I am writing this on our 19th day of walking. It seems we are 356 km from Santiago. I think the total distance from St Jean de Pied to Santiago is about 780 KM. Wow! We are really far along on this journey. Interestingly, as we meet people over the last couple of days, the question I have been asked most often is, “Is there anything in your pack that you haven’t used?”
Along the way Colin and I have discarded a couple of things. As many others have done, we left our nonessential items in strategic places where other Peregrinos would find them. There is always someone who can use what others no longer need. I left a sports bra that left painful marks on my shoulder under the weight of the backpack straps. I also discarded my walking poles, usable but cumbersome. I can’t recall what Colin left, but I have seen him discard the pages of the guide book when they are no longer relevant for the journey ahead of us.
Surprisingly, the thing that I’ve been carrying around for 2 weeks, but haven’t used at all, was a small bag of art supplies consisting of two very thin sketch pads, three pencils, a sharpener and eraser. I never expected this to be something I would leave along the trail, unwanted. The desire to pursue art has been a consistent ideal that comes to my mind at every stage of my life. I have always loved it, feel I haven’t pursued it enough and feel a strong connection to my creative side. When I meditate it is the idea of adding more art to my life that frequently comes up.
Just prior to this Camino adventure I took a couple of art classes and started pastel painting. I thought it would be a great idea to sketch at night on the Camino and that I would be inspired to create and journal through images and colors. Why not? In college I always had a sketch pad at hand. I painted while sitting on the floor of my door rooms, sketched classmates during lectures and took a fantastic sculpting class. I never needed many supplies. I used anything I had available; painting with Q-tips and inexpensive water colors.
It was just a few days ago, when I was evaluating my pack, that I decided to leave those supplies behind. They didn’t weigh that much but they were getting in the way, physically and probably emotionally. They would get in my way as I rushed to get dressed in the mornings in the dark and I’d see those unused supplies and judge myself for my lack of creativity. It felt ok to let them go for now.
Each item in my backpack is precious on the Camino, as is the need to keep it light. It’s a funny thing to notice that the one thing I felt I needed more in my life I didn’t feel I needed here. I wonder if I will learn more about what this means to me as I go. I’ll need to ponder a bit more sometime. I am grateful that people on this road have asked me that question, “what did you bring that you didn’t need?”. I am so glad they asked. I imagine that art will keep coming to my mind at different points in my life. For now I just have some quick thoughts about why maybe I let the art supplies go.
Some initial thoughts and questions:
Am I holding on to an interest in art because I loved it in the past?
Do I just want a different medium for my art?
After having put so much thought into bringing those supplies why do I felt neutral leaving them behind?
Am I just tired? Will I feel like working on art when I get home?
Does this question really matter, can’t I just see what happens?
Here is my question for all of you reading this.
Is there anything in your metaphorical backpack that your haven’t used?
Here is a little bit about the past few days.
Leaving the cozy room to venture back on the path
I woke up feeling great after sleeping the entire day yesterday. Happy and healthy again on the road.
No left over effects of the food poisoning. Weather is fantastic today and we walked about 20 km to a really nice albergue. Colin decided it was worth looking at reviews after our last couple of albergues and it has paid off. We ended up in this one called albergue la Morena. Beautiful, well kept and welcoming. They have several room types and we opted for the dormitory bunk beds for €10 each. When we got upstairs we saw Marzia. A very nice surprise. She and I are the only women here and share the very beautiful bathroom. There are only a few other men, probably a total of 6 people. It is a bit strange since we saw so many people walking today. The path was very busy. I have a picture attached so you can see who is ahead of us. There were just as many behind.
At the albergue there are several others here who have opted for private rooms, including the older Dutch couple; Jan and Katharine. I am glad to see them again. They say Yogi is about a day behind us.
We had dinner with a German guy who has the same backpack as Colin. A bonding issue for men it seems as they are the only two on the Camino with this pack. I like my pack which seems to be worn by about 20% of the people I see every day.
April 18th. Wednesday
A gorgeous day. Long walk. 26 km. About 16.5 miles. Landed in a beautiful albergue. It is 8 mos old. €12 but worth it. A nice lounge area. And pod beds again with curtains. This is the first day I have had blisters and I blame it on the badger balm being used up. A woman from Holland, Sylvia, gave me some vaseline. I know that should work and if I find any essential oils I’ll add them.
We had a perfect day. It included a little time with the Dutch couple in the morning and a lot of time alone on the trail. Now we are in the albergue with our feet up in the shade drinking vino tinto. Nice people around us.
Good things today:
* great weather
* A supermercado that had a salad and other supplies I wanted.
* A perfect place to rest