The Camino Journey: An Update!
Well, it's been a long time since I last posted and boy has so much changed. I wanted to give an update because so many people contacted me from the Encounter Board to wish me well on my journey. I left for Biarittz on October 4th and made my way down to St Jean Pied de Port fully expecting to make it to Compostela in four weeks. The first two days were the hardest and yet the most inspiring. The Pyrenees were absolutely magical but ridiculously steep and to make my way over them was a personal triumph. My journey continued for 10 days until something very unexpected happened.
As those who have read Shirley's book on the Camino will know, meeting new people is part of the parcel of the journey and on the third day I met a very handsome American guy. We instantly clicked and though he wasn't gay, there was a real friendship between us that seemed to just spark the moment we met. I'd posted on the forum before I left that unrequited love was a big part of my leaving. On the journey, I realised that I fell in love so quickly and so deeply because I was a total wreck. I wanted someone else to make me feel whole, to give me confidence and make my life better for me. You guessed it, I fell for the American. When he decided to leave the trail on day 10, I followed him. Together, we travelled through France, Belgium and the Netherlands until finally he realised my feelings for him. He disappeared and suddenly I was there, alone.
And that's when it hit me. It didn't matter whether I was in Spain or Holland or London - unless I knew myself and came to love myself, to understand my own thoughts, feelings, spirituality, emotions, reactions - I'd always be following and I'd always be left alone. Instead of going home, I carried on travelling and in a way, I suppose I plotted my own Camino. Into Germany, onto Denmark and then to Sweden before returning home a month ago. Since that time, life is so different I hardly recognise it. I've lost 2 and a half stone (putting me back into a 30" waist and giving me enormous confidence!), I'm taking care of my body because I care about myself, emotionally I am secure and my friendship with my unrequited love may not be requited but the pain and hurt of it all has gone and I'm happy with our friendship because "just being friends" doesn't mean "not being family". I have a new job which I love and finally I know who I am.
So there we are, a very brief summary! I don't post this to say how great things are, really I just wanted to say three things: 1) Thankyou to all those on the board who supported me on my journey before I left (and those who thought of me during!). It's not the Camino I expected but it's one I will never forget. 2) To anyone thinking of doing the Camino - do it! You'll never regret it.
And 3) To Shirley who started the journey for me. You have no idea how indebted I am to you. I used your guided meditations every day on my travels and on my last night in Stockholm, I wrote a small note in my copy of your book on the Camino and took it to a local library. I really hope that it inspires other people to make their own Camino. I'm thrilled to be back, happy to be living life and can't wait to get stuck back into the forums!