October 19: I am sitting on my bed in the Pension Méson de Brea in the tiny community of Brea, thinking about how incredibly lucky I have been as far as weather is concerned. The reason I am thinking that is because today has been the rainiest, most dismal day by far. We took the bus to Arzua as planned and started walking in very light rain. But it wasn’t long before it was a steady drizzle punctuated by strong gusts of wind. I wore Susan’s poncho because I had lost my beautiful pack cover somewhere. We dodged puddles and made our way through mud all day. Even when the sun came out for a bit it continued to rain. It was still a good day. Tomorrow — sunshine, and no more rain forecast until after we’re gone.
Previous to this I had rain during only about four days and then only isolated light showers, if you don’t count the last two km into El Burgo Ranero (day 17) when I had horizontal rain pouring like a funnel into my boots.
Susan’s heels and calves gave her less trouble than yesterday and a small massage seems to settle them down. Her one blister seems to be healing nicely, too.
I have commented on the huge number of people we have been seeing on the path since Sarria. Not today though. We were often alone. I don’t know whether they are all hunkered down for a day of rest or have bussed on ahead. We’ll find out tomorrow, I guess.
When we arrived at our pension here my iPhone/iPad charger was waiting for us, at no cost. I had my phone turned off all day as it was nearly dead, and thus I have no photos today. So I’ll include a few unpublished ones from previous days.
I was reviewing my early intentions from before I started so I’ll finish that here.
Simplicity: it was an interesting exercise to eliminate things from my packing list to reduce my pack weight below 20 pounds. The fact is that on the Camino you need very little. When Jesus sent his disciples out on the road he instructed them to travel light, taking almost nothing, relying on the kindness of strangers and trusting. The Camino is much like that though there is a well developed infrastructure that makes trusting easier.
As planned, since Susan joined me we have booked private rooms ahead of time each day, in part because the number of people on this final stretch makes accommodation more challenging. This has significantly changed the nature of the experience, which is neither bad nor good, but the contrast is interesting.
The experience of travelling light has been a good one for me. I suspect that were I to do it again, I would pack even less. There are some items I have not used. Many times I have been grateful that I bought a very good Osprey backpack.
Eating: Each Enneagram type has one of the seven deadly sins associated with it, a kind of “sin of choice”. Mine is the sin of gluttony. It makes sense because if the Seven’s pattern is to seek pleasure and avoid pain, then he is prone to overdoing the pleasure part. I eat because I love the taste of food and I will keep on eating even when my body says I’ve had enough.
I honestly don’t know how much progress I have made on this. I probably won’t know until I’ve been home for a while. I have noticed that my food consumption patterns have changed depending on who I’m traveling with. I lost weight in the first couple of weeks but I’m not sure I’ve lost a lot since.
Dependence on Feedback from Others: This feels like a paradox. During this pilgrimage I have received lots of positive feedback from traveling companions. At the same time I have felt a lot of freedom to just be who I am and have been willing to be frank with people early on about that. The paradox may be that a sufficient amount of positive feedback can make a person less dependent on that feedback. After a time you just settle down knowing you’re all right – a child of God and beloved no matter what. I think I do feel more at peace as a result of my pilgrimage so far.
Two more days of walking.