I Walked in the San Francisco airport for possibly 4 km and didn’t see one pilgrim with a backpack, BUT I did meet Mary, originally from England, who was returning to her home in Spain. She walked the Camino to Santiago, with her Spanish husband (now 83) in 2004, and we spoke Camino. In line I met a guitar designer and high school administrator, former music teacher on his way to Granada for a month of guitar building. Before departure I received a WhatsApp message from a Pilgrim I met in Roncesvalles in 2016. On the plane I sat next to a Spanish PhD engineering student returning home to visit family. We talked changes in immigration policies that are impacting him. He hasn’t walked the Camino, but maybe someday.
That was all before takeoff.
So we waited our turn for takeoff and I hardly noticed time with meaningful conversations and friendly people and then the Christopher Robin film that warmed my heart.
This journey, from send offs by my family and friends to meeting new people along the way is moving on in wondrous ways, with the human energy I love. It’s all about connecting!
Tell me, what could have been better?
What happens those early hours and days when a pilgrim lands in Spain? For some it’s all new and perhaps disorienting and others feel at home. For those of us coming from another time zone, skipping a day affects us differently.
I landed, and after a quick trip through passport control I was out in the busy bus and pick up area where I’ll be again tomorrow when I catch an ALSA bus to Burgos. I called the shuttle from the hostal and was picked up in less than 15 minutes. I stayed here in Los Coronales Hostal in 2016. It’s in a suburban area of Madrid near the airport, comfortable, very clean and modern with a helpful and courteous staff. The big bonus is the shuttle and the safe walking areas.
I walked all around this mostly residential area to the Supermercado and restaurants that I managed to completely miss the last time I was here. So nice to be able find my way around this time.
I thought about similar ways adults and children learn: through experience, hands on/doing, trial and error, motivation, mistakes. (Fear and punishment, NO). And how the Camino is a way for us to learn at any age. It’s a sense of freedom to feel confident and safe.
Travel is one of the best teachers and we are never too old to learn, to meet new people, hear and speak different languages and see how others live. That’s my Camino.
The maps we may carry, the arrows we follow, the right and wrong turns, making reservations, living with only basic needs and more. Here comes that Comfort Zone again. Experience helps.
If you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, and love to play, help the kids you’re with learn respect and independence through travel, even if it’s close to home. Maps, research on the area you’ll visit, conversation, learning a new language, interviews of people who’ve traveled your route, books, mags and computer programs all are tools that will inspire and teach.
Then put on your boots and Walk a Camino. Or walk, wherever you like to go. Or Bike. Or take the train.
Mañana is Burgos for one or two days, then I’ll be off to find my friend, Marylee, who’s days ahead.
Buen Camino, amigos. 👣