No distance kilometres to share today, but I thought I might do a bit of reflecting and share some of my thoughts since leaving Spain yesterday.
On Saturday I flew to London to spend this week with eldest son, Phil and his lovely wife, Emma. I’m so pleased to not have to fly straight home after finishing the walk. It would be a difficult transition to go immediately back to normal, everyday life, despite being keen to get back to Jon, family and the familiarity of home. Winter and blueberry pruning, however, are not sounding terribly appealing right now!
It has already felt like a strange transition from the Camino life back to the ‘real’ world. The noise and bustle of Santiago was bad enough but London on a sunny Saturday of a Bank holiday weekend was overwhelming. What I really noticed was the stuff. We do fill our lives with an incredible amount of stuff. Living has been pretty simple for me for the last 40 days with only what I can carry on my back. You can’t buy much extra, either, if you have to carry it. A little bit of food and water and that’s it.
Now that I’m in a big city, surrounded by lots of stuff, part of me wants more, (spend some money, get something new… I did leave some spare gear with Phil and Emma so I can have a change from my everyday walking clothes), but another part of me wants to stay away from that superficial consumerism.
I have been pretty separated from the world while walking. Contact off the way was limited to mainly family, a few people through the blog, and a small amount of business that I couldn’t avoid dealing with. I barely looked at any news sites and didn’t see any Facebook notifications. I thought that if anything really important happened, one of my family would let me know.
I occasionally picked up snippets of news from watching the Spanish TV which was always on in any bar. I knew that something had happened in Manchester that appeared to be related to terrorism. I had no idea how horrific it was until Phil described it yesterday. I don’t think I have missed out on anything by not hearing the blow by blow accounts or analysis that always happens after such an event. I know that I will gradually get back into watching the evening news and reading the news sites, but it has been a good break. Maybe the break allows something to reset in your head, when you are away for a while and not be continually bombarded by the world of news and commercialism. So much seems so trivial and superficial. I hope that this does carry over to my normal life in that I will invest myself and my time into those things which have real value.
After our previous Camino, we returned to a very busy period of family and work happenings. Very soon afterwards, the time away was a distant memory. It seems that you can’t pay it forward when it comes to holidays and rest. You still need to continually take time out. It seems clear to me that I find the wild places to be very restorative. I will be wanting some times on my own, some opportunities to get back into nature, and to keep up my walking and fitness.
I haven’t necessarily discovered what the next stage of my life will look like but I can move ahead with a degree more confidence and courage. It’s now time to invest some more in my loved ones and relationships at home, and the things I am committed to there. Thank you to everyone who has kept things going in my absence. It’s probably good that we don’t necessarily know what new challenges lie ahead.
Today’s daily bible verse that came to my phone:
“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations— that’s what I had in mind for you.”
Jeremiah 1:5 MSG
This will probably be my last post for the time being. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting and encouraging, and putting up with my waffle!