I was asked if I was happy that I made this trip, if I’d do it again, and what I would change if I were to do it all over again.
All the same questions I’ve been mulling over in my head, day in and day out, watching the kilometers rack up on my watch while I had nothing else to do but think as I trudged along in the rain, alone.
I needed this walk. Needed to push myself as hard as I could and yet still know there’s more in me. I could have kept going, could have walked all the way to the end of Spain, turned around and walked back even.
It makes me happy to know I have that ability, at least physically. Yeah, I’m tired right now. But that’s not what made me stop.
"If I’d do it again?" No, the question is not, "If?" It’s when.
I’m coming back, no doubt in my mind. I’ll pick up at Conques next time and finish France. I’ll walk across Spain too. Maybe on the same trip, or maybe a different time.
And then I’ll start somewhere else and I will walk from there. I’m destined to be one of those pilgrims who walks the Camino again and again. It’s that meaningful to me.
I hadn’t expected the loneliness, though. I thought I’d find others.
So, next time, I will walk with someone. It doesn’t have to be a love, or family, or even a close friend. Just company.
Someone who wants to be there, who is searching or struggling, or not. Who just wants to experience the Camino and appreciate it.
I certainly didn’t help myself any when I refused to bend to the French methods and would not book my accommodations ahead. Next time, I will concede to the world around me instead of stubbornly trying to force the world to fit my needs.
Oh, and while I’m at it, I’ll enjoy it just a little bit more if by chance, next time, it didn’t rain the whole damn way.