The daily routine begins with a systematic application of tape, bandages, lotions and careful donning of socks and boots. Not everybody is suffering the same aches, pains and blisters but all have experienced a variety of discomfort.
After a month together we know each other quite well. We help each other out as well as other Peregrinos, and they help us.
We have “favorite sock day.” We are tired and sore more often than not.
The Camino is not a vacation.
On the flip side, the metabolism is at peak efficiency. We can eat whatever we want knowing that our bodies will easily burn the calories. Everybody has lost the extra weight, we are leaner versions of ourselves.
The exercise, all day every day, has improved breathing, circulation, muscle tone and even thinking. Much of the day is spent simply walking and that leaves ample time to ponder thoughts as they come and go. No need to focus on a project at hand, or immediate work problem. The mind wanders where it will and discoveries are made.
This is actually the bigger challenge of walking the Camino. The thoughts that rise to the surface aren’t always particularly nice ones. But there is room on the Camino to sort through them, plenty of time and space. Perhaps the most valuable benefit of walking the Camino is the peace that is found simply by having no boundaries on thoughts and the ability to process and come to terms with them.
We meet other Veterans on the Camino. The Vietnam Veteran, Richard. Cory who lost his hand. Jed and Sandy, the Veteran couple who are now wanderlust nurses. We share an immediate bond, Veterans and Peregrinos on this long, long journey.
With just over 60 miles left to Santiago, this group of Veterans is travel weary but also in a much better place, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Santo Jacobea beckons us forward day after day. Our existence has become very simple. Walk, eat and sleep. We continue on the way towards Santiago and ultimately, Finisterre – the end of the earth.
Leaving stones at “Cruz de Ferro” – Witold arrives in Galicia – Two Veterans on a long walk