One of the many great things about the Camino de Santiago is meeting strangers from every corner of the globe. They come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors. Each person has their own emotional backpack and unique outlook on the world. Their previous experience translates into life stories that are shared while conversing along the trail. Beautiful tales that reshape and enhance perspectives.
The Camino is a prefect arena for people to open gates and let others into their lives. By the end of the 500 mile walk, I met hundreds of people from 35 different countries. Some intersected one time and others with a frequency that would confound statisticians. Since this is the land of strangers walking with strangers, the openness seemed to be amplified while dining, resting, and even snoring together in our albergues (hostels for walkers). It created a feeling of one big family walking each other home.
During the first few days, it was difficult for me to “let go” of my new friends. With time, the Camino taught me one of many valuable lessons. As mortals, 100% of all relationships terminate. Some end with relief while others expire with pain and sorrow. A mental image of me arriving in Santiago with ten pilgrims under each arm helped ease the reality that letting go is a fact of life.
People will always walk into our lives to show us something or say something, love us, take care of us, to put us on our path and then when its complete they leave. We are left behind with so much more than what we ever imagine and then we share our stories to others…so they can be on their path as well.
After returning to my home in Boise, Idaho, I decided to remove the gate from the hinges and let everyone into my life. There is a risk of stalkers but the curb is not far.
After a recent speaking event in Hailey, Idaho, a few members from the audience approached me. As a result, I had dinner and celebrated the 4th of July with new friends at a private residence. I spent this morning with another new acquaintance from the same venue. Our 7:30 AM hour long coffee ended at 10:30. Both of these encounters will develop nice roots.
Strangers cross our paths on a daily basis. It is easy to walk on. Don’t be afraid to say hello and goodbye…..