Monday, July 9, 2007

would i do it again?

Many people, including other pilgrims, have asked me if I would do it again. It's possible that like the 40-something male pattern baldness Jesus impersonator wearing a blue robe and carrying a tiny satchel who has purportedly walked the Way more than 12 times, I could grow addicted to the Camino. It's an easy, simple lifestyle. Being outside all of the time feels great. The walking is often meditative. There are no imminent nagging concerns of bills or family or lists or work. In the afternoon and evening, there is good company. At night, one sleeps to the rhythm of snoring. In the morning, it all happens again.

Still, for me, part of the magic was that I didn't know what to expect along the Way. It was all new. I suppose it could be nice to have a look at things for a second time now that I have some idea what's coming, but I'm not so sure. It's a big wide world to explore, and 6 weeks is a long, long time to dedicate to re-experiencing something. Besides, I keep vowing that I'm only going to cut my hair this way once . . .

That said, there are a few circumstances under which I would hike the Camino Frances again.

1. I would walk the same route again about 30 years from now. As I've written before, I may need to prove to myself that I can keep up with my 50 and 60 something pilgrim friends from this round. I wouldn't be surprised to find the same folks on the trail again, ages 80 and 90 something. I hope I do. They're a stubborn and optimistic and inspiring bunch.

2. I'd also consider walking this route again if someone I really cared about asked me to do it with him/her. It's equally possible, though, that I would encourage him/her to do it alone.

3. I think it would also be a good place for me to return to if I was trying to work out something difficult in my life.

This summer, I only did one section of the Camino de Santiago, the Spanish part of the Camino Frances. This is the most populated with the best infrastructure for pilgrims. As pilgrim Rob used to say whenever anyone got lost, "There are many roads to Santiago."

There are lots of other paths to explore. I'd like to do the French part of the Camino Frances from Le Puy to St. Jean Pied de Port (where I started this year). I've heard it's a tougher walk, and my French could definitely use some work. The Camino del Norte, which travels along Spain's northern coast is also intriguing, as are the other main routes--Via de la Plata and Camino Portugues. I think my friend Penny has walked them all. She claims she's done now, but I have a feeling she'll start inventing new roads to Santiago . . .

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