Day 32 - Ribadiso to O Pedrouza - 24 km
It is the big day of arrival tomorrow - only 21 km to go, and we will be on the road by 6, as we want to be in the Cathedral for the pilgrim mass at noon.
After 33 days of journey, we will be at our destination. I am in a bit of turmoil, and I am sure I am not alone.
How will I feel on arrival?
Yesterday, I was discussing this with a woman on her second Camino. She said she felt there should have been bells rung or a brass band to mark her arrival. But it is an internal experience.
Last time, I felt flat, with little emotion - drained, really. ¨Is that all there is? ¨ I thought.After the buildup and excitement as we neared, the 32 days of walking, the anticipation. But when the botifumeira flew ( the incense burner, which is huge) I burst into tears, and was in touch with my mixed emotions and my ambivalence.
On one hand, I am glad that it is over. Unpacking every night, packing up every morning, carrying a heavy backpack, waking in the night and wondering where I am, where the servicios are, and whether I am on a top or bottom bunk, the limited choices on the menus compared to home, the wear and tear on my body, the exhaustion.
But there are losses to grieve on arrival. The end of the camraderie - perhaps 100 people we have met and had a personal connection with, and will never see again. Eating dinner every night with a constantly changing group of brave adventurous interesting people from around the world. The beautiful panorama of every day. The endorphins and high that comes with the 6 hours of walking. The freedom from responsibilities and obligations to others in our life at home. The uncertainty in returning to our old life - are there changes we want to make - do we pick up where we left off, or let go of some parts of it?
All I needed, I carried in my backpack. What about all the stuff at home?
How can I be the me that walked the Camino - my best self - in the world I return to?