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Memories of the Camino

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
I read something the other day about journeys and goals that made me think (sic!): “It is better to travel than to arrive….. No goal, no ultimate point of arrival, is worth the sacrifice of each successive ‘now’.”

I realized that this is very much how I feel when thinking back on my Caminos - as a collection of detached ‘now-moments’ that seem to be hard-wired into my memory: Walking out of a small pueblo in the cold dawn. Finding shelter from the rain in some small bar. Standing somewhere on the Meseta in the blazing sun and looking around and realizing that I am all alone. Sitting for some time in the silence and coolness of a small chapel and feeling wonderfully empty from all thoughts. Being greeted cordially by a pilgrim that I briefly met some days before. Standing hot and exhausted on a hilltop and looking over the grand landscape. And…. And…. A mixture of apparently insignificant moments that seem to be significant all the same. When I actually was on the Camino, I thought about the goal, about arriving in Santiago, and walking into Praza do Obradoiro and later attending the Pilgrim Mass were, at the time, in some sense highlights of the experience. Thinking back, though, these events appear as just other ‘now-moments’ no more and no less significant than any other. Actually, thinking back it is often the more ‘humble’ moments that first come to mind.

This way of remembering the Camino is different from the way in which I recall other travel experiences, which appear more as 'narratives'.

This is just a little personal reflection that I thought I would share – and perhaps I needed to think of something different from the Corona virus for a while. :)
 

Canada Wanders

Lost, but making great time...
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015
CP 2018
I agree 100%. So many times a thought or memory will float up and I will smile. The places, the experience, the food...the people. I specifically remember one man from Fresno California, an older, white hair and beard gentleman I walked with a couple of times. He is linked forever in my mind as my Camino dad, at a time I was grieving the toll Alzheimer's was taking on my own father. I am sure I could never fully express how special that was for me.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
On my last Camino we took a rest day in Sarria, taxied to Lugo as I always wanted to walk around those walls.
Now when we go through the photos and videos, my husband doesn't have the same clear recall of Lugo.
He said to me, because we took a taxi, he doesnt have the smells, sounds etc that come with walking through a place and truly experiencing it.

Its made me realise that seeing a country at walking pace over many weeks, cements itself into your soul, because all your senses experience it all at once. I think thats whats makes those moments so clear.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
Its made me realise that seeing a country at walking pace over many weeks, cements itself into your soul, because all your senses experience it all at once. I think thats whats makes those moments so clear.
That is a very good observation! I'll 'buy' that :)
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
Ditto from me...so true.
Perhaps this essential connection between image and other sensory perceptions is the reason why photos are not always a good means to convey our Camino memories to others, especially those with no personal relation to the Camino.

I can show a photo to some friends and enthusiastically say “now, look at this!” and can see them politely suppressing a yawn, because the photo may just show a dusty path leading over the plain and disappearing in the horizon. But I can recall a special feeling of the moment – perhaps I was feeling tired and thirsty at the time and thinking “Please God, put a bar behind that next hill”; or I recall the feeling of the wind and the sun in the face, the crunching sound of gravel under the shoes, the scent of rain in the dust and dry grass, the smell of damp granite in the chapel. Sometimes the strong smell of cow dung :) . But all of that cannot be communicated to others by a photo and trying to explain it….. well, it could be a good way to loose friends….
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Perhaps this essential connection between image and other sensory perceptions is the reason why photos are not always a good means to convey our Camino memories to others, especially those with no personal relation to the Camino.

I can show a photo to some friends and enthusiastically say “now, look at this!” and can see them politely suppressing a yawn, because the photo may just show a dusty path leading over the plain and disappearing in the horizon. But I can recall a special feeling of the moment – perhaps I was feeling tired and thirsty at the time and thinking “Please God, put a bar behind that next hill”; or I recall the feeling of the wind and the sun in the face, the crunching sound of gravel under the shoes, the scent of rain in the dust and dry grass, the smell of damp granite in the chapel. Sometimes the strong smell of cow dung :) . But all of that cannot be communicated to others by a photo and trying to explain it….. well, it could be a good way to loose friends….
So very true! And a big "ditto" from me to you!
 

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