The ultimate destination

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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’.

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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!

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13 thoughts on “The ultimate destination”

  1. I do think an adventure like you are on can be a metaphor for a life long journey. The difference is duration and specificity of the target. In life the overall target is really more of a commitment to achieve all the goals you set before yourself, and it can be a moving target.

    Once again, your videos put me in stitches with your many animated facial jesters. Glad you get to actually sleep in your tent.

    Bill

  2. I second Bill, I think a long-term hike is often a perfect metaphor for life. In my case, the camino helped me to work on some issues like taking a decision, or regretting things I didn’t do and such. I once stood at a crossroad for almost an hour not knowing which of the two possible ways I should take, going back and forth, listing all the pros and cons, until I realised that I wasn’t going to get anywhere until I made a decision – exactly like life. It might not be the best or perfect decision, but until you’re going to try, you will not know and won’t progress at all. Same goes for those regrets. I once stood up on a hill and realized that I had missed a beautiful Romanesque chapel a bit to the right at the bottom of the quite steep hill, and stood there regretting not having seen it for almost half an hour until I realised that I either could go back and change what I regretted (not having visited the chapel) or go on and let it be. There’s just no use in wasting energy just wishing I had acted differently. Doesn’t mean I am perfect applying those lessons in my life, but it has helped me a lot.

    I do think a destination can also be a possible way to lead your life, or to want to learn throughout your whole life etc.; and of course there is always room for changes and we can always choose a different destination should we want or feel the need to. Isn’t that great?
    Hope you had a quiet night in your cosy tent, looking forward to your experiences as you continue to walk your way…

  3. Rozanne,

    The metaphor analogy of the trail to life is a good one as Bill and Fine mentioned. And what is one of the oldest sayings about life? It’s not about the destination, but rather the journey. You wrote above, there are so many paths the “correct” path is not that important.

    Whatever you choose as a life goal (destination) it’s not necessarily a fixed or permanent thing. The journey will take you to different paths that will change or alter your perspective. It’s good to identify a destination and make it your goal, but do not fear the absoluteness or permanence of that decision.

    You will find many delightful and some not so delightful instances where your goals will shift due to the journey. Happiness is so different and sometimes elusive for any individual. You have gone down a great path of discovery and who would have thought such a big smile could be had by crawling into your tent! Maybe another metaphor.

    Enjoying the hike with you, thanks for sharing.

    Tim

  4. Ditto to the above. I don’t know if there is really a ‘correct’ path in life. There is probably a silver lining to any path one takes. One just has to find it and recognize it. I think that the ultimate goal is a successful life, whatever that means to each individual. I also think that personal strengths and weaknesses and the ability to recognize and accept them are an ultimate determiner of a successful life. You certainly are in touch with your strengths and weaknesses and your thoughtfulness is reinforcing. Thanks for the education.

  5. Oh, my…..being an 80 year old….hmmmm….how should I say anything about about goals or destinations….only that I made a decision to NOT make goals…especially not goals that made me anxious…I have done many small steps to keep me in sight of where I was…like I started composing music on the piano when I was 10 years old…and through the years I only wrote a piece if I was inspired…then inspiration would be gone, so no music for awhile…just kind of floating on as I lived my life…not worried about goals…just being, I guess…Then at about 60 years of age, I read a movie script that was written by a friend…it inspired me to write music for each major character…then a new experience came into view…my music was too complicated for me to understand and write it on paper…soooooo, I knew that to continue in my composing joy, I would need to be educated…at age 62 I went back to college and studied music…for 4 years…it was such fun and really difficult, challenging to my mind…I graduated at age 66 with a degree … sooooo, then I could compose with understanding how to do it….and have continue to for all these years…now I have a whole file drawer full of pieces I have composed….about 100 or so compositions…3 CDs of live concerts I have done….soooo, all this to say, I really don’t know about when or where to be , but in the PRESENCE….

    I know now that am 80, that my time is short…so I don’t ever SHOULD on myself … or, if I do realize I have done the SHOULD game , I try to STOP it…so, my dear Rozanne, do what gives you joy…try hard not to worry too much …. enjoy your life …. what you will do in the future will be realized while doing your life journey…most of us don’t always know….

    Thanks for your sharing….I have been thinking much about you and want you to be safe and happy….Love to you from Barbie, your old (young) friend….smiling

  6. Hi darling, I agree with all those beautiful words of Bill, Fine, Tim, Donna and Barbara. I couldn’t say it any better then they did and I don’t have to fill in any more. Thank you friends for following and sharing these beautiful and encouraging words with Rozanne. Darling stay safe and enjoy your journey, love you, Mutti xx

  7. I suddenly wish I still had some of my Hermann Hesse books which in my youth gave me pleasure and made me think in new ways about life and its meaning. Have I told you about the time I was hitch hiking to India and half-way there I finished Hesse’s Journey to the East. I immediately retraced my journey back to the Netherlands (and Mutti), realising it was not a destination I was seeking but something way more important. India came later – together with her.

    Consider this quote from the book –
    “For our goal was not only the East, or rather the East was not only a country and something geographical, but it was the home and youth of the soul, it was everywhere and nowhere, it was the union of all times”.

    Travel well L1.

  8. Such wonderful thoughts and words by all. I had the pleasure of meeting Rozanne in person briefly last year on the PCT in Washington.
    I think meeting all of you in person would be tremendous. We could have a Muk blog party to celebrate her travels. Which country should we have the celebration?
    Tim

  9. So many wise comments have already been shared here. And you have had plenty of time to digest and dissect them all. . I thank each and every one of your followers for helping you through by being your friends and offering you a feeling of home away from home.

    Now I would like to share my “Ultimate Destination” story with you here.

    As a child, I attended 26 different schools due to the fact that my mom’s answer to any problem was simply to move to a new city and start over. Sure, I had some great experiences because of the frequent newness I was forced into. But I LONGED for a place to call home.

    Like Barbie, I found solace in writing music. It helped me…find me.

    John Denver sang a song called “All of My Memories” that spoke so perfectly to me at age 15….I memorized it immediately and have been singing it ever since!!

    I knew it was the map I needed to follow to live a life towards MY Ultimate Destination. Now, 40 years later, as I sing this same song, I am so grateful that I find myself living out this song in real life !!!

    Here is a little piece of that song.

    ALL OF MY MEMORIES
    OF LIVING THE LIFE OF THE HIGHWAY.
    ALL OF MY NIGHTS IN OLD MOTELS
    AND SLEEPING ALONE.

    ALL OF MY DAYS ON THE ROAD
    WITH NO ONE BESIDE ME.
    ALL OF MY DREAMS OF A PLACE
    I COULD CALL HOME.

    SOMEWHERE IN THE SHADE
    NEAR THE SOUND OF A SWEET SINGING RIVER.
    SOMEWHERE IN THE SUN
    WHERE THE MOUNTAINS MAKE LOVE TO THE SKY.

    SOMEWHERE TO BUILD ME A FAITH
    A FARM AND A FAMILY.
    SOMEWHERE TO GROW OLDER
    AND SOMEWHERE A REASON TO TRY.

    Of course there is much more to it than that…Therefore think this song is worth looking up on youtube.
    I hope you see the “fit” here.

    May your view of life be filled with glorious mountains making love to the sky !!!

    From Your Alaskan Family
    Lyndella

    1. Hey Lyndella, I just had to go back and read this post again. Thank you for sharing your story with us. You certainly ended up finding your home near the streams and mountains. I totally understand that craving for your own place, especially after being on the move for so long! Being on the move is often filled with new adventures, but strong connections and time to appreciate what’s around us are usually found when we stay in the same place for a little while! 🙂

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