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.