Although Andrew is young, nearly 28, he has been my closest companion on the Camino so far.
To give you a little background, he is from the Bavarian part of Germany near Munich. He’s got an accent, but speaks excellent English. He told me there are two ways of speaking German. He says the Bavarian German way is much smoother than the other German way. He spoke both ways to give me an example of what they sound like, but to me they both sound neat and I get a kick out of hearing him speak them; I have been used to him speaking English since I met him last week.
We made a connection quite quickly and because of that we learned some of the more private details of each other’s lives such as our current and past relationships. We talked in depth about them. He’s been able to help me see some of what I need to deal with here. Because this is the more personal content of our discussion I won’t write any further about that.
Back home in Germany Andrew wears lederhosen while playing his trumpet as part of a Bavarian concert band. He is creative and is also an actor.
For seven years he worked in the insurance business, but got tired of it. He feels like there is something more he should be doing, so he quit his job and is now considering the energy field. He is the type of guy who would rather be a leader than a follower so I imagine whatever he ends up doing he will be the decision maker or the business leader. He is likely to have an exciting and not so normal life. Look what he’s doing now – out soul searching on the Camino!
He has been extremely entertaining and funny – someone I have looked forward to communicating with; however I have also discovered how complex and mysterious he is in his way of thinking. He is very analytical and spends a lot of time trying to figure out what makes people tick – what they think and why they act the way they do. He also analyzes himself in the same way in his search for answers. For example, could the blisters on his feet be a result of not letting go of some things in his life? Maybe.
After I told him about my first day on the Camino when I cried as I sat on the floor of the albergue by the front desk and how many emotions came up for me, he said he hoped for that kind of experience for himself – more of them for me as well. The Camino for me is about letting go and I think that’s what he is wishing for too.
Andrew is also videotaping and journaling about his journey in the morning, at points throughout the day and in the evening. They are more commentary style clips I believe. So, because of this we always started out on our daily walks individually meeting up at some point in the day, however this routine is now ending.
He is on a time limit to get to Finisterre so he wants to walk the Camino to Santiago including Finisterre before October 25th – fast! He has a concert the day after he gets back. He won’t allow himself a peregrino scallop shell until he is successful in reaching the ocean at Finisterre where he plans to surf. His beard isn’t coming off until he makes it either.
His challenge, though, are his feet – the terrible blisters. He’s got blisters underneath his blisters. For him, right now, getting to the end is the most important thing and I get it. I’m not sure I would feel my journey would be complete either if I didn’t physically make it, BUT what I am beginning to learn is that the Camino challenges you and breaks you down.
Maybe getting to the physical end, Santiago or Finisterre, isn’t the actual destination for a journey like this. Maybe it’s more complex or personal than that. Maybe it’s more about reaching a destination inside one’s self. How one gets there, only the Camino can guide and give clarity. I know I don’t have it yet and I don’t think Andrew does either, so we’ll just keep walking the way until we figure it out.
I have thoroughly enjoyed Andrew’s company. I hope and wish for him to make it and I hope he discovers what he needs to about himself. I hope he has that Camino moment that really shakes him up. I respect him immensely and hope to hear of his success. He’s my good Camino buddy and I have a very special place for him in my heart. It’s not every day you walk the Camino and meet someone on it who makes such an impact.
Walk well my friend. Buen Camino and I hope to bump into you again at some point along the way.