“Listen. Everyone had some big, monumental, life-changing reason for going on the Camino. I met people who wanted to figure out their life, get over some traumatic past event, or maybe grow as a person. Not me. I just literally had no place else to be. I had just finished college, and I didn’t have a job yet. I’d never even heard of the Camino until my mom Grace mentioned that she wanted to do it. So I invited myself.
One thing that was fun was shopping for all the new gear and equipment. I spent months researching exactly what we would need for the trip, finding good deals, and making sure we each had the perfect stuff for an easy trip. I’m a little bit ‘Type A’ like that – I have always thrived on structure. My German friends have told me that I was wasted as an American, that I should be one of them. Still, all that careful planning and somehow there were no perfect days. Nothing we brought with us ended up working perfectly all the time, and every now and then we realized we needed something we didn’t have. We often got what we needed, whether from a generous hiker, an albergue lost and found, or just a store. ‘The Camino provides,’ as they say. From that experience, I’ve learned to let go a little, that maybe things will work out without me micromanaging and fretting about every detail.
I walked from St. Jean to Fisterra and Muxía with my mom, but we almost never walked side-by-side. She is much friendlier than I am and spoke to people at every opportunity. For her, the Camino was about the people. My Camino was about me. Most of the time I preferred to walk alone. Maybe with some occasional chatter, but mostly I wanted to experience the trip and be alone with my thoughts.
The Camino, for me, was about peace. In ‘real life,’ in college, people are always telling me that I look tired, or that my eyes look tired. The camino was tiring – really freakin’ tiring. But somehow, the closest I’ve felt to having real peace in my soul was when trudging up the Alto de Perdón, that monster hill outside Pamplona, or after finally climbing O Cebreiro and arriving in Galicia. Peeling off my sweat-soaked shirt off, feeling and listening to the breeze. Taking in the world below. My tiredness would disappear. Nobody told me my eyes looked tired then. Those moments were so quiet, so peaceful, so energizing, and so different from the kinds of moments we have in our daily lives. Those are the kind of moments I remember the most about my Camino.”
-Amy “BrassKnichols,” USA