Several people have asked me how I blogged while I was on the Camino: Did I take a computer? An iPad? Use just my phone? When did I find the time to write?
I think I attempted to answer some of these questions while I was away, but I always intended to give more thorough answers when I got home. While I was on the Camino, I always saw and read the comments left on my blog, but my replies were sporadic. There were technical glitches, too: sometimes people would leave a comment, I would attempt to ‘approve it’, and it would disappear. That happened to a post or two of mine, as well.
So this is a very long overdue apology but also thank you to everyone who read my blog (and are continuing to read!). I know that I’m writing to an audience (albeit a pretty small one), but writing is such a solitary thing. I think of a topic and I work it out in my head and I sit down to write and I hit the ‘publish’ button… and then sometimes I forget that other people actually read what I say.
But ever time I get a reminder of that- that someone is reading this blog, that someone can relate, that it sparks an idea for someone else- I still get a thrill. There are lots of reasons that I write, and community and connection continue to have a great deal of importance to me.
I loved blogging while I was on the Camino. It was fun to write about all of my preparations in the months leading up to the trip to Spain, but it was pure joy to write while I was on ‘the way’. I wanted to write every single day, both for myself and for everyone who chose to follow my blog. I wanted to record my experiences and feelings for my own sake, but to take all of you along on the journey, as well.
But boy oh boy was it difficult to find time to blog. I tried to write in my journal on most days as well, and managed this fairly easily during my early morning cafe con leche stops. Usually I’d find a bar that wasn’t too crowded, and scout out a table that was tucked away in a corner so I could sip my coffee and pull out my journal and write. Sometimes others sat with me, but mostly people saw that I was writing and left me alone.
Blogging was different. I blogged in the late afternoons or evenings or nights, but this time of day was also ‘social time’. Sometimes I was able to sit in a courtyard and write, while others napped or read or did yoga. But often, just as I found a table or a shaded spot under a tree, set up my little keyboard (more on this in a minute), and started to type, someone would come by. Or many people would come by. And usually, I found that I didn’t want to be tucked away by myself, but that I would want to join in on the conversation or the fun. I decided that blogging could wait.
In the end I didn’t have time for it all: to socialize and to post every day. But I tried my best. Some of my posts were written late at night, sitting on the cold floor of an albergue hallway next to an outlet. Or from my top bunk, typing away when I should have been sleeping. Many posts were written on the days that I “got away”, when I found a small village with pilgrims I didn’t know. One post was written sitting around a large round table in a restaurant on the Meseta, while a dozen others watched the final World Cup soccer match.
Something that helped my blogging immensely was a gift from a friend: a bluetooth wireless keyboard. It was light and small and folded up smartly into a little case. Durable and practical. I’d clip my phone into a stand on the case, unfold the keyboard, and type away as easily as if I had my laptop in front of me.
The keyboard, in addition to helping me blog, also attracted a great deal of attention. I think that every single person who saw me use it had a comment to make. I can’t begin to count the number of conversations I had as a result of that keyboard, or the number of people I met because of it. A Danish woman asked if she could take a photo of it (a lot of our conversation was lost in translation, but she was so thrilled about the keyboard that she kept clapping her hands and laughing), and an Italian man shook his head and said, “Of course. The Americans always have all of the new technology.”
I’m happy that I kept a blog while I was on the Camino, and if I ever do another Camino (can’t get the idea of the Norte out of my head!!), you’d better believe I’ll be blogging while I’m on that one, too.