Before we left the Bonheure we had handmade stamps created for our Camino passport. The Camino Passport is a nice memento of your route. It’s also used as evidence for the length you walked, when you collect your certificate from Santiago Cathedral at the end. The stamp from the Bonheure is easily my favorite, as each stamp is unique to each person.
In the morning we said an early goodbye to my French Camino Mummy, as she wanted to walk alone. I reflected on the night, her courage to say, ‘Ah you’re having a massage, great, you can rub my toes too’. She is a French teacher in England, so she was a rare French woman fluent in English. In addition to this, she had also had a number of other careers. This struck me, as I’d left my job to get some time out of my career. My family had been very concerned that I shouldn’t do this, as how could I find a job again after this? How would I explain this? But maybe the question should really be what can I do and what would I enjoy. Not how much money and prestige can I get.
We walked out into beautiful sunshine together. The Magician and I talked long and heavily about the possibility of opening a Donativo (similar to the Bon Heure). There was something in all of this that was just not sitting right with me. I thought there’s lots of ways to make a life out of this. But all would take time and investment. The Magician was openly talking about that there were a number of things he didn’t enjoy and therefore wouldn’t do. I could see how it would be very easy to fit into a pattern of picking up anything he wouldn’t, and that could be too much for just me. The thought kept coming back into my head, when would I do my writing? Would I just sacrifice my sleep again as I’d done during my career. It just didn’t seem like the right solution. Something didn’t feel congruent in myself and I didn’t feel like I could be open with the Magician about this. As even a slightly question from me on whether a Donativo was the right commercial model immediately brought out his argumentative side.
The walk today was hot and sunny. The landscape started to take on a mellow yellow colour to everything. This made it almost perfect to walk in, but completely out of keeping for the October month in France. We walked passed Nogaro, which was a small town with an 11th Century Romanesque church. Everything we saw in villages and towns started to take an almost repetitive feel and we passed it by without notice, other than to fill our ever depleting water supply.
We ended the day at a Gite recommended to us by the owners of the Bon Heure (near Lanne- Soubiran). My thoughts on what my life would be after my year of travelling was only compounded by the contrasting people we met this evening at the Gite. There was a man my age, who was walking the entire Camino and back in 3 months (from Leon). To do this, he had to hit an average of over 35K every day. All because he needed to get back to Leon to start his new job. Then there was an English couple. The man in the couple had walked the Camino 3 years before, and just stayed on at a Donativo right at the end of it, as it felt right for him to stay there. And he’s never really left it.
My thoughts whirled deep into the night on this, running round and round in my head. No escape route found for them.