“All Roads Lead Home”. It’s what I called the blog I wrote about my walk across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. The first post began “…for now, I’m standing at the edge of uncertainty, staring at the abyss and a 482 mile walk across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. What brought me here? I guess it’s the same things that brought me to my knees back home in Southern California: the dissolution of a 23 year marriage that taught me how to hate. The teetering of my first real relationship after being separated that had taught me how to love again, and a gnawing feeling that after more than half a century on this earth i was still lost”.
Essentially, it’s the story of one man’s journey to take back his life after an abusive 21 year marriage, estrangement from his daughter, and the breakup of his recent relationship with the woman who saved his life, by walking 475 miles across Spain on the Camino de Santiago.
In it, I intertwine two significant journeys I’ve undertaken over the last decade of my life- the last 10 years of my marriage and estrangement from my daughter that ended in divorce, and the year before my walk when I began to take back my life and understand things with more clarity- therapy and my relationship with a beautiful Swedish divorcee with four kids and three dogs contributed significantly to this. I weave these two threads with a third: the physical journey that was my pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago.
In the first post, I also wrote: “I was hoping that a million steps down a path through Spain in the middle of summer to find some Saint buried in a church in Santiago de Compostella would help me lose sight of the things I needed to rid myself of. I would leave those things behind with each boot print I made in the dirt. And hopefully, I would see the path that lies in front of me more clearly, and figure out how to walk it with the time I have left before I shuffle off this mortal coil. So when I hit rock bottom, walking the Camino barged into my psyche like a bull running through the streets of Pamplona looking to gore a drunken tourist. And it wouldn’t let go. I’d never even been to Europe, but with everything I had known and loved tumbling down around me, I didn’t have to think twice.”
During the journey I met many interesting characters- Cormac the Irish teacher and not so skilled teller of donkey jokes; Kento the Zen Coyote Patron Saint of the Camino; Asia, the beautiful, mysterious Polish woman who keeps crossing paths with me along the way. I mixed my experiences with reflections on my failed marriage and recent break up, and try to make sense of the beautiful, fractured world we live in.
The story might be about the blisters, the intense heat, the swollen ankle, and the physical frailties of a middle aged man trying to do something a little extraordinary. Or maybe it’s about something more, for the real hero’s journey is travelled inside, from the brain, to the heart, to the soul. And those are the places I finds fascinating to explore, and describe, hopefully with humor, wit, and pathos.
I guess the blog struck a chord for some, and I thank my loyal readers. But, It’s been 6 or 7 months since that journey. I’m planning on going back to Spain in the Summer to “complete” my (internal) journey, tie up a few loose ends, finish up my book. I hope you will travel with me in these next few months. Thanks.