I´m heading out of this gorgeous station in Porto, Portugal to catch an overnight train to Madrid, a sleeper. I can count on the fingers of one hand my overnight trains– once to Paris, once to Cochin in South India, and now once to Madrid. There is always a romance to it, even if it´s just a little sleeping berth. I want to wind up my Camino posts to you. I am not really sure I can answer all your questions. The ones about art and change will have to play out in the future.
I talked for a long time to Koos, a South African now living in Switzerland. He hiked from Geneva to Logrono, Spain… 1200 km? A long way, anyway. He did not finish the Camino in a classical sense, yet I was struck by our similarities in experience.
What I want to say to you is this. On the Camino, every day is like a world. Koos and I both had the experience of worlds of thought and contemplation opening through the walking. I see each day of the Camino like a drop of clear water teeming with event, yet magnifying a certain aspect of thought. Connections are made. You are walking in nature, so it´s healthy; beauty and your physical movement work together to support you. Only connect. It´s better, for me, than writing in a notenook or talking to someone.
It´s as if you walk further into your purpose. We lack the time for contemplation in our lives. Walking is one way to give that time back. I believe it makes a difference that we name it a pilgrimage, and to do it for a month or more. The historical and religious resonance supports us and makes it sacred. Everyone gets something different according to their needs; my insights might interest you, but they won´t be yours.
I´m winding up my trip now and may not write again, but I may store away some impressions for you from the Prado. I doubt I can walk through the world´s great museums as gracefully as I did through the days of the Camino, but I can try.
We both had the experience of childhood memories comin g up. Thereºs time to really think about them. You are supported by the activity, so the deep emotions can come up and go through you as you walk. Many people report memories. And you slowly have the chance to observe how you order your world, to take little signs and signals from nature, or from the Great Mind, or God.
My next door neighbor Neil is walking the Pacific Crest Trail for five months. I wonder if the experience is similar?
We both carried with us a list of three goals. They are private: I won´t share them with you, and he didn´t share his with me. Slowly, as you carry these things with you as you might an object in your backpack, they may transform. New metaphors, meanings, and interpretations of your life occur, all within the great open book of nature.
I think it´s important that we name it a pilgrimage. ^The historical and religious resonances support us and gives it a lovely weight. And it´s important to go for a month or more.
I went with the love, support, and daily Facetime conversations with my husband Scott. Scott, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.
Thank you to my readers and those who have responded. You are part of my proof of a gloriously generous universe. Suzanne