All weekend I’ve been researching the El Camino de Santiago and the logistics of the whole thing. Mulling it around in my head whether or not I should go…when to go…who with…will I be able to attempt this most unusual of holidays or pilgrimages. Lets face it…it’s not every day that you wake up to decide…yes…I want to do a pilgrimage. The last pilgrimage I can think of that I attempted was to go out for a litre of milk.
Then I sat down and really thought about it…was I to sit around hoping that I would do it some day in the near future or should I just do it. The one person that I wished I could experience this trip of a lifetime with was my father. Maybe I wanted to have my own private road trip with him…something for us both to share in….instead of a typical everyday vacation that we all experience!!! This would be our spiritual awakening coupled with plenty of blisters and aching joints. All I wanted to do for the time being is a small section of the Pilgrimage…enough to gain the coveted Compestela!! I have found that I’ve opened up a whole new world of information regarding the El Camino…reams of information, maps, packing lists, routes to take, hostels to stay in!! So, you’ll be glad to hear that on Saturday, I booked 2 return flights to Santiago De Compestela for the beginning of May…the last day of our holiday being my fathers 77th birthday and what better way to celebrate than on the streets of Santiago de Compestela!! I have a lot of confidence that we will make this holiday a success and will complete the designated route on which I have yet to decide upon…even though my circumstances have slightly changed somewhat in the last 24 hours…workwise…but already I can feel that first film of sweat drenching my forehead and running down my back as we pound our way across the hinterland of the Gallicia countryside…the crunch of gravel under our boots…or the swish of the wind through the trees and grass…the smiles from the people wishing us Buen Camino as we slowly pass them by…stopping at certain points along the way to marvel at the beauty that surrounds us…eating the local cuisine…tasting the local beer and wine…making lifelong friendships along the way and just being together as father and son on a pilgrimage of the soul. This is what I have wanted for a long time and believe me there is no time like the present. I don’t want to be looking back in a few years time thinking “We should have done the El Camino…but now it’s too late!!”
No…each and every one of us live in the now and now is the time for life to be experienced and tasted. We can’t wait for it to turn sour like a piece of meat in the fridge. Life must be cooked and seasoned and turned around just like any roast beef on a Sunday. That is why I booked the flights…some might call it impulsive …but hey..thats me…I’m an impulsive kind of guy. Some people may not think me as so impulsive but I am…so there!! We will have 9 or 10 days to follow the final stage of the Camino Frances from Sarrio to Santiago …plenty of time for rest and to appreciate all of what awaits us. Like most people I would have loved to travel the whole way but this would not be possible for obvious reasons. Maybe one day I might do it with my 2 girls as a life experience between father and daughter like no other or maybe we could attempt it in stages over a few years. Spain is a big place and the Way of St. James takes many paths.
When I first mentioned it to my father only last week he jumped at the chance of this wonderful adventure. It was not the reaction that I expected and when I showed him the article in the paper and later on the different videos online …you could sense his excitement..anticipation of the unexpected…a gratitude to me perhaps for considering him as a travel partner on this voyage of discovery. He wasn’t going to let his age or presumptions of others to get in his way…no sir!! Maybe when its all over he will curse me for the blistering pain in his feet and stiff muscles from head to toe but for now we must prepare and train for those tough climbs ahead!!! God…I’m excited now…this has been some week for me…full of ups and downs in every sense of the word…but in the end life has a way of suprising all of us in the most unusual ways you could not imagine….
Halfway through this post I was watching the programme ‘Room to Improve’ and for the final sweep of the finished house they played Chequerboard with a very appropriate piece of music….the building blocks of life!!!