And so begins the journey. I’m sitting in the Qantas lounge at Melbourne airport, alone. I’ve said my goodbyes to the people I love and I don’t expect to see any of them for at least four months.
I’m in a sea of interesting emotions, I feel lonely, excited, uncertain and I’m kind of second guessing my current decisions. Why am I doing this?
Most of my Melbourne friends would know what I’m up to, but for those who don’t, let me catch you up. I’m heading out on a pilgrimage. The primary focus is to walk the Camino de Santiago (Professor Google will give you all you might want to read about it), the path I am taking will be somewhere between 900 and 1000 Km. It is an ancient Catholic pilgrimage through the north of Spain that ends in Santiago where James the half brother of Jesus is allegedly buried. Some pilgrims will then walk to the western most point of the Spanish mainland and burn their clothes. Apparently I get one third off my time in Purgatory too, which would be rather a lot for me. I’m not banking on this too much.
Most of you would know that I am not Catholic, but I do think that I want to put time aside to focus on the spiritual. I don’t know about you, but I get so busy (often with stuff unworthy of my days), that in the end I have an abundance of half cooked thoughts. All of them sitting there in my head, looking at me accusingly and wondering when I’m going to pay them any further attention. I suspect my stuff with God is a bit the same. I dutifully pray, read my bible, sing the occasional happy song, and I feel that often I do these things like I pay my bills. Dutifully, occasionally overdue and without much passion or enthusiasm.
I’m meeting with four friends (two couples….how fun for me!), in Paris in a couple of weeks. We’ll walk some of the Camino together. There will be photos, but I figure you don’t want to see the airport lounge.
So the (very fluid and flexible), plan is this. I’m spending a couple of weeks in Paris on my own. Actually catching up with a couple of colleagues there, but this will take up less than a day in total. I meet my friends and we catch the train south to Basque country where we begin the walk. I walk, meet God, we hang out for a bit. Then I pick up a motorcycle in Madrid (already organised BMW R1200 GS, for any petrol heads). Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco and potentially other bits of North Africa. Rome, Italian coastline, then work my round to Jerusalem. Yes, I know there are lots of bits in between.
Why? Well mostly ’cause I’ve felt that I am called to. Don’t really know what that means, but I guess we’ll find out one way or the other. I really am interested in the spiritual, whatever that looks like. It has been a tricky few years and I want to give myself some genuine alone time to play mercilessly with my thoughts.
So, if you are the praying type, please remember me. Prayer is good. If you’re not the praying type….well, prayer can be good. As I said earlier, photos will follow. Forgive me if this opening post is too self indulgent.
If you see God, tell Him I said hi and I’m out looking for Him.
A quick amendment: After much debate and discussion, it seems likely that the “James” in question is in fact not the half brother James, but the James brother of John “Sons of Thunder” James.