The Camino de Santiago brings many people together for many different reasons. As a result of the walk, I no longer bat an eye at the serendipitous events that seem to happen on a regular basis. Instead, I focus my time and energy on putting myself out there and enjoying what comes back. Here are a few vignettes from the past week.
In the book, A Million Steps, I write about an enjoyable afternoon spent walking with two strangers. Here is the story:
I slowly caught up to two men, Simon from Holland and John from the U.K., then enjoyed much of that day in and out of their company. We shared stories and belly laughs. They joked about being away from their women (400 yards) and asked me to drop behind and steer them down another path. This joke caused another round of belly laughs. Here were three grown men laughing like children and smiling like there was not a care in the world. Eventually, Jon rejoined his wife, I stopped for a bathroom break, and Simon kept walking. When I caught back up to him again later, he was walking alone and singing a song.
Well, it turns out that a lady from Sacramento happened to read the book and also walked with John and Simon. She sent me a FB message and connected me with my friends from that day. What are the chances?
Last Friday, I did a signing at Chapter One Bookstore in Sun Valley, Idaho. There were not many attendees, but this was a case of quality over quantity. The city hosts one of the largest wellness festivals in the world each spring. Well, two of the women at the signing happen to be on the committee that selects the speakers and they were looking for a film too. After further discussion, they are considering opening the festival with a screening of Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago. Another lady bought three books, asked me a million questions, and promised to help me if she liked the book. After she departed the owner mentioned that my new acquaintance is very wired into the publishing arena and has helped several authors break into the NY Times list of bestsellers.
As a result of the signing, I was invited to speak at a stranger’s home in Hailey. Our only contact was through email and she sent me her address and a time. I had an incredible evening doing my presentation in a private home with five women. With dogs barking, we ate Costco cheesecake, drank french pressed coffee, and talked about the Camino. It was a pleasure to spend time with such a nice group.
On Sunday I received an email from a stranger that also read the book. She told me about starting the read on a flight to visit her terminally ill mother in Boston. Sadly, her mom passed a few days after her arrival. She finished the manuscript on the return flight home and felt compelled to send me a note of gratitude. Tears rolled down my face when I opened the message. I cannot believe that my walk in Spain actually provided someone on another coast with comfort during such an intimate moment in her life. Wow.
Prior to my departure from Sun Valley this AM, I met another new friend. She knows my editor, proofed the book, came to Boise for the launch, and had coffee with me last July. We enjoyed omelettes, french toast, and reminisced about our friend……The Camino.
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