It’s taken me a long time to finish writing about a journey that began a year ago. Part of me wants to continue to delve into my deepest thoughts and feelings about it and to continue blogging about each little section, but a bigger part of me wants to let it go and move forward.
My first journey was about letting go. I’ve determined that this one has been too. For two and a half years after my first Camino, I hung on to it so tightly like it was a lifeline to my happiness. The Camino was so entrenched in me that I cried almost daily for months afterward. It was like I was in mourning. I yearned to go back from the moment that I had left and when I returned, I thought it would be easy to recapture the same feeling. In my mind, the Camino had provided it. It wasn’t the same, but neither was I.
My first Camino triggered a process of letting go of old relationships and of an old way of life. It opened my eyes to how I could live. I didn’t have to stay on the merry-go-round day in and day out. I could get off. I could free myself from the mortgage that tied me down. Furthermore, I could get rid of furniture, give away stuff and quit a job that wasn’t fulfilling enough for me. I could say goodbye to the congested Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley and say hello to laid-back Vancouver Island and cultural Victoria. I could spread my wings and travel to far-off places and experience new cultures. I became liberated from the only life that I knew how to live because the Camino showed me something different. Specifically, it showed me that material things were not the most important. The less you carried the easier and more enjoyable the journey. The non-tangible things lifted me and propelled me forward; the camaraderie and friendship, the wisdom people shared, the strange synchronicity, and the moving spirituality. The lessons were not lost after I returned home. Less is more, became my new motto. I strongly believed in it because I had experienced it in the microcosm of life that the Camino was to me, so I purged.
Finally two and a half years later, I felt ready to return to the Camino, that magical place that taught me so much about myself. But, it would be different.
As much as the Norte was absolutely stunning, it wasn’t what I was looking for.
I didn’t find the Camino magic and the camaraderie there so I detoured to the French Way. Memories of my old journey poured in. They were all that I could see.
It felt as if I was painting over top of a beautiful canvas of memories by repeating my steps, so I stopped and bussed to Santiago.
Santiago felt like it was full of ghosts of my past Camino and when David and I took a bus to Finisterre, I didn’t feel like I belonged there. I didn’t even take photos of it. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even set foot inside the cathedral in Santiago, partly for the same reason, but mostly because it was sacred to my first journey.
It wasn’t until I got to Moratinos that I began to feel at peace.
I enjoyed my stay there and when I left and walked the Meseta with my friend Eric, I didn’t expect it to be the same.
We enjoyed our walk along the Meseta, especially when we were engulfed by a large herd of sheep!
Eric and I eventually parted ways in León. My mind’s eye had been set on the mountains in the north and the San Salvador route to Oviedo. The thought of walking in the mountains reminded me of a place that I really missed…home.
It’s funny that I was where I had yearned to be for so long, back on the Camino, yet I missed home. Maybe it’s because I had done the work that the Camino set in motion back in 2013. I had let go of an old life, the old relationships and made big changes that I am really happy with.
Victoria is a small cultural city nestled on the ocean. There are numerous tapas bars plus a lovely little French Bouchon and an old fashioned fish and chips stand just a short walk away from home.
For the last two years, I have belonged to a wonderful Latin dance community where I have learned to dance salsa, bachata, kizomba and even tango.
I’ve made many friends and spent time enjoying Vancouver Island’s great outdoors.
The Dirty Pants Gang (this is just a few of them below) is the most amazingly supportive and fun group of friends that I have ever had. We camp, hike, surf, dine and celebrate together often. Plus, someone is always there to help when I’m in a bind.
The University of Victoria is a wonderful place to work. They recognize my web skills and are utilizing them. The campus is only a 20-minute bike ride from my new home. Plus, it’s beautiful. Seeing deer on a daily basis is quite normal.
There is still more to achieve here at home, but the wheel is turning. My career transition is underway. Opportunities are arising. My living arrangements are comfortable. I have two lovely roommates and the house has positive, sunny energy. There are two heavy-duty juicers in the bright, yellow and white kitchen. My lifestyle is very healthy!
And, one day, although I enjoy my independence as a single woman, I want to fall in love with a man who shares my passion for adventure and the outdoors. It would be even better if he wants to explore the world from time to time!
So, when I missed home on my Camino, I understood that it was because I had created something worth missing. In order to see it, I had to leave it and return to the Camino, the place that, in my mind, held the prescription for my happiness. I finally realize that the Camino had just been the catalyst to spark the changes that I needed to go through during a sliver of time when the conditions were perfect for me to grasp its lessons. I am different now and so there is a different lesson.
My life now is a result of what I had envisioned and then created through the risks I took when I purged and left everything that was familiar. I have learned through this entire experience that the power to make my life what I want it to be has always been within me. My first Camino just gave me the courage to let go, so that I could build a new foundation.
What I was looking for on this Camino, I couldn’t find, because there was nothing for me to find there. My journey turned out to be about cutting the lifeline that the Camino was to me. I still love the Camino, but I can see that what I was looking for there, I already have here at home; camaraderie, friendship and a sense of belonging.
I’ve always felt that the Camino provides what one needs, even if it’s a challenge, especially if it is. This time was no different. The Camino works on you. Sometimes you don’t even realize that it is, or that it has already. Sometimes you don’t know it until you look back and see how far you’ve come.