After my first Camino in 2015 I was asked by a neighbor “What motivates you to want to walk 500 miles?” In addition to the obvious answers of the physical challenges and the historical perspective, I answered that I was curious to see if I could be alone. As one of seven children who married right out of West Point, I had had essentially had a roommate or two all my life. I was curious about how I would do with me alone.
Last year on the Camino Portuguese I had to come to grips with what alone really means. Since my return I have been on a search for self. After nearly 50 years of defining myself as a part of a whole, that reality was gone. Dealing with loss is thus so multifaceted. Yes it is about her and all the messy societal clean up closing accounts, renaming things, and the adds and things that never go away. The closet, the products for face and hair and nails, and the shoes. OMG the shoes! But then after all that, there is the dilema of who the hell am I. What are my likes and dislikes, what do I want to do with the runway I have left before I take off?
This trip is about that. If this makes any reader uncomfortable I apologize but writing it helps. I have discovered that I can be alone, that in some strange way I almost enjoy it. This six weeks will be the ultimate test. I am alone in Lisbon for 4 days, with dearest of friends and a tour group for two weeks, then alone in Madrid for four days, with Camino friends from last year’s trip for four days, alone again for 3 days and then on a cruise ship alone for 13 days. Film at 11.00!
I expect that this will be the test. By my return on 10 October I will either be well adjusted or a basket case. Stay tuned.
Tonight’s evening snack of sharp Portuguese goat cheeses and a bold wine may help. Thanks for listening.