I just took a shower in my apartment, and my hair feels clean- truly clean- for the first time in a month and a half.
Right now I’m marveling a bit at the normalcy of this: sitting on my couch with my porch door open, a breeze blowing through my living room, the sound of the fountain trickling outside. I woke up this morning and didn’t know where I was: I looked around my room and everything was familiar but my brain couldn’t figure it out. After a minute it came together; I was home.
For the past several weeks I’ve craved a morning like I just had- sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee and nowhere to go, nothing to do. (well, the first thing I had to do this morning was to put on my shoes and take a walk to the nearest food store to get supplies to make coffee. My car is at my parents house so I have limited options… but at least I just finished a pilgrimage across Spain so walking to find coffee wasn’t a big problem). In any case, I’ve loved this morning. I got very used to all the traveling, the packing and unpacking of bags, a different bed every night, but having some routine and comfort back is welcome.
And yet. One of the first things I did after I sat down with my coffee was to start thinking about how to get back to Europe, or how to do another Camino. It’s all just thoughts at the moment, because for now I need to be back (and I need to make some money). But my traveling this summer- and certainly the Camino- has had a profound impact on me.
There has been so much on this trip that I’ve wanted to write about, and a lot in the last few weeks (Finisterre! The Côte d’Azur! Provence! Paris! Iceland again!), and I’ll get to some of it. I also want to write more about my experience on the Camino, and my thoughts now that I’m back. So there will be more to come.
But for now, right now, I just want to appreciate that I’m back home. When I passed through customs as I was flying out of Iceland, the man working behind the counter asked how long I’d been in Europe.
“How long?” I paused, mentally doing the calculations. “Uhh, 7 weeks.”
His eyebrows immediately shot up and I laughed, saying, “7 weeks, I know. I’m lucky.”
7 weeks was a long time to be away and traveling, and I was, indeed, very lucky to take this trip, and I was very lucky while on the trip.
I think about what’s changed in that time, because mostly things look the same. I suppose that on the outside, I’m just a bit different: my hair is lighter and my skin is a bit darker (not to mention the crazy tan lines on the backs on my legs; I have a picture when they were at their worst, but I don’t know if the public will ever get to see that). I stepped on the scale this morning and I’m four pounds heavier than when I left. It figures that I can spend 5 weeks walking across Spain and gain weight: I blame the bread, cheese, and wine. And the ice cream/gelato.
So there are tiny changes on the outside. On the inside? I’m still very much the same person. But there are some changes. The light and the magic of the Camino got to me, spread through me, and started to shine out, and I think it’s going to take me to some great places.
But first, I’m going to sit here, drink more coffee, and appreciate being home.
Nathan Mizrachi says
Oh wow–didn’t realize you were already back home.
2 recommendations for you, because I know the wanderlust inside your soul is hardly quenched:
oDesk is a freelancing website that allows you to work remotely on a per-contract basis. You set your own price and find clients for basically anything that can be done outside of an office–copy writing, web design, computer program writing, accounting, etc. I’ve been using it the past 2 months and apart from a 10% that they take, it’s completely free and a great way to establish income.
Teach English abroad. Get a TOEFL license and get your ass back to Spain–I have friends who have taught in Vigo and Madrid and they work in local schools. Usually the workweek is 3-4 days, and only about 15-20 hours per week. You can survive off the stipend you get from the Spanish govt, or you can teach private classes for under-the-table cash. I almost did it myself through a program called CIEE
Just some ideas to fill your head when you go back to school 🙂
Buen Camino Nadine.
Ah Nadine, you’ve been bitten! I’m back on Camino now walking to Muxia. I will then go to Finisterre and walk back to Santiago. Last week I completed the Camino Ingles.
I love the Camino, I’ve been 4 times in the past 2 years, and walked 5 different Caminos so far. I’m planning to walk the Le Puy route next year.
I’m sure I’ll see you on Camino one of these times.
Dear Nadine, I’d love to sit and drain a bottle of wine and share stories with you. If you can see a long weekend to the mid-west come on out. I’m glad you’re maintaining these posts because I’ve grown fond of reading about your adventures. Love you, j
Welcome home. And welcome to a community of past-pilgrims. <3
Kendra S says
i think most of us camino folks know exactly how you’re feeling right now. welcome back!
John T Frimenko says
Welcome home, hope to see you soon.
Mormon Soprano says
welcome home! I’m still s “future pilgrim”. Hoping for Fall 2016. Aren’t you glad that you went and had so many adventures? Something you will never regret, and will be able to shape your future on. I wish I had gone off and done things like that when I was young (your age). Ah well…now my husband and I will walk together (we hope) if we can make all the pieces come together. The Camino calls to us… 🙂
Fantastic!! Well done 🙂 I know the feeling… I cannot wait for the opportunity to do my next Camino! Buen Camino!