Man. Well that was something.
In a nutshell, we did indeed walk from St. Jean Pied du Port to Santiago de Compostella. After a pesky foot injury, I came very, very close to skipping a stage by bus, but somehow it just never happened. I’m not sure I’m proud of ignoring my body’s message, but my foot does seem to be healing, so there’s that. It took 34 days, spanned 799 kilometers, and required one roll of kinesthetic tape, several boxes of bandaids, one container of compede, almost a full container of an ancient salve for pilgrim joints and skin problems, an unknown number of bottles of wine and plates of patatas bravas, several midday beers, approximately four emotional meltdowns, and a lot of pep talks. Compared to my last Camino? The word that keeps coming to mind is: harder. My body, mind, and life is significantly different. Processing all the moments of beauty and all the days of endless difficulties is something I am only, slowing beginning to tackle. And writing it down feels a bit farther away. I can say for certain that the miraculous world of the Camino still provides all the love, protection, and support that anyone needs to get through the mountains of self-doubt and endlessly developing blisters the morning hours bring. But more on that later. For now, my emotional brain needs a snooze.
After many years of waiting, obsessive planning, and borderline-neurotic budgeting, I am finally a freelancer. On my first morning over here, I am currently one- for-one with showering, eating a proper breakfast, and putting on real-people clothing. Ben bought me a sweet little bird statue and I have decided that he is my freelancing mascot. I have yet to name him/her. Perhaps Carmella II–after my Camino walking stick that I had to leave behind in Santiago. She will be missed. Anyway, though I’m handling my panic quite well, this is all a bit terrifying–this whole “getting what you want and hoping it works out” thing. Three nights ago, I landed at JFK, bleary-eyed, confused, and crotchety after a full 24 hours of travel to get from a hotel room in Santiago de Compostella to the apartment I have dreamed of laying my eyes on for the past six weeks.
At the moment, I still feel odd even adjusting my eyes to the look of a computer screen. My brain has not required this type of focus since late June, and I’m shocked at how strange it feels to stare at one white square while trying to type this out.
So instead of totally freaking out at the freelancing task ahead of me, I’m starting with small, controllable steps. And when I reach the day (hopefully very soon) when I can genuinely begin to piece together the stories from my second Camino, this will be its immediate home.
Until then, this is where I’m at logistically: