camino de santiago, change, grief, Walking

The Camino Changed

Before today we could walk a whole day without encountering another pilgrim. Today, however, that changed. In order to receive the certificate of completion in Santiago, one has to get two stamps a day starting at 100k which comes just after Sarria, the town we were in last night. Overnight the Camino exploded. A youth group from North Carolina, a school group from somewhere in Spain (I think), lots and lots of couples and families…

We walked fast to get past a pack, we slowed down to allow others to pass us — after about 5 hours of walking I finally felt some peace. However, by then, I was over it. My energy changed today too. I didn’t sleep much last night, it’s hot out, and my body is starting to feel the impact of what I’ve done so far. In fact, when I took my shoes and socks off I discovered a heat rash all over my toes and the tops of my feet.

I’m tired. I could’ve fallen asleep on the wood floor after I showered had I been left alone. That is tired for me!

So, I felt the Camino change today.

But, I don’t know why I’m surprised by that. If the Camino is a reflection of life, of course it changes.


Nanny died two days ago. Tomorrow is the visitation, Friday is the funeral. My family (in-laws) will be together and I’ll be here… in Spain… walking. I thought about Nanny today while I walked. The longest time we spent together alone was a year and a half ago during my sabbatical. She figured since I wasn’t working then I had time to craft with her 😉 We went to a craft mall then had lunch together. After that we went to Joann’s. It was during that outing that my doctor called to tell me about my infertility.

Although I didn’t share that news with her, she will always be connected in my mind with that moment. She distracted me when all I wanted was to fall apart. She just wanted someone to shop with her, to talk crafts and spend time together. So that’s what I did. My best memory with Nanny.


It’s appropriate that today was hard. Meg is moving, Nanny died. The challenges of the Camino reflect the challenges of life.

I woke up sad and I may go to sleep sad. However, tomorrow will be a new day. I hear it’ll be another hard (maybe harder?!) day on the Camino. Likewise life may be hard too. I just keep walking because that’s all for me to do out here.

Walk and remember. Walk and remember.

The Camino reminds me that life changes, that life keeps moving no matter what. So, I keep moving no matter what.


We made it to the 100k marker today…less than 60 miles to go!
We may be faking those smiles…

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