peregrina no more

i quit.

two days into the pilgrimage, i quit.

i quit because my feet were covered in blisters, and because i was scared, and because i was all alone, and because i couldn’t communicate with anyone, and because i really didn’t think i could walk another day, much less ten more.

in the town square in vilarinho, i sat and sobbed as i bandaged my blisters. i called my mom and told her i wanted to come home. she said that i shouldn’t come home – that i should make the most of this time that i had – but that no one was making me do the camino except me, and that if i was ready to quit, i could quit. she and i prayed for god’s help in figuring things out, and in getting safely to my destination.

i asked for directions and was pointed back towards the camino. i shook my head, no, i want to go home, my feet etc. i was told that i could catch a bus back to porto from the square. i sat down to wait, and five minutes later a small portuguese man came over and asked why i was crying. he told me how to get to the metro, and waited with me for 45 minutes, making small talk about the camino, pilgrims, my boyfriend, etc. this was not the first time i had prayed for help and immediately received it – nor has it been the last.

so now, a day later, two days after starting the camino – i am in santiago. i took the metro to porto to what i thought was a train station, another metro to the actual train station, and then the train to vigo, a coastal city in spain. i spent an awful night in vigo, then took the train this morning along the coast – so beautiful – to santiago. i arrived to a cathedral full of pilgrims bearing the compostela, which i would not receive because i didn’t walk far enough.

that is ok.

i have learned and grown so much in the last couple of days. putting my life, my safety, and my possessions entirely in god’s hands will do that. i feel closer to him than i perhaps ever have – which probably has a lot to do with the fact that i’ve been able to talk to no one else during the long lonely hours on the train, on the camino, in the hostels by myself. my mom and shane have been amazing – but they can only be there a part of the time, while god was with me crossing the busy highway, in the doorway of the shaded cemetery where i sat down and cried, on the streets of vigo while i frantically looked for a place to stay. he is with me now, in this internet cafe, and will be with me when i make my way to the albergue, and tomorrow on to london.

i don’t know if i understand entirely why this was what i was meant to do – start this road, and then leave it so quickly – but if i retain half of what i’ve learned in the last three days, it will be worth it.

on less spiritual notes, because of the change of plans, i’ll probably be back in the states sooner than originally planned. walking and sleeping and eating in rural spain and portual is much much cheaper than doing the same in london. i hope to connect with an old friend who is currently studying in edinburgh – but if that doesn’t happen, my plans are wide open, reliant only on my ability to speak the language (i’ve learned my lesson) and on my direct deposit from the university.

i love you all. i’m tremendously lonely. i’m having incredible adventures. and my feet hurt.

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0 thoughts on “peregrina no more

  1. following set plans is a boring way to go about life, anyway… i’m very proud of you, my dear. try to enjoy the randomness a little while while you’re still away.

    *

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  2. You wrote a very touching post, Miss E. I’d tell you all the things your post made me feel, but instead, all I can come up with is boring practical advice:

    In the future, as soon as your feet start feeling warm, put duct tape on them. It sounds dumb, but it keeps the shoes from rubbing against your skin (instead, they rub against the tape).

    And if you’re not duct-taping your feet, well… you’ve got God to keep you company in the meantime. He’s a pretty handy companion, the best one I’ve found, anyway.

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  3. You wrote a very touching post, Miss E. I’d tell you all the things your post made me feel (like telling you to read Psalm 121), but instead, all I can come up with is boring practical advice:

    In the future, as soon as your feet start feeling warm, put duct tape on them. It sounds dumb, but it keeps the shoes from rubbing against your skin (instead, they rub against the tape).

    And if you’re not duct-taping your feet, well… you’ve got God to keep you company in the meantime. He’s an excellent companion.

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  4. Like I told you on the phone: this trip is for you, sweetheart. Whatever you do with it is for your enjoyment and experience. I miss you and love you!

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  5. No matter what happens, everthing is part of the journey. whether it’s along the planned road or not, it all matters. I truly believe everything happens for a reason, so don’t fret.
    I do warn you, however…if you go to Edinburgh, you may never want to leave. I went for a few months and stayed for nearly two years (well, not the whole time in Edinburgh, but enough.) If you do go, please have a pint at Black Bo’s pub on Blackfriar’s off of the Royal Mile for me.

    Good Luck. See you when we see you.

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  6. e. my goodness gracious, I should have been checking your blog.

    you are very brave and very amazing. you are brave to have done this trip to begin with, and even braver to end it when you needed to. I am proud of you.

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  7. “That’s the best thing about walking, the journey itself. It doesn’t matter much whether you get where you’re going or not. You’ll get there anyway. Every good hike brings you eventually back home.”
    -Edward Abbey

    Best of luck on the rest of your journey home.

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