When you last heard from me, I had walked half of the Camino from St. Jean to Santiago with my partner, Doug. Due to freezing temperatures and biting winds, we got off the Camino in Leon and went to the south of Spain.
This was all back at the end of April. We are now at the end of June. What the heck happened? Did the Sunshine Jen space/time continuum completely skip the month of May?
After soaking up the sun in the south of Spain, Doug and I went back to Ireland to soak up some rain. As I was acclimating to cars on the other side of the road and meals with potatoes, I noticed that the temperatures in northern Spain had risen a bit.
I also could get cheap airfare from Ireland to Spain, so in May, I flew back to Spain and restarted the Camino in Leon on my own. Doug couldn’t come.
I walked from Leon to Santiago, then I walked from Santiago to Finisterre. Conditions were much better. I only had to deal with a hot Los Angeles-like sun. It rained once or twice, but it wasn’t a cold harsh rain. In fact, I preferred the rain. It cooled everything down.
Including the walk from St. Jean, I walked over 800 kilometers in Spain. I now think in kilometers. When I tried to convert to miles on the Camino, my head circled around numbers like a vulture around a dead cow, and that slowed me down.
Most of the time I walked alone, but occasionally I walked with someone for a few kilometers. We would chat for awhile before separating and maybe meeting again later on. There was no pressure to be social, but good people were around me. And then there was the landscape. . . .okay, yes, I have to share some pictures.
Then one morning in the beginning of June, I stood in front of the Cathedral in Santiago. I had reached my destination. I texted my love ones and drank a café con leche.
But I wasn’t finished yet. I still had more walking in me. I wanted to get to the Ocean. I wanted to see boats. I wanted to go to the lighthouse at the end of the earth.
The next morning, less than twenty-four hours after I had walked into Santiago, I put on the pack and walked out of Santiago.
It took me three days to walk over 80km to Finisterre (aka the end of the earth). The Camino went up and down and around mountains. Finally, the trail went up, and I didn’t see more mountains. I saw blue. I stood there for a second, then let out the biggest belly laugh.
And I took a picture.
That same day, I made it to the lighthouse at Finisterre. I looked out at the expansive possibility of the Atlantic Ocean. I felt the sun. I breathed ocean air. Then I turned around and walked back to town. I was done walking the Camino.
If the first half of the Camino was about braving the elements, the second half was about braving myself. In the second half, I had days when I was raging or crying or hurting. One morning I was even hung over, but I kept walking because I couldn’t run away from myself. I was all I had, and I let a lot of stuff go. My pack got lighter and lighter both physically and metaphorically.
Now I'm back again in Los Angeles, and I’m climatizing yet again. And the cars are so big and it’s all so loud. And I have bad jet lag. And there’s no more café con leche. But I’m still walking.
And I’m back on the words which are flowing like rivers and vast like the ocean. So here I go again.
Because I know some happy roboters like the food, here’s a little pulpo (Octopus) for you all. It’s yummy.
Once again, if you had met me on the Camino in May/June 2012, feel free to contact me through either this website or my facebook page.