I am way, waaaayyyyy overdue in writing a post about my trip to Spain. It’s been over three weeks since I’ve returned, but since coming home to Toronto I have lost any desire to write. Maybe it’s a travel hangover, or an inability to comprehend the fact that I completed the #1 item on my bucket list. Whatever the cause of this writer’s block, I’m forcing myself to get over it today.
Looking back at my time on the Camino de Santiago, I become overwhelmed with feelings of happiness and friendship. I disembarked from Toronto with the mentality that this was a solo trip; that this was something I was going to be doing by myself. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I was never alone.
From the moment I stepped into my hostel dorm in Madrid to my last morning in Santiago, I always had a companion (or many, as was the case during my last week on the trail). In Madrid I made friends with the girl in the bunk above me, and that night I went to my first La Liga football game with a group of people from the hostel. The next morning I took the train to Leon and made friends with a mother/son duo from Ottawa who I ended up hiking with on my first day on the trail.
As I mentioned in a post I wrote while I was away, my second day on the Camino found me waking up with a fever and other flu symptoms. I ended up staying in Astorga for two nights while I recouped, then bypassed many days of hiking by taking the train to Sarria. To me, I felt like I was copping out. I wanted to start in Leon so I could achieve a more fulfilling Camino experience. I also wanted to hike more than the minimal 100 kilometers needed to obtain my compostela in Santiago. This wasn’t a “touristy” trip for me — it was a life experience. Hiking a certain amount of days just to fulfill a requirement didn’t feel like it was enough. But alas, the universe had a different plan in store for me. And honestly, I’m lucky and blessed that it did.
You see, had I not skipped the mountains and taken that train to Sarria, I would never have met my new, dear to my heart friends: Christine, Johana, Adriana, Consuelo, and Richard. These are the people who kept me going when I felt low; who made me laugh to the point of tears; who shared their stories with me, and I them. These are the friends who took a piece of my heart with them when we departed ways to return to our homes around the world.
I’ll be sharing more details about my hike as well as photos and videos within the coming week, but for now I just wanted to give a shout out to my Camino friends. I couldn’t have finished the hike without you all. It’s been a rough couple of weeks since I got back, but now that I’ve taken some time to recollect, I already feel more at peace.