When I was in my early 30’s, I told a therapist that I wanted to be self-actualized by the time I was 40. She and I laughed about that lofty expectation and she told me to watch out what I wish for since self-actualization might signal the end.
“Why did you come on the Camino?” is the third question pilgrims ask each other after, “Where are you from?” and “Where did you start your Camino?” The answers are as varied as the pilgrims themselves. Why did I come on the Camino? My answer when I started was purely for the adventure and challenge. After more than 30 days of walking I would still include the adventure and the challenge amongst my reasons, but so much more has happened since that first day. I have met so many people who have touched my life in both big and small ways, and I have had the time to self-reflect in ways I never dreamed possible. I have spent every day joyously with the love of my life and strengthened our love and friendship beyond belief. I have experienced enormous kindness and generosity from strangers. I will never be the same after this experience. Am I self-actualized? Hell, no! I really don’t strive for that anymore. The lessons are more about humility, staying open, trusting both the process and myself. People are here for lots of different reasons, all of them valid and important. The Camino is filled with wonder and magic. The walking is coming to end in 5 days, but the lessons of the Camino will stay with me forever.
With love and gratitude,