I just witnessed a herd of cattle being walked along the beach by two farmers. It looked so out of place I had to take a video, which actually encouraged more people to come and take pictures confirming the spectacle was a little unusual. Today has been one of my favourite days on the Camino so far. The sense of peace I’m walking with today has been non-existent these last few days while I’ve been wrestling with my mind over unimportant matters. Receiving so many beautiful comments and words from so many of you made me realise I have such an unusual but strong support network. I count myself very lucky and also realise there are so many people willing to lend a hand if I’m prepared to reach out for it.
I’ve started to panic less these days when I lose the way. Mainly because it happens so frequently to most pilgrims I come across and also because there seems to be so many alternative routes for bikes or wet weather that being on the ‘correct’ path isn’t that important. As long as the coast is on your right you know you’re heading the right way. There were two parts today however where I went off track. One where I should have been walking along the beach but missed the turn off and ended up on the main road. I got really mad at myself for missing one of the rare opportunities to walk on the beach, but after my small temper tantrum I realised I was still going to reach the same destination, even though the way wasn’t as picturesque.
The second found me walking through endless tracks of mud, and from the trail on my map it looked like I was totally off course even though the arrows had led me there.
It did get me thinking about the notion and importance of knowing my destination, even though my route may change many directions, many times. I tried to compare this to the way we live our lives and the ultimate destination we’re all heading towards. Is there one? Are we meant to know what it is and strive to reach there? How do we know which way to go if we don’t know where we’re heading? Education, career, family, retirement, happiness. Are these all destinations? Is there an ultimate destination in life?
Because I went off track I have come across the most fantastic restaurant by the sea. A few pilgrims I’ve met recently have told me about these great places they’ve eaten at or have visited, and really have that ‘I’m on holiday’ way about them. I think I need a balance between enjoying the journey and staying focused on reaching Santiago. I tested out the approach of stopping whenever I want, waking up whenever I want, and eating and drinking whatever I want (like huge lunches that left me in a food coma and hating myself for the rest of the day), but after two days of making no more than 40km I realised it wasn’t sustainable and also made me miserable. I guess there is truth to the theory of having ‘too much of a good thing’.
Tonight I was adamant about camping after meeting a pilgrim cycling the trail who carries a tent with him and told me he camped the last couple of nights. I was completely envious and realised I’ve actually stopped looking for camping spots and just head straight to the Albergues like everyone else. After two hours of walking and searching I was almost ready to give up until I came across the most perfectly situated, flat, non-muddy, well hidden spot. I’m still incredibly nervous like last time, but as it’s starting to get dark I’m feeling more and more comfortable. I was like a pig in mud getting back into my tent. I feel so at home again!