The Camino Walks You

It’s my last full day at home, time to let go of months of preparation and to embrace the actual experience before me. Regardless of what I hope this experience will be for myself, my two co-leaders, and for the women hiking with us, I have no idea what it actually will be.

For instance, mid-September is supposed to have the best weather of the year for hiking the Spanish Camino, yet two weeks ago, Spain was in a heat wave and temperatures soared up to 104 degrees. Hearing that, I packed a sundress—along with a poncho, a fleece shirt, and a light down coat. Weather is one thing that’s unpredictable. But there is more: how my feet will hold up, what unexpected adventures we’ll experience along the way, whether I’ll sleep well at night, how our traveling group bonds, whether any of us gets sick or injured, who I’ll meet, what conditions will be like this September in Spain, and myriad factors beyond our control. I’m certain there will be many wonderful moments of joy and serendipity that can’t be planned.

As is often said, “You don’t walk the Camino; the Camino walks YOU.”

Brenda Porter and I dreamed up this trip in Peru six years ago. We’ve spent years preparing, canceling due to the pandemic, then preparing again. We’ve created a well-planned, thoughtfully designed trip. An amazing cohort is walking with us, many of whom I imagine signed up with the thought, “While I still can….”

Brenda and our other hiking guide Andre are there right now, making sure all our arrangements and accommodations are in order.

Personally, I’ve spent nine months getting my body in shape for the physical challenge of walking day after day, but now it’s time to let go of all that preparation and experience the Camino in the moment. To open up to mystery. To embrace uncertainty. To choose flexibility. To be nimble and resourceful in the moment. To expect awe and discomfort, laughter and tears, insight and boredom, frustration, gratitude, and deep joy, to choose humor and to LET GO, LET GO, LET GO. To look for beauty every day. To keep my heart open. To learn the lessons the Camino has to teach me rather than the ones I think I need to learn.

I’m so grateful I get to do this. That we all do.

Buen Camino to me—and to everyone in our traveling company.

My next post will be from Spain. I fly to Madrid tomorrow.

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