My journey officially begins on October 26, 2021, the day of my arrival in Saint Jean Pied de port … but the idea of the journey starts much earlier, at the beginning of the pandemic that will oblige many of us to be locked in isolation.
During the pandemic, forced to stay home for weeks without being able to go out, I needed to push myself beyond my comfort zone. I have never been enthusiastic about walking long distances, especially if we talk about walking 30km a day for 1 month straight, but I found the idea of seeking discomfort fascinating; you know…that kind of discomfort that pushes you in a way that you never thought possible and lets you discover new sides of you.
Well that wasn’t my experience at all.
Unfortunately, only after 10 days of walking I develop a bad tendonitis which made it impossible for me to continue this experience. Months of planning thrown away, a great sense of dissatisfaction and anger towards myself and my lack of athletic preparation before embarking on the journey.
But are these the only things that I will take with me after this journey was interrupted so abruptly?
Let’s go in order.
The first day of the Camino is quite a baptism by fire for many pilgrims. We crossed the Pyrenees to arrive in Spain, encountering what I can only describe as one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen in my life. As I climb the mountain, as the sun rises over a vast expanse of white clouds, the view before me is heavenly.
I am not a believer but if I had been one, in that moment of pure perfection, I would have felt really close to God.
The difference in height of the first day is certainly the most impressive and getting to Roncesvalles was really challenging, yet at every step I could only look around amazed by the beauty of what surrounded me.
But what about the other pelgrims?
Having tackled the journey at the end of October, I haven’t met the mass of pilgrims one would expect to find on the Camino. Mine was a conscious choice as I wanted to walk alone for the majority of time. Like 99% of pilgrims, the Camino represents a journey in search of oneself in a moment of transition in one’s life. I myself had recently moved to Denmark from Italy and I was going through a series of changes that I wasn’t quite ready to make. I hoped that the journey would help me to think, to understand who I wanted to be and where I wanted to be.
I have to say that in a totally different way from what I expected, it helped me in figuring out that.
By Daniela Melis