from Chapter 21

Weariness of the Solo Walker

By that time in my Camino, I didn’t think about the difference in the distances I covered on the pilgrimage from the distances when I trained during the summer. To do so, probably would have made it difficult to continue. I had started my Camino only one week earlier from A Guarda. Every day consisted of putting one foot before the other until I reached my daily goal. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the countryside through which I walked or the observations I made about other pilgrims and interesting things along the way.

The act of walking a Camino is deliberate, especially if you walk it alone. It has to be because there are always physical or mental obstacles you have to overcome. If you don’t like being by yourself, especially for long periods of time, I would not suggest walking a Camino. It also helps if you’re goal oriented.

No one ever asks what you think about while you’re walking hour after hour with only the thoughts in your head.  And you do talk to yourself. You sing songs long-forgotten that suddenly pop into your head…sometimes out loud, sometimes under your breath, sometimes in your mind. You entertain yourself by counting steps or twirling your walking poles. You plan your next day. You think about your next meal. You long for the day’s walk to be over.

Some days, I found it easier to reach my daily goal than others. But the days were starting to be a blur, and doubts about why I decided to put myself through this experience became more frequent. These feelings tended to occur toward the end of each day. By that time, I felt hot and weary, and the thoughts of completing the day’s walk were consuming. “Just keep walking. It’s only a little bit further. You can do it,” I would cheer myself on.

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