From St Jean Pied de Port to Porto

Hello everyoneit’s me again.

It’s been a while, but I’m somewhere else again, so here are some words.

I’ve arrived in Porto this evening to begin my second Camino, having walked an extraordinarily memorable Francés last autumn from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela.

Almost as soon as I returned home then, I was thinking about how I might be able to do it again, to return to this fabulous social and spiritual environment, this irreplaceable mindset, this enhanced sense of self. 

The intervening six months have seen much emotional and spiritual challenge, as I have found myself wrestling with questions about identity, location and purpose, as well as processing the impact of a short, intense and draining relationship.

Eventually, after flirting with all sorts of different Camino options, I’ve chosen to walk the Portugués into Santiago.

Already, settling in on my first night in an albergue, I’m feeling that sense of camaraderie and shared experience again, meeting several other pilgrims who have also walked another Camino too.

I’m not alone, it seems. 

The urge to return is undeniable.

When I walked the Francés route last autumn, I didn’t know how to answer the question when I was asked why I was doing it – not until about halfway along, when I fully realised just how valuable the experience was proving to be.

Ever since then, I’ve had to find reasons not to do it again – the usual set of standard social strictures that frown on such escapism, such irresponsibility, such free-spiritedness.

But I’m fortunate to be surrounded by supportive friends and family who have encouraged me to take a bold step out along the Camino once again – a shorter, simpler, possibly easier journey on this occasion, apart from one key difference.

Walking the first Camino changed me, undoubtedly. 

What came next, when I came home and tried to reintegrate into normal society again – that changed me too.

This time, I do know why I’m walking the Camino.

It’s to figure out which version of myself that I want to maintain in the future.

Ten days – let’s see if it’s long enough to get there.

5 thoughts on “From St Jean Pied de Port to Porto

  1. Connie

    Hola John, It sounds wonderful! I met you last year at Casa Magica on my 2nd Camino. I am planning my 3rd Camino Francis in May 2020. It continues to call me back-maybe more lessons to learn? Enjoy and BUEN CAMINO!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Laura Foley

    Wonderful to read your reflections again. We will start the Portuguese in early June, from Porto to Santiago, our second Camino also (we did the Frances last May-June).

    Hooray to you, and buen camino!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Andreas

    ¡Hola! John

    Just found out about your blog! I was reading it all the morning laughing out loud a lot, feeling a certain urge to undertake another Camin just for the pleasure to be with people that with all their different stories, thoughts points of view and and and enrich the meaning of our life.

    I wish you a beautiful Portugués Camino and hope to see you soon yeah!

    And please add how left foot and right shoulder is doing

    Liked by 1 person

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