It’s 2am here in Sydney.
I can’t sleep.
In twelve hours I fly out of Australia and head to Spain.
When does a pilgrimage start?
When you put your first foot on The Way? But when does The Way start? In Spain? In Portugal? In Mudgee? Or in your heart? Wherever you might be…
This time last year I left Australia for my first Camino.
I remember I was scared. Genuinely scared. I had no idea what the future would hold for me. I didn’t know whether I’d make it to Santiago. The sensation of being scared was new to me. I’d not been confronted like this before. I felt alive. I felt exhilarated. Because I felt scared.
This time I don’t feel scared. But I feel no less exhilarated. No less alive. I’m bursting to get back. Back onto The Way.
It will be different this time. I’ll be with others. I’ll be with my wife. I’ll be sharing my Pilgrimage. But haven’t I been sharing my Pilgrimage ever since I left home twelve months ago?
I wear a silver scallop shell ring on my finger. My wife gave it to me on my 60th birthday, in memory (in honour?) of my having completed the Camino Frances last year.
I wear that ring with pride.
My Compostela is still in its cardboard tube. I’ve barely looked at it. I never framed it. It’s stayed in the tube. But I wear that ring with pride.
So much has happened in the past year. The Camino changed my life profoundly. I’m a different person now to the one that set off twelve months ago.
But am I different?
Or do I need this coming Camino as much as I needed it last year?
Soon I will find out.