In 2012, I embarked on a flight to Spain and walked 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago. That trip forever changed my life, led to a self published book, allowed me to speak to over 7,000 people at live events, and added serious depth to my spiritual self. Given all the places to walk in the world, I never expected to even consider another step in Spain for at least ten years.
Last October, I did a 17-day hike through the Himalayas in Bhutan. On that trip, at least 80% of the steps required thought on where my foot would land to insure safety. It was a wonderful experience to be walking in the birthplace of Buddhism, but I never arrived at a state of mental bliss associated with a walking meditation. The Camino was the polar opposite with 80% of the steps taken on autopilot. A fertile field for the mind to discover the gems of life.
After returning from Bhutan, I felt an urgent and persistent calling to return to Spain. My plane departs for Madrid at 6:00 AM tomorrow morning. Many friends and all of my family are perplexed at why I would return to do the same thing. My answer is simple. This is not a repeat! The last trip was a beautiful memory and this is a clean slate. The only thing I plan to duplicate is to board the aircraft without a single expectation.
The brown and harvested fields of fall will be replaced with the vibrant infancy of a budding spring. Snow will be melting to nourish next years crops. Another major difference is that I will be encountering a complete new set of strangers from throughout the world. In the end, it is all about the people! I also plan to take a slower pace and will add about 100 miles by walking to the Atlantic Ocean.
I am not the same person that trekked in 2012. Many of the lessons learned from the first walk, like living in the now and deleting worry for my life, have taken deep root in my soul. On the original journey, I had questions about my physical ability to walk 500 miles and my mental capacity to enjoy the same. I did not know the terrain, where to stay, or what to eat. Taking that fear and anxiety out of my emotional backpack creates significant space. I wonder what will fill that void.
Nothing in life will EVER be the same. That is what makes our own unique views and experiences so rich. I would encourage everyone to consider revisiting a joyous journey from yesterday through the fresh experienced eyes of today.
As part of this adventure, I will be taking a break from social media and my blog. Expect some new stories around the end of June. Until then, Buen Camino!