Most people are afraid to take 30-45 days out of their lives to make room for an adventure like walking the Camino de Santiago. We all share a lack of humility when it comes to our own importance. In our minds, we are all the CEO of something. It may be an actual company, a role in a relationship, or a caregiver to a pet. The reason that we deny our exit from the cocoon of comfort is because the universe would obviously fall apart or be severely disrupted by our absence. Much to my surprise, the world survived when I walked the Camino in 2012 and again in 2015. Realizing that I am one of six billion temporary guests inhabiting a spinning ball of water in the middle of an infinite universe gives me the freedom to cut the cord and adventure often.
23 short years ago, I was riding my bike in Boise and unexpectedly discovered my dream home on a little creek just minutes from downtown. As a young executive with an insatiable appetite for partying, I moved into this palace. The housewarming party included a live rock band, a river of whiskey, and probably a few things that are still not legal. The reverie lifestyle of my new neighbor Bob would rapidly change into a nightmare. It took a few years, but the ice melted and our frosty relationship blossomed into a bona fide first class friendship. He entered this world 23 years ahead of me and has blazed an amazing path. He is an accomplished author, professional speaker, devoted husband, and exceptional grandfather. Most of all, he is my vanilla latte drinking pal. Few things compare to our conversations over java.
Last Friday, we both severed the cord to our lives, drove 16 miles to the base of a local ski hill, and set out for our 3rd annual mini-Camino. Our nine mile hike with 1,500 feet of elevation began with cool temps, a crystal clear blue sky, and a mountain covered with intense splotches of fall colors. Did I mention that he is 75? Bob is my hero and one of my best friends. Without even knowing it, his lifestyle and attitude plows a trail filled with inspiration for all that follow.
Bob rarely slows down and always takes advantage of any opportunity to travel and experience something new. It is impossible to keep up with him, but in the past year he spent a month in Poland, several months on the Oregon Coast, and a long trip to Russia. During our hike, he casually mentioned that he spent three days of the previous week in the snake infested jungles of Costa Rica with his son. He said, “It was not much time, but how often do I get three unencumbered days with my boy?”
One of today’s favorite conversations was about his past. 30 years ago, as a Dean at Oregon State, a close friend marched into his office, grabbed his schedule from the assistant, and rewrote the future. With a big black felt pen, his pal crossed off the next day’s appointments and wrote…….”The Dean is Out!” Bob was horrified that the university would not survive the day without his presence. The next day began with a cooler full of beer en route to a local hot springs. Looking back, he tells me that the day was the meaningful one. Down the road, I will be telling my new friends about my day on the mountain with Bob.
Try not to stay so focused on getting there that the current moment is reduced to being a means……….