For the last few days, I have walked by myself, enjoying the solitude and time to think, keeping my own pace, stopping when I want for photos or food. But today was a day of small interactions, opening myself to meeting new people, sharing a few words and a smile. It started as I left the albergue at the same time as Jeff from Milwaukie.
“I know you walk faster than me, but would you mind a little conversation as we walk out of town?”
“Not at all,” I replied.
We walked the next few miles out of Grañon, through the countryside, and into Redecilla del Camino, sharing a little of ourselves with the other. Along the way, we realized we had something in common; we had both worked for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group as Canvass Directors just out of college. It was a nice conversation and a good start to my day.
At lunch I met Noel from Chicago. We both learned Spanish in intensive courses in a foreign country. Later, I slowed to talk to Gabby from Germany. She and I were both headed to the same albergue. I had dinner with Chip from Romania, a fellow vegetarian.
On Day 2 of my walk, I met J.P. from California who asked me why we meet so many people we connect with on the Camino, unlike in our everyday lives. I responded that I think the Camino attracts people willing to step outside themselves and their everyday existence, and open to the connections that this experience offers.
I tried to embody that today and was rewarded with good conversations, warm handshakes and lots of smiles. And my blisters felt better too.
Today I walked 16.5 miles.