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

Why go on the Camino?

 I went to a talk about the Camino this evening with my friend Lydia Bird, at the Lafayette Library.  The presenter, Susan Alcorn, and her husband had walked the Camino many times, and have written books on how to hike long distances after 55.  The room was packed with at least 50 people over 50.  Her slides were juicy with the landscape of Spain:  castles on hills, sheep, wide open spaces of the Meseta.  By now, I’ve done enough research that I recognized several places that are famous on the Camino:  the spot with the fountain of wine for pilgrims, the Cross where you leave a stone and a prayer, several of the sculptures along the Way.  Lydia said, “she never said anything about spirituality, or the reason to do the Camino. It was all how to do it.” 

Lydia was right.  I wondered if the presenter knew why she and her husband did it?  Was it too personal?  Or was it mostly about the challenge?

We headed back through the tunnel towards Alameda.  I wondered, “how would have I given that talk?  Why am I drawn to walk the Camino? For me it is definitely a pilgrimage of discovery and faith. This is something I want to explore in more detail.

Categories: June 2013, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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