We left Triacastela late in the morning after wondering around trying to find the pharmacy to get some medication to treat our usual 101 ailments you get from walking >25k every day for weeks on end. I couldn’t help but feel very excited today! The Magician, my Brother and I would be going to visit a community that was set up by a writer. In the community they ran short courses to help people learn about a number of different spiritual subjects ranging from meditation to telekinesis. I was nervous and very excited at the same time. As I’ve mentioned before I have a pretty bigoted view of communities and I was excited to learn more about them and hopefully get over my misplaced prejudice.
The Camino here separated into two different routes, we took the slightly longer route so that we could get to the community in the early afternoon. The walk was set in the beautiful green valley’s but traipsing on monotonous tarmac roads where I kept expecting to the hit by cars. It was hard watching my Brother today, he was clearly going through the part of his Camino where he was reflecting on his life. I just wanted to hug him all day, but it was clear he needed time alone to contemplate. The Magician and I bounced ahead till the late morning, till we all got lost up never ending steep tarmac hills to get to the community. Including going past some dogs that thought we’d make an appetising snack.
The community was everything I expected and not at the same time. When we came to visit someone was outside making a path, he kindly showed us around, taking us to the back. Here people were building a large yurt out of wood. They were volunteering their time to make the home for a couple that were moving their together. They were building a home for love, for no other reason, than they wanted to do something for someone else. The elements that were important to the group is that they always tried to have a moment together in the morning, and they ate together. Other than that, people helped to do the different things round the site, or ran courses as they wanted. The site was a large piece of land, with a HUGE old farm house that had been partially converted into a haven for pilgrims on the Camino. Little kittens and cats were running around the place with large trees covering half the area. You could literally feel the love from people leeching off everything. They just loved and cared about people and nature, there was no obligation, no sales pitch, no pressure, just a desire to share a life (free of the concepts of consumerism and capitalism). We didn’t stay for long, as to make our timeline we needed to keep walking onto Sarria. But to be honest, I felt pretty overwhelmed. Normally in my day to day life I have hundreds of judgements associated to money, the power, comfort and control that it gave me. I have never lived without it, and even the idea of trying to scared the [$681] out of me…. Here they were thrusting in my face that they had more happiness than I’d had with my expensive stuff and ex- husband…. It was bitter large pill to swallow.
After leaving the community I walked separately to the Magician and my Brother, trying to make sense of the community I’d experienced. The pressure of the idea that I needed to conform (to the idea of the white picket fence) versus the knowledge that conformity so far, hadn’t made me happy. In fact, if I really looked at people I struggled to see anyone who conformed had anywhere near the level of happiness the people in this community did naturally.
Walking into Sarria was exciting and sad. Sarria is a common starting place for the Camino for people. This is because it’s a simple 5 day walk into Santiago from here, and it gives you the minimum distance to get a certificate to say you’ve ‘done’ the Camino. This would be the beginning of meeting the numerous ‘Tourino’s’. Now Tourinos are basically tourist pilgrims who are walking the walk to tick a box and get a pretty certificate. As a group of people they have a pretty bad reputation as being very irritating. Because it’s pretty annoying having someone who’s only walked 3 days tell you how ‘spriritual and hard’ their walk is, especially when you’ve been doing it for several weeks… One of the key phrases I would keep repeating though, is that everyone has a different Camino, whether its 1 day or several months. People get from the Camino what they need to (they might not always want what they learn from it), but that’s what it is.