Day 25 – Simplicity

I shaved this morning.

Thing is, I shaved with a disposable razor.

I haven't used a disposable razor since I was a student. I bought 6 Gillette disposable razors yesterday for €1.90. I didn't buy them for the price, but for the weight. When you walk the Camino, everything comes down to weight.

Plastic disposable razor blades weigh bugger all.

The reason I haven't used a disposable razor since I was young is that technology has moved on, and we've now been primed to believe that we need the latest Gillette Powerglide, (or whatever they're called), which requires a battery to make it vibrate and give you a closer smoother shave.

Its blade isn't just one blade, but four blades with an aloe vera stripe to ensure that you never get a shaving cut, and your cheeks will be as smooth as a baby's butt.

These blades cost two bucks a pop.

I mention this as the start to my post today because it occurred to me as I set out on my walk this morning, at 7am, (with my cheeks freshly shaved without a cut), that my relationship with my shaving apparatus really does run parallel with my life.

Why has my life become four blades instead of one?

Where has the simplicity gone?

The Camino demands simplicity.You carry everything you need to survive on your back. You haul it up hills, up mountains, across vast plains and down into valleys. What you possess is your burden. Literally. If you don't need it, really need it, you still carry it. So it forces you to look at everything you have and ask: is it necessary?

If you want to have a fancy wardrobe choice, you carry it. If you want to wear make-up, or use after-shave, you carry it. If you want to use a blow dryer, or take multi-vitamins, you carry it.

Your possessions are your burden.

There are other simplicities the Camino demands.

You walk from A to B each day. If you leave late or walk slow, you arrive late. If you linger over lunch, you arrive late. If you arrive late, you may not get a bed. In which case you have to walk to the next town.

In terms of goals, objectives and obstacles, there is nothing simpler.

Relationships are simple. Everyone shares a common goal – to get to Santiago. And everyone goes through hardship. That makes for courteous respectful and ego-less relationships.

There is no status on the Camino. Everyone is equal.

(Except for those miserable lazy day-packers who bus in from Astorga and talk loud.)

Ooops. Remind me to delete that.

Let me tell you about my day:

I thought I got lost walking out of Ponferrada this morning, but I did finally connect up with the ubiquitous yellow arrows. On the outskirts of town I passed a very old church, and in its grounds was an old moss covered rock with a statue on top.

Many of these statues, and figures in paintings in the churches, hold their hands Buddha like, or similar to some of the Hindu gods and goddesses. There's such strong similarity across religions in the iconography.

I had breakfast in a town about 2hrs out of Ponferrada, and later met a young couple from Montreal who are carrying their 11month old baby to Santiago. Amazing people. They started in Leon.

I then walked through some beautiful old villages until I got to vineyards on the outskirts of Villafranca del Bierzo.

Today was a short day for me. 23 kms. Just over the pussy mark.



10 thoughts on “Day 25 – Simplicity

  1. Bill,
    Great photos – especially like the moss rock and the floating Mary.

    Daughter and girlfriend started out yesterday and made it to Roncesvalles but really felt it. Blisters already. I’ve told her now to slow down the next few days and get used to the rhythm of the way. “Remember what happened to Bill the first few days?” I said. She’s been reading yr blog up until she left, and got the message. Hoping she listens to her own PGS.

    Jim in Kentucky


    • Cool, thanks Jim. Yes, listening to your body, and not letting our rational mind over-ride it, is important.

      But bloody hell mate, they made it to Roncesvalles! That’s a huge achievement!



  2. Bill, you have no idea what an inspiration and mentor you have been to me. I really want to emulate you on my Camino. I hope i can capture the images, energy, and emotion you portray. Like many have said, it’s like being there with you. Having some trouble with images on ipad blog but have a few days to work it out. Thank you so much for sharing. The Camino knows no strangers and the internet knows no borders. Buen Camino. Steve


    • That’s wonderful Steve, thank you!

      You will find your own unique way of seeing things, and articulating it in your own particular way. The land and the people and the light will inspire you.

      My only bit of advice, for what it’s worth, is approach it like its your last days on earth. Embrace every moment with wonder and awe and respect and FUN!

      It’s just a walk in the country after all!




      • Bill, In reality, we should live each day as tho it were our last and one day it will be. Easier said then done. I learned that by losing my former wife in a freak and sudden motorcycle accident 14 years back. Thanks for the reminder. Steve


    • Hi Jim, not sure of the name of it; I had ordered a croissant but it was in the same cabinet so I thought I’d try it instead. Doughy kind of outer casing, with an apricot sort of jam inside. All home made and straight out of the oven. Delicious!


    • Ah, the Camino is full of dogs.

      I’d shot this little dog front lit, then it scrambled to get away from a car and moved into silhouette, and the shot immediately became much more interesting…


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