Walking 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago gave me a chance to step out of the bubble of comfort and into the unknown zone. On most days, I had no idea where I would sleep, what I would eat, how far I would walk, and no assurance that my body would get me there. In that setting, there is no time to worry about tomorrow or to watch yesterday’s movie for the umpteenth time. That experience taught me to live in the now.
On April 1, I flew to New York to inhabit a friend’s apartment. He is on a world journey and gave me a gigantic gift. It was 600 square feet on the 18th floor at 56th and Broadway. Just like Spain, I purposely placed myself in unfamiliar territory without an agenda. I let each day unfold naturally and made sure not to let the things that happen bother me.
Through the marvels of Facebook, I connected with new and old friends. One day, a stranger messaged me and offered to tour Grand Central Station. He also arranged for a tour on the NY Times building that included a visit to the board of director’s meeting room. I sat in one of the chairs and tried to imagine the decisions that were made at that table. I devoured several Broadway shows. If you are in need of a serious laugh, find a way to see The Book of Mormon. Last Saturday, I had a reunion with a pal from college. We have not seen each other for 30 years. Priceless.
I wandered endlessly on the concrete and through the park. On most days, I logged 4-6 hours of walking time. I would often hop on the subway, pop out of a random hole, and explore. I stepped in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island, and Manhattan. I ate Thai, Irish, Italian, Bangladesh, Indian, Russian, Mexican, and lots of pizza. The square pepperoni at Patsy’s on 42nd and 2nd was divine. I satiated my cardio at the Mercedes Club and practiced hot yoga at New York Yoga.
I didn’t just see spring, instead, I watched it slowly unfold. On day one, the trees in Central Park were leafless. A few weeks later, buds began to burst, color filled the horizons, and the small oily leaves made the buildings disappear. On my final walk through the park, wind filled the sky with aging blooms.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be present in that fabulous city for the past 34 days. The next adventure begins on May 13 with 42 Days in Spain for Camino Round II. Remember, there is only one more blog then radio silence until I return on June 22.