For months now, I’ve been following the Facebook pages and Instagram feeds of pilgrims who are walking various portions of the Camino de Santiago. From them, I’ve gathered information about the weather, about where to stay, about what to expect. I’m grateful for them all.
And yet, when I leave tomorrow morning, I won’t be joining them. When I get to the airport, I’ll turn my phone off, and as much as possible, I’ll leave it off for 21 days. I won’t post daily reports here on the blog, nor will I post pics on any of my social media channels. I’ll write my thoughts on paper and take pictures with an old-school digital camera. For 21 days, this experience will belong only to me.
That may seem counter-intuitive, or even selfish. After all, one of the things that sets the Camino apart is our community (and our easy access to Wi-Fi). And I fully intend to share the stories and photos when I get back. I appreciate the chance to process what I saw and learned with you all.
And yet, I’m still going to unplug while I’m there.
I explained it all here on the blog a long time ago, and it’s still a good summary of what I learned.
Mostly, it comes down to this:
“I wanted to be present on the Camino in a way that I knew I couldn’t be if I had a pocket full of distractions. If I was constantly thinking about faraway people, I reasoned, I would lose precious moments with the ones who were with me.”
I’m not a natural traveler (and I’m definitely not a natural backpacker). I’m going into a place that demands all of my senses. I need to listen intently to others who don’t share my language. I need to look and smell and feel intently the places that I pass through only once. Being present takes all of my attention, and I want to experience it fully.
That’s the only way I know how to bring it home to you all in its purest and best form.
So thanks for being part of Camino Times Two, and I’ll see you all again in a month, with lots of news and thoughts and stories from the northern coast of Spain.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in pictures, notes, and real-time news from the trail, these Facebook groups are full of incredible people: