Dory on the Camino

I spoke in my last post about simplicity.  On a loosely related note, just over a week into my walking adventure I’ve begun to notice something about the changes in my thoughts when I’m walking long distances, exacerbated on the Camino I believe by how interested I am in the people I’m walking with and the nature I’m surrounded by.

When walking a stretch with someone else, Exploradora or a friendly pilgrim who I’ve struck up a conversation with, I’m fully in the conversation and it doesn’t matter if it lasts six minutes or sixty.  No phone pinging or ringing, screen glaring in my sight line or somewhere else to get to in twenty minutes that makes me mentally ration my time while I’m ‘listening’.

When walking alone I do have some profound, sentimental and/or moving thoughts and insights.  I just wanted to get that on record before I give you a typical transcript of my Dory-like* mental process on the Camino (I’d like to return home with some personal and professional integrity in tact).

What a beautiful sky, and what a view of Pamlona from this height, how lucky I am to be here (welling up a little). Who would have thought that ‘bad year’ when I was unwell I’d be doing this (sniff, wipe tear away)………….(some seconds later)……………Is that rabbit poo? Or it could be from a fox, I saw one yesterday…………Hmmm, I must set my intention for the day………..Did I pack enough snacks? Or plasters?  My ankles are chafing……………………Ow, a loose rock………………Another fe**in hill, seriously?……………………I’m thirsty………..Is that the Hungarian from day 1?…………………… How does that girl look so glamorous on the Camino?…………….Nearly stood on that snail, I’ll move it under this bush……………………………..I wonder how far away Alto del Perdon is?  My shin hurts………………………Ooo, lovely poppies………………………………………………….I’ll need a pee soon…………..Interesting, almonds grow in furry pods……………………………..God bless you vines for your grapes, fresh and fermented.  Red with dinner tonight I think………………………….Why do I still call them cow bells when horses are wearing them…….?”

This typical mental dialogue may well be followed by minutes on end of next to nothing of significance going on in my brain, purely working on navigating the path, road or gravel ahead and taking in my surroundings without feeling any need consciously or subconsciously to delve any deeper than that.

I could conclude that I’m just a simple sort with little gravity to her thoughts but I’ll choose to take a kinder perspective.  Walking is my therapy, as I believe it is for many other pilgrims/ ramblers/ hikers, and as long as I can do it it always will be.  Instead of forcing anything I can just go with what’s right for me at the time.  I can think deeply and process situations or emotions when it feels right or I can take life lightly and as it comes too.  I’m mentally taking note to remember to maintain this flexibility of thought post Camino, especially when I don’t have the luxury of time for a long walk.

Modern life can create a sense of urgency to grasp pockets of time and squeeze in ‘meaningful moments’: intense conversations when time is short and you and loved ones are frazzled, the pressure to ‘let go and relax’ right now because it’s Christmas time/ that holiday you’ve saved for months for/ that spa treatment you’ve squeezed in on a busy day.  Instead of just letting moments be.

Exploradora and I have talked a lot so far on the Camino about being a Human Being rather than a Human Doing.  More on that later, we’re works in progress.  And she’s almost finished hand washing my t-shirts (the girl’s a saint) so I’d better shift myself and get presentable for another highly affordable tasty pilgrim dinner.  A sure fire way to temporarily forget the shin splints and aching joints.

(PS the Dory reference is from the movie Finding Nemo, she’s a blue tang fish with a ten second memory. Watch it if you haven’t already, time well spent).

For now, buen Camino!

2 thoughts on “Dory on the Camino

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