I sat down to write a blog post but then realized that I wasn’t sure, exactly, what I wanted to write about.
I’ve finished recapping my Hadrian’s Wall walk, I don’t believe I have much to say about training or packing or preparing for a Camino that I haven’t already said before (well, that’s probably not quite true, but now doesn’t feel like the best time to come up with a new or original post on that topic).
There are still things to be said about my past Camino treks, and general thoughts about these pilgrimages and traveling solo and why I keep walking, but those, too, will have to wait.
And there’s still a lot left to be done with this ‘new’ blog format; kinks to work out, images to resize, figuring out how to add a ‘previous post’ and ‘next post’ button or link at the end of my posts (that’s a big one, and I’ve spent several frustrating hours accomplishing absolutely nothing on that end).
There are my projects, too! My book, which has sort of stalled out but is by no means forgotten or given-up-on. It’s more like… it’s in waiting. I think I needed a little break from the writing, in order to figure out what kind of story I want to be telling. Also, it’s just so hard to write a book and tell a big story and there’s been a lot of stumbling around in the dark over here. So I’m working towards more clarity with it all.
But other projects are (sort of) in the works, too. An e-book, much of which was written this spring. It’s not actually all that much but I liked creating the content: it’s all about ways to deal with the struggles of the sometimes unsettling post-Camino period. It’s about missing the Camino, and how we can hold onto our memories. It’s about how to begin to take a close look at a life that was most likely shaken up and rearranged out on the Camino, and what to do next. Unless I do a lot more with it this summer, it’s going to be a quick read with short chapters and simple tips. But it’s part of a larger idea that’s been percolating up there in my head for months now… and it’s too soon to talk much about it, but I want to deliver something more about this post-Camino time. There are so many resources and conversations about how to prepare for a Camino, but what happens when the Camino ends? Where are these conversations?
All of this is good and exciting: the blog, the book, the e-book and future projects and ideas… but there’s something else on the horizon, something more immediately on the horizon.
And that’s another walk.
It came up quickly, didn’t it? Wasn’t I just walking in England? (I was certainly just writing about it, but even the actual walk doesn’t feel like all too long ago). But in exactly two weeks (and by the grace of God), I’ll be finished walking my first day on the Camino Le Puy.
This means that I leave for my big summer trip in a little less than two weeks, and oh man, how did this happen? A month ago I thought I was in pretty good shape, but inevitably, it happens: time slips away and it’s the end of my school year and I go to Phillies games and take weekend trips and suddenly my summer trip looms, large, before me. Am I ready? I ask this every single time. Have I been walking and hiking enough? (I’m so afraid that the answer, this year, is ‘no’. Maybe my Hadrian’s Wall walk could be considered good training but that was two months ago and other than the 4-mile walks around my neighborhood that I do pretty consistently, I’ve only had a couple good, long training hikes).
And as always, there’s the mental/emotional/personal part of these travels. I’m returning for yet another Camino, my fourth in as many years. This will only be a partial Camino, two weeks on a route in France, but it’s still a Camino. I’ll be sharing the very beginning of the walk with my cousin, so, like the Hadrian’s Wall trip, this walk won’t be totally solo. But we’ll only be walking together for the first 3 days and afterwards I’ll be on my own, so I already know that the walk is going to have several different components for me. Some of it will be shared and some of it will be solo, but will I crave more time in the company of other pilgrims? Will I want to carry on by myself? Will I only meet French pilgrims and therefore be forced to speak in French?? (a thought that sort of terrifies me, even though part of the appeal of a walk in France was that I would be able to have an easier time with communication. Plus I love France).
After my walk is a return to La Muse, my writer’s retreat. In many ways it feels like I was just there. I know that there’s been a solid 10 months since I returned from my last trip to Europe, and life happened in the meantime, but I also feel like I’m continuing the retreat I started last year. Some of the same Musers will be returning with me: I have four sort of ‘built in’ friends this time around, and I’m hoping that this sense of continuity will help me jump right in and get down to work. That, and also go out and roam around the mountains; relax, recharge, and become re-inspired.
A week in Paris rounds out the summer, and there’s the possibility of reconnecting there with a few friends I’ve made on these summer adventures, as well as more time to follow my whims: wander and write and drink coffee.
So this year, it feels like there might be a good and welcome balance to my travels. In the past, these have been very solo trips: I take off totally on my own, and the only connections I find are the ones that I have to make. But this time around, each piece of my trip includes some kind of already-established connection, and this feels good to me. I’ll certainly be doing my own thing and having my own adventures, but sharing this part of my life feels appealing, too.
The next time I check in will most likely be from France. As ever, I hope to blog while I walk (and we’ll see how well I keep up with the posts ‘in real time’).
So here’s to summer: to long warm days, to freedom in all shapes and forms, to adventure. Let’s all go out and have an adventure.