A few months ago, I received an email on my website from Ben at a store called Golite. He asked me to speak at their shop on the evening of April 18. The person that really started the ball rolling on this event was Dennis Ahern. He became a Facebook friend and had quite an interest in hearing about my walk on the Camino de Santiago. I have traded several messages with Dennis, but never had a chance to meet him. Well, that changed last week when I was having a cup of coffee at the Flying M in Boise. He was at the table next to me. Just like the walk, I do not believe any of the people that cross my path do it in a random manner.
I was a bit worried that Ben wanted me to be a glorified sock and backpack salesman for the presentation. Since I was a guest, I did want to accommodate their needs, but was worried about their editorial control on the speech content. To rectify the matter, I took Ben to lunch at Murphy’s a few weeks ago. I brought my laptop and showed him the standard PowerPoint. I was thrilled to leave the lunch knowing that they did not expect any changes and saw this as a service to their customers. There was great relief knowing that I would be selling a personal experience and not tents. Ben reminded me of the kind of guy that I was lucky to meet on the trail through Spain.
I arrived at their store around 5:45 for the presentation that was to begin at 6:30. I met Aaron, Roxanne, Ben, and Katrina. Based on the contagious enthusiasm gushing from these new friends, this must be a great place to work! I love meeting new people and learned a long time ago that everyone has a story. Aaron had walked the Pacific Crest Trail which is an astounding 2,600+ miles. Ben had taken a few years out of his young life to trek around the country while living at various campgrounds. He did this with few possessions and tremendous sense of freedom. Katrina just returned from a lengthy backpacking trip through the glorious and legendary California redwoods. This young lady has a kind soul. I did not have enough time to learn about Roxanne, but am confident that she had a great story too.
There were about 125 attendees that learned about my experience. After the event was over, a man named Alan came up to me. He looked familiar, but I could not place the face. Turns out that we worked together at a local Mexican restaurant in Boise named Poco-Poco 35 years ago. Another lady that approached me was in my 9th grade drama class at North Jr. High. I had not seen Janelle since that time, but did remember her name. Things like this really make this entire continuing journey a great experience.
Overall, it was a great night and I think a few people have a better understanding about taking time out of a busy life to enjoy the things that really matter. Another grand lesson from the Camino!