Day 13. Burgos to Hontanas 32.2km.
Day 14. Hontanas to San Nicolás, Itero del Castillo 21km.
Day 15. Itero del Castillo to Villalcázar de Sirga 31.1 km.
In many ways I was prepared for the Camino, in many other ways I was not. I knew I would be traveling over 800km and that the physical demands would be grueling. I knew I would feel pain. I knew I would hurt. I knew I would want to quit from sheer exhaustion. What I didn’t know was that the lack of modern conveniences would become a challenge I wasn’t prepared to face.
Without a large variety of clothing to select from. Without guaranteed access to the internet. Without secure access to my phone and text messages. Without the ability to select any type of food or drink my stomach may desire. Without a private sleeping quarter. Without a private bathroom. Without the ability to freely communicate with the people around me. Without the method of transportation. Without. Without. Without. Without all of these things and so much more, I am left purely with only what I have brought and only that of what is offered.
There is in these facts an act of absolute simplicity. I cannot carry with me all that I desires for their weight would be overbearing. I cannot purchase or acquire all that I desire, as their price would be insurmountable and their availability inaccessible. I cannot either often ask for what I might desire as I lack the vocabulary and words to describe what I want. All that is left of me is to simply respond, “yes,” to what is presented.
Behind the simplicity of this word, is the complexity of what the word grants. My “yes” may mean agreeing to food I am not necessarily accustomed to eating. My “yes” may mean sitting, surrounded by a culture and language unlike my own and struggling to digest its meaning. My “yes” may mean wearing the same clothing every other day because that is all that I possess. My “yes” invites me into opportunities that I am not always ready for and requires me to learn and respond.
When I began this Camino 300km ago, I was not prepared for the simplicity of each day. I wasn’t ready for the lack of modern comforts and conveniences. I wasn’t ready to enter into what I have been experiencing. I wasn’t ready for the simplicity of a pilgrimage, but as I have walked more deeply into each moment I have become more accustomed to what has simply been offered and as a result been graced with the reality of new possibilities. When you enter fully into simplicity, the distractions of choice is replaced by the simply graces around you.
In this simplicity, I have recognized that one can simply live without multiple wardrobes. In this simplicity, I have recognized that one can simply live without the internet and other technologies. In this simplicity, I have recognized the world and the people around me in a new light, a light that I had not prepared for, but a light that has shown me a new direction.