During my preparations for the Camino in 2017, I met people who have done the way more than once. I was baffled – why would someone want to walk all that way so many times?
Within a few days of my own first Camino, I began to realize why this was so.
The Camino is unlike what we experience in everyday life. It has a simple purpose. People have one goal and without competition. It is a form of meditation and a place where we can truly search deep within ourselves.
I knew I too would go back, and the next time I would go alone.
My chosen career as an actor makes it hard to plan in advance. Theatre projects usually last around 3 months and onscreen opportunities can present themselves with a moment’s notice.
I saw a window of time in September of 2019, so I took it.
Since I couldn’t afford to go back and do the entire Camino, I decided to walk from Pamplona to Burgos and then have a few days in Madrid.
Back on the Camino, I realized within a few hours how much I missed it. How much I had closed myself off from this community. After my first time on the Camino, I had every intention of remaining open and free when returning to Chicago, but that had not happened.
The first two days I hardly spoke to anyone, only if I had to. When I was resting, I got out my laptop and wrote, about my time there before but also my time there now.
Once I was back into the swing of being a pilgrim again, I started to talk. I met people from Germany, France, Ireland, England, Korea, America, Canada, Mexico, Lithuania, Poland – the list goes on.
The conversations I had this time were the same as last. About life, rules, challenges, being open and true. This time I was on my own and I could do whatever I wanted. It was a joy. I learnt so much more and feel I have a slightly better perspective of what I need to do in my life.
I need to simplify it.
It is so easy to get caught up with “keeping up with the Joneses”. My career as an actor requires a passion and dedication, and it can be easy to get swallowed up in that.
I am going to take steps forward, but also back from it all.