Post contributed by Brad Genereux:
Four days ago, Tyler and I set out to walk the Camino. So far, things have gone very well. Tyler was noticeably anxious before the initial departure at Saint Jean Pied du Port. Coiled tightly like a spring, he was in dire need of simply relaxing and allowing the flow of the Camino to wash over him. Now, four days into the pilgrimage, the changes are already visible. The changes include more smiling, increased interest in others, and being more relaxed.
The first day we crossed the Pyrenees. While it is the most difficult day of hiking, it arguably has the most beautiful views on the entire French Camino. Weary, but filled with a sense of achievement, we reached the other side to enjoy a big dinner followed by a clean bed in the albergue. Today I am writing from Puente la Reina, roughly 15 miles from our starting point. Yet, with only the 57 of the 500 miles walked, Tyler is already smiling and more relaxed.
Much of the credit for making Tyler feel welcomed and accepted as another peregrino on “The Way” goes to my great friend, Jean Baptiste. He volunteered to walk this crucial first portion of the Camino with us. He carries a guitar and has a knack for easy conversation. The other peregrino pictured is Paulo, also from France, who joined our small group two days ago. Paulo is also a musician and teams up with Jean Baptiste to play music at random times throughout our walk.
We have a long way to go yet, in every sense, but the changes I am already seeing are impressive. The combination of fresh air, exercise, and the magic of the Camino are having a noticeable effect. I look forward to witnessing what the days, weeks and miles ahead have in store for Tyler.
(The picture above was taken after breakfast in Pamplona, just before heading out on our daily hike.)