As I am going through my packing list, which changes frequently, I am amazed that this trip is reality now. I am actually going. Two more weeks. When I awoke, very early again, due to those nerve-wracking crickets, I lay there in wonder. How did this even start? Actually, the first subconscious knowledge came in Switzerland when I did those 4 stations of the cross in this wonderful forest. I just happened to come upon the sign and decided to follow. I had not heard of any Jakobsweg. (In English, the Way of St. James.)
Months later, at home, I was watching T.V. flipping back and forth between the dish and German T.V. Nothing memorable showing. The usual CSI and maggot-riddled bodies and worms crawling in eye sockets. It was lunch time and this was not what I needed to see. On German T.V. was soccer and other stuff. One title cought my eye. I’ll carry you to end of the world it proclaimed. I sighed, thinking one of those movies, but finding nothing else, came back to it. Married couple, two (ungrateful, entitled) children, workaholic and cheating husband. Wife caught him and decided to follow her father on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrim path established over 1000 years ago. Just about 600 miles long. (The movie title referred to Finisterre, an additional walk beyond Santiago where one can see the end of the world.)
After the movie they brought a documentary about this very path. Different perspective and more scenery, towns, places and interviews with people actually walking, or having walked. There it was. The scenery was gorgeous. Old, cobblestone paths leading to old, small chapels. Then, winding roads through beautiful forrest, up hills past blooming lavender fields. Peasants sitting in front of their Finca waving and some, offering food or water., Mountains in the rising morning mist. People from all over the globe, walking, calling out “Buen Camino.”
Some walk to find God and find themselves. Some, walk to find themselves and find God. Others, with different beliefs walk because it’s a beautiful, spiritual path. People who have walked this path, report that it hums with energy. Everyone is allowed and welcome to walk the camino. I was transfixed by this old, European picture of a long past era. I thought I really would like to do something like that. Need a bigger challenge to walk. Not just around the neighborhood. Maybe, just maybe I can walk this tumor off? I felt such excitement at the thought of doing something different and the hope of divine intervention at the same time. The next few days, this was all I could think about. Immediate thoughts of ‘how to afford this?’ followed. Then, how on earth could I do this? I don’t speak Spanish. Would I have to walk by myself?? What if something happened? How could I eat Vegan?
I woke in the middle of the night from stressful dreams and scared out of my wits what I was contemplating. But not once, through all of that, did I think of quitting. The Camino was calling me. I posted a question on the Camino Forum, asking if anyone else would be traveling at that time? This is a wonderful community, helping one another, giving support and encouragement. Then, my son came on board and that changed the whole picture. Then, Carrie wanted to come. I had said before, that I would not take another teenager to Europe. There’s no appreciation of culture, architecture, history. They don’t want to get up. They want Mc Donalds, shopping, to look at boys/girls.
Well, let me say here and now. Carrie is delightfully different and willing to do the hard stuff. And therefor we’re taking her along. I am carefully optimistic that I can do this. My daughter, my friends are very supportive and great cheer leaders. Others think I’m plain nuts. My friend Julie, wrote the most wonderful, poignant letter and so this one is for her. I don’t want to get my hopes too high because I don’t want to crash, if the tumor does not disappear. But I want to believe with all my heart, that there could be a miracle, for me.
One person, who is not a traveller, told me: You don’t have to go all the way over there to find God. Instead of going into lengthy, fruitless explanations, I told her she was right. I do not have to go there (or anywhere else) to find GOD, since I’ve never lost him. We will see. There will be a P.E.T scan/bloodwork, exam, upon my return. Shall we dare to hope? Yes! Buen Camino, indeed!