Saying Goodbye/ What Camino Means

The last day I went to the beach and I found a shell. And I actually found one for everyone that I loved in the group and gave it to them. And I promised myself that I would walk again and I would take the shell when I went.

I said goodbye to everyone at about 4 in the afternoon as I began the 48 hour journey. (3 buses and 2 planes until Minnesota)

And I said goodbye to Billy as I was getting on the bus.

And I cried.

Like I cried a lot. 

Because I didn’t expect to find love the way I did on the Camino. Just surrounded by it. Just drowning in it.

There is something so magical about being forced to be just the worst of yourself. And the best. And having these people just love you for that. I think that’s why people keep doing the Camino. And like hell I lied on my compostella—this was religious. Cause if love isn’t a religion then I don’t know what the hell is.

I’m sure it’s something good ol St. James could subscribe to.

So would I do it again? Absolutely. 

And what would I do different? Well for starters the second time I would bin fucking Brierley and just go without a guidebook. (Well maybe just metaphorically for logistical reasons) but I would just start with no destination in mind and walk when I felt like it and stop when I felt like it. But that’s for the second time. I have no regrets on this trip. Even as I was bawling my eyes out on the bus from Finesterre I couldn’t think of one thing I would take back.

I kept remembering every day how I almost got in that car with Ellen from Canada when I got off the airplane in Biaritz and almost started the Camino in a different place. And how truly magical it was that this group of people from so many completely different places ended up on this walk together. And how it took almost no time at all for it to feel like family.

Because it’s not really about the walking. It’s not about the miles and it’s not really about Santiago. You don’t find God when you arrive. You find it on the way. In the people and the places.

It’s about the dinners cooked in steamy albergue kitchens. It’s about the shitty ukelele playing. It’s about the dirty looks from old Spanish women when you hold hands with a cute British boy. It’s about the endless chorizo and cheese sandwiches. It’s about bed bug scares. It’s about refusing to take a bus no matter how swollen your foot is or how many blisters you have. It’s about singing 500 miles by the Proclaimers probably 500 times. It’s about every time you are smelly and sweaty an cursing the lord above as you drag your tired ass up those last few kilometers. It’s about laughing until you can’t breathe. It’s about making new friends and finding a new family.

It’s about love.

It sounds cliche. And I know saying it sound cliche sounds cliche. But who gives a fuck.

And it takes walking the Camino to realize that maybe we are all just walking a Camino. Everyday. Mark said the real Camino doesn’t start until you get to Santiago. And then like stars were flung back to our homes to spread that light.

And because I can’t think of the perfect words to end this post with myself I think I will just steal a quote from my dear friend Csenge:

“I’m full of love and farts”

 Adios España.

Buen Camino motherfucker. 

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