If you followed my 2015 Camino, you know it was an emotionally challenging journey for me, as the Camino can be, of course, for many people, for a myriad of reasons. Being on the Norte never quite clicked, so I ended up zigzagging all over northern Spain trying to figure out where I was supposed to be without ever settling into the Camino, any Camino. And I tried four; one of them twice!
Another reason for the challenge had to do with unmet expectations; as much as I had told myself that I wouldn’t have expectations, in the final analysis, I had tremendous difficulty refraining from comparing it to my 2014 walk on the Camino Francés. Finally, through a series of strange coincidences that came to a head in Logroño in a very unexpected way after I had switched from the Norte to the Francés, I found myself having to fully confront my feelings about being childless and about whether or not I wanted to take steps to change that.
There have been times during and after that summer, that I definitely judged myself for my lack of commitment to the journey and for not continuing despite my discomfort. But not surprisingly, my haphazard, unorthodox Camino ended up being life-changing anyway, in completely unexpected ways, not the least of which was that I met someone special at Orisson the first night back on the Francés, after switching routes midstream, and consequently spent a significant amount of time in Norway in 2016. Although the relationship wasn’t destined to last, my love affair with Norway continues, and in a few months time I will return to Scandinavia to study Norwegian at the University of Oslo for the second summer in a row. (Some of my Norway photos and images from other adventures can be found on my Instagram account, @SometimesSheTravels:TheWorld.)
Ultimately I’ve learned that I need to trust my path. Sometimes what appears to be “giving up” is actually “letting go”, and just because it looks or feels messy doesn’t mean it’s wrong.