Prelude to my Camino?
“A pilgrimage without struggles would just be a vacation.” -Brandon Schantz
Delayed! Cancelled! Pilot Strike! Train Strike!
How challenging can it be to travel from a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean to an even tinier French town in the foothills of the Pyrenees? The nearly 60 hour journey was not without its hiccups and stresses, but what would a pilgrimage be without any struggles?
Admittedly, I’m not the most laidback traveler—it is in my DNA. Despite years of extensive domestic and international travel, I still have a gigantic fear of missing my flights and airport security lines feel like purgatory here on Earth. I wish I could confess that my Camino was “free-form;” however, I do have a schedule (of sorts). For those who know my family: Do the Newman’s ever not have a schedule and clear marching orders?
The looming Air France strike forced me to change my flight last minute to Delta. I got the final seat on the plane. The ongoing French Train Strike required that I book a flight on EasyJet to Biarritz/Bayonne (SW France). An unplanned night in Bayonne and a bus trip to St. Jean Pied-de-Port has lead me to the foot of the mountain I am “scheduled” to climb.
Along the way, I have already had a few angels in my journey. The Alaska airline flight attendant (Brandi) who shared her passion and knowledge of Northern Spain. The kind Delta check-in agent who did the Camino in 2016. The French police officer who snuck me back into the secured area of the Paris airport after his colleague, a passport control agent, sent me the wrong way. The thoughtful woman on the EasyJet flight who offered to pay for my drink of water on the plane—my money was tucked in my bag pack in the overhead storage bin. By the way, paying for a cup of water? Jesus might have something to say about that!
Is the trek before my first steps on the Camino a “prelude” or is the initial trek part of my Camino? Something tells me I’m already a pilgrim and my Camino has already started (in Lihue, Hawaii).
Lesson of the Day: Being a pilgrim means being more flexible and more trusting of the Spirit. Even God can’t stop the French from striking, it is in their DNA!