The Camino provides solace…
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.” – Ernest Hemingway
Thankfully I was able to schedule my hip replacement operation a week after my contract finished. With a six week recovery time and who knows how long to secure another job, I was reluctant to prolong going under the knife. When I woke up post-operation the gnawing, life-sapping osteoarthritis pain was gone. It was a struggle, but I had continued my weekly Pilates sessions. Yes, I had some surgery pain, but the Pilates had paid off. This plus some help from friends and family post-op meant that I had a quick recovery. On my first day home, I walked with my crutches, taking the route to the bus stop and stood at the spot where my left hip would cease, where I wondered how I would make it to the bus. I stood in silence, thanking both the universe and my surgeon. Continued on walking with ease.
I got through the dark days of the osteoarthritis, those days were I got home and flung myself on my bed, unable to walk another step by meditating. In my mind, I walked the Napoleon route from Saint Jean de Port to Roncesvalles. I would breathe in the mountain air, feel the wind on my cheeks and marvel at the beauty of the mountains.
After this break, I would make some dinner, return to bed and lull myself to sleep with a nightly ritual of walking with Efrén González. I loved his drone footage, sense of humour, the way he captured his daily routines on the track and his choice of accessory. On Day 32 he arrived in Compostela de Santiago, after a massive walk from A Salceda. It felt too soon to say goodbye, so we walked together to Finisterre.
On the last day of 2017, I accompanied one of my cousins and her friend on a bushwalk. The track started with a steep climb that challenged my breathing, but my fitness levels were back, and I had a newfound inner strength. Life was fun again.
The Camino – unfinished business…
“Being authentic means being who you are at your core, regardless of what others think of you.” – Angela Morelli Carpenter
2018 –Feeling great – a new contract, fitness level on the up and up. I’m committed to completing three papers to my Degree – double major in English and Media Studies. I was also tossing around thoughts of where I should live. I liked the area where my niece and her partner had purchased a house; eight hours drive south of where I currently live. I made a couple of reconnaissance trips to check out the area, see how I felt. As I walked in my new hiking shoes through Queen Elizabeth Park, I knew that the only way I could move forward with my life was to acknowledge my need to go back and walk the Camino Frances. Again I virtually walked the Camino. This time with Angela Morelli Carpenter. Her spirit resonated with mine, as we both possess a deep faith which is not founded on religion but is of a more spiritual and intuitive nature. Her 36-day walk was full of challenges, blisters, wonder and joy.
2019, approached I renewed my contract but limited my hours as I needed to finish my final three university papers. I intuitively felt that I needed to complete these papers in the first term, then head off to do the Camino Frances in September. My spirit, my intuition told me this date was immoveable. I was excited. I did though think my friends and family would be horrified, thinking I was crazy. Instead, they were supportive.