2014 Camino Francés

Apples and Oranges

August 6, 2014

“Surrender to what is. let go of what was. have faith in what will be.”

Sonia Ricotti

And, I am throwing in the towel.I’m proud of my valiant, if vain, attempt to recreate the Camino here at home.

For just under a week, I have attempted to look at everything with “new eyes”, surround myself with friends and family, walk places instead of driving. But the thing is, it just isn’t the same, can’t be the same. It’s like trying to make an apple into an orange. Or a sandwich into an orange. Or more accurately, a boat into an orange. As hard as I might try, a boat will never become an orange.

This morning I lay in bed trying to convince myself to walk all day in an attempt to resurrect the Camino. I considered the 17 mile loop to Stinson and back but the idea fell flat since I know it so well. I considered walking to Fairfax via fire roads; Del Casa to Escalon to Middle Summit to the Corte Madera Ridge to Eldridge to Shaver Grade. It’s a route I’ve never done, and I imagine it would take the better part of the day.

But here’s the thing; walking all day isn’t what makes the Camino the Camino, nor is being surrounded by friends and family, nor is looking at everything with new eyes. There is no defining it.

While I might see other hikers or bikers or runners out on the trails of Marin, we won’t be “pilgrims” on the same journey. We won’t be traveling to the same place, much less a sacred place, as an act of “religious devotion”. We won’t be calling out, “buen camino” as we pass one another on the trail, knowing that we are sharing something special.

There won’t be cafés along the way where I will run into the people I met the night before or weeks before. There won’t be voices chattering away in Spanish, English, Korean, German… And I won’t be walking through tiny villages full of ancient stone buildings, listening to cow bells, sheep bells, horse bells ringing, ringing, ringing as the animals make their way through verdant pastures. There will be no midday pilgrim’s menu at a restaurant with Yeni, Christina, Antonio, and Felix at the end of the hike, no checking into an albergue, no preparing my bunk.

I have a lovely apartment. I have amazing friends I enjoy spending time with. I am surrounded by beautiful forests and creeks and beaches and cliffs and meadows. Looking at everything with “new eyes”, surrounding myself with friends and family, and walking instead of driving are wonderful things to do but I can no longer fool myself into thinking that doing so will recreate the Camino. It’s time to recognize that the Camino is the Camino and my life here is just that. They are both wonderful in completely different ways and the time has come to appreciate each for exactly what it is, nothing more, nothing less.



  [pil-grim, -gruhm]
  1. a person who journeys, especially a long distance, to some sacred  place as an act of religious devotion: pilgrims to the Holy Land.
  2. a traveler or wanderer, especially in a foreign place.
  3. an original settler in a region.
  4. one of the band of Puritans who founded the colony of Plymouth,  Mass., in 1620.
  5. a newcomer to a region or place, especially to the western U.S.

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  • Anonymous August 8, 2014 at 02:44

    As far as we know, alchemy does not exist.
    However magic does.
    Ritorno più
    Allora avanti

    • SometimesSheTravels August 20, 2014 at 04:50

      Magic certainly does, in so many ways. Speaking of magic…

  • Paula Rose August 8, 2014 at 02:51

    The quote under your cover photo says it well. Be gentle as you ease back in to regular life but recharged by your journey.

  • Nadine September 7, 2014 at 21:50

    These have been my EXACT thoughts lately. I’m about a month out of my Camino, and I came home thinking I could somehow carry it all back with me. I tried what you’ve tried: the all day walks, the socialization, the changed perspective… and it’s not the Camino. Like you wrote: it’s accepting each for what it is, and slowly and gently letting the lessons of the Camino influence my life here.

    Still, the adjustment can be tough. Thank you for so beautifully writing about this!

  • SometimesSheTravels September 10, 2014 at 02:35

    You’re welcome Nadine! I hope the adjustments continues to get easier for you as it has for me. Of course, planning another Camino for next summer helps…

  • Ignacio Sainz-Ezquerra Pellon February 20, 2015 at 16:15

    El camino lo hacen, en gran medida, los peregrinos como vosotros.
    El Camino tiene historia, tiene paisaje, tiene personas que viven en su alrededor.
    Tiene monumentos y arte. Es posible que vaguen por él las almas de anteriores peregrinos.
    Pero, yo pienso que lo hacen, todos los peregrinos que vienen de todo el mundo con su espiritualidad.
    El camino es un lugar de Reflexión, de concordia, de convivencia y de paz.
    Hecho por la forma de ser de quienes caminan por él.

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