I started my walk to Santiago in Lugo. A cute little town with an ancient wall built around it, that is said to be located 103 Kilometers before Santiago. It’s part of the oldest route to Santiago and a great point to start, since the minimum requirement for receiving your Compostella, is a 100 Kilometers. “Buen Camino!” the man said, who owned the bar I was having my last coffee. It means, have a nice walk, or good way.
After walking for 10 kilometers, I had not seen any other “Pellegrino’s.” At first, I felt a little sad, because I was hoping to make some new friends on the way. But it’s almost December and most people walk during the summer months. I entered a little village, that was known to have some Albergues. But the town was completely dead. I was told by the one state owned Albergue that was open, that 7 kilometers ahead, was an Alberque owned by two Dutchies.
Once there, a nice hot soup with a sandwich was waiting for me. A little later we got together, with a few Spaniards. It was nice to talk to my fellow countrymen. I like the fact, that when we talk, we prefer talking about real things. And I like the fact, that we are not screaming when we talk, while the Spaniards seem to laugh out hard, after every sentence that comes out. The Dutch couple, had been running the Albergue for only three months. They seemed tired, after never being able to have a prober weekend and working almost continuously. I could see that they came to realize that their dream of owning a business abroad, was actually a lot harder to maintain, that they had pictured in their minds. Luckily they were about to close and have a long winter break.
The next day I woke up early. Not because I wanted to start walking in the morning, but because I had some work to do. Because I left Holland, with some assignments, still to take care off. It was stressing me out, because I was not able to fully commit to the camino. After walking for a few hours, one of my clients called. He asked me how long it still took me, to hand him all the goods. In my case, a film commercial, about their corporation. He asked me if I would cut out, all the beautiful material I had shot for them. I flipped, because he reminded me how rude we can be sometimes.
After walking for a little more, I felt I just had to give up my expectations. I had to give up, on the illusions of my mind. Because we all seem to be trapped in our own little illusions. The illusion of being a great film maker one day. Or a great writer. The fact that I will walk some red carpet, or get together with a dozen hot blondes in a villa one day. So keep on dreaming Jan Hendrik.. Keep up with the illusions of your own mind. Or stop believing in them. Stop believing the very Illusion that has been forcing you to hate yourself for reasons, that are probably better off staying unknown, to anyone else..
The next village I entered was Melide. I walked into an Alberque and expected to meet a few people. But the people I met could smell it. So I was left out. I literally packed my bag again and eventually found another place, since I had to be back to give my editor feedback on the montage he was doing for me back in Hilversum. Once in bed, I listened to some music. The illusions of my mind, kept on pounding through my head. But I had to stop believing in them..
The next day I walked for a 34 KM stretch. It was intense. I had to make it to O pedrouzo, since it was the only place on the camino, that would have a proper restaurant to eat. On the way I met a girl from Italy. We had a nice talk. She taught me that it’s better to ask yourself, whether you want to live with someone, than asking yourself if you can live without them.
Once, completely dead, in O pedrouzo, I checked into an Albergue, that was recommended to me. I chose a bed and my neighbor, seemed like a nice guy. He was from Germany. We ended up having an awesome steak and drank a full bottle of wine each, which seems to be custom in Spain. The German taught me that I was nice to believe in simply being an engineer. To make the world a better place by working in the field of sustainable energy. Something that I could have been doing, instead of being a storyteller, that nobody reads and never receives a proper pay..
The next day I walked the last stretch. A was alone for a while, until I ran into a girl from South Korea. At first, I just passed her, since I was conditioned to believe that it is hard to talk to people from Asia. But she screamed for help, since she was afraid of a dog, that was walking there. I was amazed, because asking for help, is a brave thing to do. We ended up having a great talk. She taught me, that it is better to live without prejudices. Because after all, I was the one bragging about doing 34 kilometers of walking in one day. But she, innocent as she might seem, walked for 40 kilometers, in a single day, without bragging about it all. And she started out 800 kilometers earlier. She told me that I could not have possible experienced, what she had been experiencing the last 6 weeks..
After another while, I arrived in Santiago. My feet were barely able to walk, so I made a lot of stops. During these stops, I met the craziest walkers. One started walking from Vienna and one from Genève. They had been walking for months and more than 3000 kilometers! Another Italian, started walking from Sicily, sleeping in barns, while pigs where shitting an pissing everywhere. I simply could’t believe it.
Later during the night, after I received my Compostella, I met up with the German again, to attend the 19.30 ceremony in the Cathedral of Santiago. It was a catholic ceremony, especially for pilgrims. The priest mentions all the pilgrims, that attended, by mentioning their Nationality and where they started walking from. So when I heard, “Holland and Lugo,” right after each other, I nice smile appeared on my face.
We ended up meeting a lot more Camino lovers, and had the night of our lives. Yes, a truly great night, full of storytelling, sharing and bonding with other likeminded spirits, from all over the world. Yeah, I was truly grateful for that. Truly grateful, for being able to give up on all my expectations. And all my illusions..