Last night, I knocked up against a white fan shaped shell about the same size as the palm of my hand, that hangs from a rack in my bathroom. A red cross is hand drawn on it. It’s the one in the picture (along with a small selection of my hair products). For anyone who has been on a Camino in Europe, it’s a familiar sight. Camino is a Spanish word for path. In times past, weary pilgrims trudged the path – sometimes for 6 long weeks – trying to make a spiritual connection to themselves, their God and the world around them. All the while, people called from their houses “Buen Camino” (or good path). They still do today as I discovered on 2 short Caminos in Portugal and Spain.
I was a mere traveller rather than a pilgrim. Nonetheless, I learnt a lot about myself on those walks. Even when it revealed less than flattering truths, I felt more alive than I had for years. I wanted more of that feeling and I turned my life on its head a couple of years later. One of my big commitments to myself was that I would travel a lot more. I did get in trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Tennessee and Peru before COVID 19. Since then, in common with the rest of humanity, I’ve been grounded.
The fact that I can’t do what I want in a big way has led me to think more about what I want in small ways. I take joy in small pleasures – the pelicans where I live, the warmth when I wake up in the morning and the happiness I feel when I am teaching yoga. But is it enough? Like hell it is! I’d love to say that I am now fully committed to staying in one spot, learning to live. To be satisfied with my lot. But it isn’t true. As soon as the international borders open, I’ll be at the airport waiting to get away. From myself as much as anything. Happy to trade my non Camino for a Buen Camino almost anywhere, anytime.