The Inner Camino

I’m sitting here in the Santiago bus station, waiting for the express bus to Portugal. I thought I’d take a moment to share with you some thoughts about my Camino. I made a list of reasons to walk before I left, and reflected on them as I walked. But I’m one of the lucky ones. Two of the main reasons I walked were out of gratitude for my beautiful life, and for enjoyment.

People walk for many reasons. Many are in the midst of personal catastrophe, change, or deep loss. I met a woman who, in the midst of recurring cancers, was left by her husband for another woman. She had never been alone in her life, having married young. Her pain was tangible, but walking seemed to be keeping her positive in a way nothing else could. She said in amazement, “I still have my life. ” Another man carried the picture of his wife on the back of his pack. She passed away a few days before their 50th wedding anniversary. He was walking joyously in her honor. Several people were carrying remains of loved ones with them.

This post has now crashed twice on me, and I’ve lost blocks of writing. But I’ll try one more time to continue.

Dear readers, could you help me out by posting questions in the comments column? I am feeling like Someone doesn’t want me to write right now. According to my experimental theory of staying in the flow, this means I should stop writing and do something else. Go ahead, ask me any question you are curious about: packing list, physical aspects, emotional questions. Be personal. I’ll answer everything in the next post, and share more about my inner Camino. Please help me out, and I’ll answer all in the next post. Buen Camino, Suzanne


28 thoughts on “The Inner Camino

  1. Dear Suzanne,
    I need to go to bed now, but felt called to respond to your call … I’m someone who has historically had trouble raising money (although I’d like to change that!) and so I’ve never returned to Spain after being born and adopted there. I left when I was about two and a half, and have never managed to get back. So my question is very concrete: about how much money would you say one would need to raise to get there and do the Camino – not necessarily plush, but not starving either. I have no frame of reference for estimating!
    Also, after your carefully considered packing, is there anything you would have been content to leave at home?
    Also, did you have any notable dreams on the Way?
    Thanks so much for sharing your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (dagnabbit, lost my comment. try again!)

    dear Suzanne,
    Although it’s late and I need to go to bed, I’m feeling called to respond:
    Questions – first, a very concrete one about money – how much would you say one would need to raise to walk the Camino, not starving, but not opulent. I have no context for estimating this! I was born and adopted in Spain, and have never managed to raise enough money to get back – I’m sure there are other reasons operating in my psyche as well, but the money is the obvious obstacle. So I want to start by getting clear about how much I’d need to do it.
    Second, after your carefully considered packing, was there anything you’d have been content to leave at home, from the perspective of one who has finished?
    Third, did you have any notable dreams while on the Way?

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey! I would love to visit with you when you return.

    Buen viajes!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had no idea you were walking for gratitude and enjoyment. What did you learn about yourself and the world? And did walking generate ideas about the future? For awhile, what next has been walk several kilometers and then get rest of food, but now that the camino is over, what next?


  4. Dear Suzanne,
    Its the next morning here and I expect you’re in a different frame of mind. Do you have any regrets about your camino? What did you learn about yourself with all of that alone time?
    When are you home?


  5. Martin sheen had the star role in the film
    the Way, directed by his son. Your trip so
    Reminded me of this beautiful film.
    Tom STANG


  6. Dear Suzanne,
    We have missed you at SOFA. I have really enjoyed all of your postings as they have given me and Liz a new perspective on our own plans for a Camino in our future. I think everyuone has to do it at their own pace and for whatever reasons inspired them to take it on; it’s all good. We loved your photos but most of all the wonderful watercolors you did. Thank you!


  7. Hi ..I am a good friend of David Short..he has been forwarding your postings to me at my request
    I walked the Camino 3 times..every step from beginning to end. It means the world to me…………. as do your beautiful insightful writings. Please continue..and I’d love to chat.
    the worst part of the Camino is when it’s over…you’ll see…..
    ♡♡♡♡ Linda


  8. hi suzanne, can’t believe you are at the end of the camino! i have looked forward to reading about and living your adventure vicariously with you through each blog. i will miss walking with you! i love the photos, the insights, the journal sketches and imagining the inner travels and imagine myself doing the walk one day. i have a million questions but mainly i want to thank you for sharing your adventure with all of us. love and hugs from an open studio visitor and fan. ann


  9. Hi Suzanne,
    I’m sorry you are having such difficulties with the technology. I can tell your flow gets interrupted. Maybe that means to just write for your self–as much as we all are enjoying your posts, you can share with us later. I’d like to hear more about what was on your list for reasons why to make the pilgrimage. Enjoy every last drop of your time, and we’ll see you soon.


  10. Hi Suzanne,
    I do not remember your age but if you are near to me it is possibly your second saturn return? Have you looked at your transits for this walk? Message me your birth info and I can check your transits. Must be some kind of Saturn/Jupiter experience. Enjoy Portugal. Will you go to Lisbon?


  11. How long did you plan for the trip? What were the three things you used/enjoyed the most (not counting iPad, sketch book or hiking boots)? How will you apply your Camino philosophy to the road off of the camino? Do you feel more spiriually connected now? Will you be seeking more alone time than pre-camino? How has your trip influenced your art? Would you recommend walking the Camino with a loved one, or alone? Would you walk it again?


  12. Dear Suzanne,

    I don’t know if I have a question so much as an observation, an appreciation. I’m struck by the serendipitous convergence of our respective trips, and of the other ways walking has come into my life. You and I departed around the same time, and as you were walking the roads of the Camino, I was walking the cobblestone streets of Prague, which I found, to my surprise and delight, to be the most magical place I’ve ever been besides camp. My trip was only ten days long, but the feelings of magic, of possibility, of spontinaety and artistic inspiration I felt in Prague were rekindled each time I read your blog back here at home.

    At the same time, I’ve been following the journey of the journalist Paul Salopek, who is walking the route believed to be the one human beings took out of Africa. And an artist’s practice book I’m working with insists on at least one small, slow, contemplative walk a day. This way I’ve seen things in my neighborhood that I haven’t noticed in years of living here.

    I’ve always disliked walking. Because of the injured arch of my left foot, it’s been a painful way to move through the world, almost since I first learned to walk. Despite myself, I find that the theme of my summer–artistic, spiritual, and practical–is walking, and for the first time in my life, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for it. Following your journey helped make that happen.

    So, I thank you. For sharing your experience; for posting beautiful pictures that eased the ache of my loss of the views of Prague; for injecting a bit of creative inspiration and nature’s beauty into my summer, the first one in ten years where I didn’t go to camp, which is often my only nature adventure of the year. As I walked “with” you, I felt something of the grounding and inspiration I usually count on getting while walking the labyrinth.

    If I were to ask you a question, it would be: what will you bring back with you from the journey? How, if at all, did it make you want to change your life at home, and how would you make that change? These are the questions I always find myself asking of myself after camp, and which I found myself asking after my Prague adventure as well.

    Buen Camino,

    Liked by 1 person

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