It seemed like a great idea, but the descent into Zubiri in the pouring rain really tested the relationship……….
Even though I’d known my walking companion for years.
He’s a really interesting character with an unpronounceable Chinese name, so he goes by the nickname ‘Bean’. Originally from China, he’d moved to Thailand where we first met and he now lives in Sydney, my home town.
We did training walks together. And were Camino ‘buddies’ from the outset.
We were going to spend 40 days together, and looked forward to the experience and the bonding.
The long flight, the stopover in Paris and journey to St Jean were all without incident. No hint of the strains that our relationship would be under at times. We just enjoyed the journey and the anticipation of getting underway.
Mind you, ‘Bean’ is the quiet type and it’s hard to know what he’s thinking at times. Most of the time in fact!
Maybe I should have sensed this was not going to be an easy journey, on Day 1?
Tomas had a profound impact on me.
But Sharing Camino friends might not always work
If you’ve been in relationship for a long time, you probably have your own friends as well as mutual friends. And your friends are probably quite different from your partner’s friends. …
I’m sure the same happens on the Camino. You ‘click’ with others of a certain type.
But what if you walked your first Camino alone. And your second with your ‘life partner’? And along the way you dropped in to visit a really good friend. This happened to me last month.
Would Pat like him? Or just think he was some ancient weirdo that she could not really engage with? That was my dilemma.
But I took a chance. And a degree of risk. After all, introducing those with whom we have formed strong bonds, is really a reflection of us too, isn’t it?
For the sake of telling the story I will change names and places to avoid hordes of people seeking out Tomas. I’m not sure he would appreciate all the attention.
I met him during my first Camino last year. I walked a very slow Camino. I mean really slow.
It took me 40 days to get from St Jean to Santiago. And even then I had to jump forward a day to make up time.
I was mulling over this question as I ducked out of the little bed and breakfast early. Today was going to be a ‘big’ day and I hadn’t slept well. I needed a strong coffee from the cafe nearby….. The coffee was just what I needed and I grabbed another one to take with me. When I got to the room Pat was still asleep. I sat quietly by the bed and took in the scene. You must have done it too? Watched your partner sleeping…. Her jet black curls and olive skin were a stark contrast with the pristine white sheets and pillow. She seemed deep asleep. Maybe dreaming ? Don’t worry, it’s not going to be ‘that’ type of story….. I settled back with my coffee and pondered that question again….. walking alone versus walking with a partner. I’d have time to think it through. She wouldn’t wake for another hour or two. You see, last year I had the luxury of walking a Camino alone. From St Jean to Santiago. A slow journey of 40 days. And one of the questions I pondered last year was the sense of selfishness that I felt. Taking 40 days out. All for me. Whilst others were left to ‘mind the store’. But it was a fantastic experience. I loved it. I was totally unplugged from my work and everyday life, other than a brief online call with my wife Pat each day. Her father was sick you see, and I guess that added to my feelings of guilt a bit. So I tried at least to give moral support on the phone each day. Even though I felt I should be at home, Pat kept insisting that I complete my Camino ‘for both of us’. And to be honest, I loved the time alone. To reflect and ponder and just enjoy the journey. It was amazing. I won’t go into it all now though. I even made a mini movie to share the experience! (Link Here) http://robscamino.com/robs-journey/ So…..This year I was walking with Pat. …. A shorter Camino. Just from Sarria. Pat wanted a ‘taste’ of the Camino without committing to 800 kms! Now Pat, well she’s a city...
Not Much… I really enjoy looking back on this Blog. It brings back very clearly the emotions and feelings at the time I was walking. It’s also valuable to re-read the ‘Post Camino’ Blog posts, as it helps me assess where I was at, and where I thought I was heading…..against where I actually am now.
For Pilgrims ending their Camino in Santiago, or indeed just passing through, then Pilgrim House is a welcome little Oasis for you. At the end of my first Camino I dropped in their to get some laundry done and discovered what a ‘gem’ it is.