Pack Lady

Living out of a 36 liter pack is both liberating and difficult. I love the freedom of carrying everything on my back. Thanks to Andrea and Lydia , my belongings are really pared down. But with toiletries, rain gear, sleeping bag, and 2 liters of water, it’s still a bit heavy for me day after day.

Everyone packs their backpack with ziplock bags of stuff: toiletries, etc, and one of the cliches of the Camino is being woken at the auberge in the early morning by someone wearing a headlamp rustling plastic bags as they pack their backpack for the next day’s hike.

My backpack contains everything I own for the moment, and I’m constantly impersonating that guy in the cliche: dumping out everything onto the bed and finding whatever I need, and then repacking it for the next day. In the process, I do my share of rustling through ziplock bags.

At Trinity we had a homeless parishioner named Joyce, who came early every week and repacked her bags in the safety and good light of Trinity Hall.

I feel a new sympathy with Joyce now. As a Peregrina, I’m on the move every night, and my pack holds everything I own. And I’m constantly repacking it and editing what’s in it.

Of course I’m privileged to have a bank account, and a home to return to. I’m grateful to have the experience of both traveling light and being deeply rooted at home. And for my mental health. Joyce, tonight I salute you, and pray for you.

Categories: Camino de Santiago, June 2013, Reflections | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Pack Lady

  1. Melindaland

    I feel for Joyce too. I encounter far too many folk in her situation and worse daily in my small N. CA coastal town. The lack of a safety net breaks my heart. I do what I can, wish I could do more and mourn for the days when community meant all of us taking care of the lost and wandering souls.


  2. RHF

    This is a great update. One of the many benefits of travel is new experiences that challenge old assumptions and blind spots. You are getting new experiences many times over!


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