The beginning of the pilgrimage – April 3

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I spent the morning today running errands, repacking for the fourth or fifth time, and finally working right up to ten minutes before walking out the door. I’m now on the plane to Porto, tired before beginning.

I think we’re flying over the route of the Camino Frances now, with the Pyrenees below, still covered in snow. I wonder what it was really like in centuries gone by to make a real pilgrimage. I’m sure someone must have begun in old Buda and walked the whole way to Santiago de Compestela.

It makes my plan to walk a couple hundred kilometres along the rather pleasant coasts of Portugal and Galacia seem by comparison a lark.

And to make it e even more pleasant for me, I am now sitting alone in an exit row. Room to stretch in all directions!

And so here I am, at the beginning, despite the lack of readiness, the lack of a proper spiritual preparation for any kind of pilgrimage. I’ve thought about doing a Camino for a long time, especially since seeing Martin Sheen’s ‘The Way’ years ago. Who knows, it may open the door to something completely new.

A quote from Goethe that I saw recently:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it”

So here I am, at the beginning. No, I don’t feel bold or genius or magical. But I am looking forward to a few weeks of breaking the mold of my life, slowing down, doing something completely different. I’ll be largely cut off from the always connected and online world I usually inhabit. I hope for face to face time with real people in place of Facebook. Who knows? Maybe this will be the beginning of a new phase of my old life. Maybe I’ll be like Forest Gump and just keep on going. Except instead of running I’ll be sauntering.

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