling of community and people looking out for one another like the PCT. I think the big difference is that everyone out here is very self sufficient. You can’t run out of water or food for more than 10km at a time, if someone’s soaking wet you know there’s a hot shower at the end of the day for them, there’s no such thing as a trail name, hiker boxes or trail angels (although a sweet old man standing in his front yard when I passed by the other day did give me a non-alcoholic beer to take with me).
I didn’t hike this trail expecting it to be like the PCT, but I’m starting to realise I’m hiking this trail partly to reflect on the PCT with space to think outside the noise of the everyday. I’ve needed to be back out walking to fully process all of what happened last year and fully appreciate what I achieved. I think it’s inevitable that I’m making comparisons, and sometimes I do have to stop myself from wishing I was completely out in the wilderness, but I’m thinking more about what I want to take away from this experience. Some people have asked me why I’ve come all the way from Australia to hike the Camino. I’ve fluffed a few different answers, but the truth is I needed to. I needed to go on a long walk to think, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
The strange thing is that in the first week I thought I had it all figured out. What I want to do, where I want to be, and the things I’m looking forward to doing. Now I’m constantly wrestling with the part of my brain that likes to question everything and make alternative suggestions for me to consider. If anyone knows where the off switch is for that, please let me know!
What I am somewhat confident about is my need for a base and to start building some kind of foundation for my life. I could be wrong, but there’s definitely something missing from my nomadic lifestyle which involves family, friends and community. Strangely enough my biggest sense of community actually comes from those who follow and comment on my blog. The consistent names that appear to share a thought, a question or advice. This is something I’m looking forward to building on in this ‘real’ world I’ve heard so much about.