This was the end of my Camino, and the day that I would have walked over 1,000 miles. I’d started my journey with a number of expectations on the solitary nature of my walk, but the universe had other plans and I’d spent nearly my entire journey with the Magician. Nearly the entire walk we’d marveled over how we’d been brought together or the continued coincidences of our lives. One friend on the Camino said walking here was like walking through a muddy river, each day the sediment in the river settles more and more, and eventually you are left with clear water.
There is no dramatic, instance change from walking on the Camino. However the continual change that you gain from the continued physical steps your body takes on this journey, means then person who started the walk, is not the one that finishes it. I’d started the walk with a huge number of expectations. I planned on walking 3 Camino’s at the beginning, meaning I had a physical goal of walking about 20 miles a day (or 30k a day). After beginning the walk in France though I noticed there is a dramatic cultural difference between the French and other cultures. The French stopped to enjoy lunch, admire the views. Whereas others were focused on getting to the next stop as soon as possible, getting up as early as possible and only taking a 15 minute break for lunch. After walking to the Magician’s pace, I slowly stopped waking at 7am, because I wanted to start walking at 7:30 to walk for as long as possible. I started to slowly enjoy a nice coffee with my morning croissant. I started to enjoy the leisurely nature of lying in the sun and eating a slow lunch and just breathing in the fresh air. I stopped craving the achievement of goals. Realising that getting a goal or achievement never made me happy. As neither did getting the promotions at my work, having a fancy house or the latest gadget. The happiest days of my life before this had been when I was earning peanuts and surfing in the Devon sea several times a week.
After getting off the bus in Santiago, the Magician and I settled into a local family’s spare room for the night. It was the first times we were looking at each other with relief and knowledge that we would be starting a new adventure soon. We’d met a lot of people who’d walked the Camino and at the end of it had then become lost in what to do next. As all of a sudden, the daily routine of getting up to walk had disappeared. As the dark sky settled over us we went running off for our dinner with my Little Sister and her Texan. Seeing that in the interim of the last time we’d seen them, their love had only blossomed. Now they were looking towards what would be next for them, as their Camino was almost over as well. The night was spent telling jokes and drinking too much.
In the morning we got up early to meet for breakfast. As I bounced up towards our meeting place I felt my feet were light. My legs weren’t tired. They wanted to keep moving. The only thing in conflict was the Magician’s and my plans for a project together. But my previous vapid thoughts of walking the Appalachian trail in the USA was still there. The Camino had only started to seed this love of long walks. Dread started to grow within me. The Magician and I were talking of starting our project together. But now I was finding the dreams I’d had before hadn’t disappeared. As we spent the morning together saying goodbye to our Camino family, a tension started to build between the Magician and I. This only deepened as we got onto the bus to Porto. We were to spend a couple of days together, before flying home. Then shortly after the Magician would come to England to meet my family. What would my family think of him? What would they think of our joint project? Who was the non- Camino Magician? And would this person accept the non- Camino me? Did I even know who this person was? And in the back of my mind, against all of this was the question, what would this mean to my growing dream to walk the Appalachian trail?