**A quick reminder that if you want to be notified when I post, you can sign up to receive my posts by email by following the link on the right**
I apologize for the delayed post as somehow I went without any kind of cell service of wifi for the better part of the last 2 days. It's worth noting that we went through our biggest city to-date (Burgos: population 170k & home to Spain's largest Cathedral). I encourage you to see where I've been and check out the pictures on the "where I am and where I've been" link on the right. There you'll also see that we are rapidly approaching the 50% mark on our trek toward Santiago.
A very special shout-out to 3 people. Yesterday, September 11th is indeed a solemn day for our country, but in our family there is always much to be grateful for and celebrate on this day as well. Yesterday was my little brother's 22nd birthday (when did you get so OLD, David?!) and my grandparents 58th wedding anniversary! So please indulge me and join me in a belated toast to these remarkable people who have helped make this trip possible with their love and encouragement. I love you guys and I'm sorry I couldn't be with you!
Ok- sappy part over. Fair warning- my other (and more adventurous) half is leaving to do Kilimanjaro next week so Kevin, if you want to start a blog I'm sure you've got an audience here too!
NOW: where was I? Ah yes, 'would it be as good?'
Since my last post I've been traveling with a smart and funny young woman from California. (The Americans and the Irish in particular seem to cling together). We met when I realized she spoke English and that she is American after she finished a conversation in fluent Spanish. Turns out she's been in Madrid the past 2 years and has been teaching English. This not only means she's super handy to have around :-) on top of being a lot of fun, it also means she's teaching me some Spanish!
But perhaps out of all the insightful things she has shared with me was this one. As we swapped descriptions of our pains and strains she said this (and I'm paraphrasing):
Yes, the pain sucks. It hurts. It's unpleasant. But what if you walked 500miles and got to Santiago without it. Would the feeling be the same? Would it be as good?
Out of all the times I've tried to "offer up" my pain-- and there has been pain-- it never quite resonated the same way until she said that.
The answer is of course, no- I don't imagine that this experience would be nearly the same without the aches and the pains, which got me thinking. It probably wouldn't be nearly the same without the other 'negatives' too: self-doubt, exhaustion, etc. Overcoming these things is of course what makes the end of major chapters of life bitter sweet. And it is safe to say that the Camino will always be a major chapter in my life.
It's 9:30pm now and I am exhausted. I've walked 212 miles in the last 15 days which is almost hard to believe. The days are beginning to run together and my eyelids weigh almost as much as my pack, so I'll sign off: buenos noches mi amigos.