(Originally posted on 26 August 2016)
I believe that there are two kinds of Caminos.
The first one is the morning path. You meet new people, strenghten your language skills and learn different cultural persepectives while crossing wonderful lansdscapes and cities. As a long-time fan of the Peripatus (a tradition according to which Aristotle was used to share his teachings while walking in the garden), I truly love it.
The second one is the afternoon path. If you choose to walk in the afternoon, you are basically alone. Because most pilgrims stop at lunch time, and are tired from the morning walk and an early start (you have to leave the hostels before 8, and most of the people start moving between 5 and 7). As the only one on the road, you can use that time to sing your favorite songs, reflect about your life, yell at the sky or even just listen to your heart beat.
Even though spending some quality time with yourself sounds very fascinating, the price to pay is extraordinarily high. This afternoon I had to walk 12 kilometres under the tremendous Spanish sun, without shadows and sources of water. I felt like a bedouin in the desert, desperately searching for a place to rest and heal. The two litres I had with me finished in 1 hour and a half, and I spent the last hour just hoping to see someone ready to help me.
During this time, my mental barriers were totally lowered. I could not see anymore, because even maintaining the eyes open consumed stamina. My shoulders were lower than usual, my steps less strong. I was just pure spirit walking. Only the release of endorphins coming from the welcoming sign of Luquín, the nearest town, and the dream of a cold beer in one of the local bars, allowed me to reach my goal.
As the best master a disciple could ask for, the Camino is very fair. The more you give, the more you receive. The core issue, therefore, is not deciding if you want to do the first path or both of them. It’s deciding how much you want to put on the table (or, as I prefer, to offer) in order to discover the real you.