The pace increases;
the mind begins to wander
when the end is near.
Walking the Camino creates an opportunity to meet pilgrims from all over the world. New friendships are forged quickly regardless of motivation and because of the one common goal of walking to Santiago de Compostela. A constant ebb and flow along the way provides for repeated hello and goodbye. When least expected, a new friend can appear on the path, in a cafe, restaurant, albergue, or Casa Rural. These unsuspected meetings renew energy. Friendships deepen with each encounter. It's an amazing benefit of walking the Camino and one that I suspect will one day lead me back.
Walking has become a habit. It's a "walk, eat, sleep, repeat" scenario. My body is strong; my feet tough. But as the journey's end looms with less than 50 kilometers to go, bittersweet thoughts come to mind. Time with friends is savored. I consider the uniqueness of my experience; how endings can also be beginnings and as the pace quickens and the sound of bagpipes at the entrance to Santiago square increases, I reflect upon how my life is changed...forever.