It occurred to me the other day that my Camino backpack, Bluebell, once again sits by my bed, walking sticks behind it. The same place it sat for over a year, packed and ready to go, before embarking last September on a most fulfilling adventure on the Camino de Santiago. Interestingly, outside of removing my clothes for washing, I have never unpacked it. It sits there holding the headlamp that guided me each morning out of a sleepy village, the pocket knife that cut meats and cheeses for midday snack, the Buff that served as a neck scarf on cold mornings/a hair tie on warm afternoons and other cherished essentials of a pilgrim. I’m not sure why I never emptied it. Perhaps because it would mean the trip was truly over. Recently, this pack has become more than an inanimate object. It reminds me. It beckons me. It calls me. “Come, let’s adventure. Let’s walk.”
I had told a friend while researching the Camino de Santiago that I thought I could easily get hooked on trekking. It seemed like something that suited my interests. Combining travel, minimalistic packing, exercise, beautiful scenery, good food and good conversation with new friends from around the world sounded dreamy. And now, having done it, I can attest to the fact that it is!
I still have not fully processed how the 31 day trek changed me but here are a few things I do know. 1) I now see myself as an athlete. By nature, I’m a creative and lack any and all motivation to exercise. After returning from the Camino I knew I didn’t want to lose the level of fitness I had obtained through training and trekking. I now faithfully workout two days a week with my wonderful trainer, Sam. 2) I realized it was time to reinvolve myself in the arts. I’m once again taking jazz dance classes and loving it! 3) I want to continue to dream and live a fruitful life. So, I started a youth theatre business. I’m currently directing a musical at a local middle school and planning three drama camps for this summer.
There’s something more though. It’s the thing I can’t yet describe. It’s a tangible sense within that strengthens me. It’s personal and it’s spiritual. It stirs and creates life. It’s knowable and unknowable. It will always be with me, beckoning me to live vivaciously.
In the meantime, the tangible sight of Bluebell sitting there reminds me of the beauty of solitude, the thrill of adventure and the invigoration of trekking. It’s presence is stirring up a curiosity about other pilgrimages, the cost of flights and a recent invitation to adventure.