Spanish Dream Deferred

I was supposed to leave for Spain tomorrow to begin walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. After flying into Bilbao to visit the Guggenheim, I was going to drive across the Pyrenees to begin the Camino Frances in St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, France. My goal was to walk about 20-25km/day, crossing back into Galicia and onward towards Santiago. I’d only be able to complete around 200km this trip, so my intention was to return every April for the next few years until I completed the whole 780km. It was a good goal, the culmination of months of training, planning and Spanish lessons.

Trouble is, a few weeks ago, I hurt my hip. I’m not in excruciating pain or anything, but it hurts just enough for me to think twice about flying to Spain to walk all that way by myself.

I’m trying not to be overly disappointed about postponing. In the scheme of things, it’s no big deal. My work schedule is flexible enough that I can probably go next month instead. I just have a weird, nagging feeling that my body is trying to tell me something.

Although the Camino is a Christian pilgrimage route, I was going more for spiritual reasons than strictly religious ones. As I said in an earlier post, it’s been a really difficult time for me, but I’m trying to keep moving forward. A year ago, I could barely go up two flights of stairs without getting winded, so hiking across the Pyrenees would be a huge accomplishment. What’s more, people use the walk to reflect on their priorities, which is pretty appealing to me at the moment. I was hoping this would be a chance for me to celebrate my progress and to refocus my goals.

Unfortunately, my progress has been a little shaky over the past few weeks. I try really hard to stay optimistic, but sometimes it feels impossible. Lately I find myself wondering if my hip is the root of my current issues or a manifestation of them. Does that sound totally nuts?

The thing is, I never get hurt. I’m one of those lucky people who’s never had surgery or broken a bone. I don’t pull muscles or get migraines. I can eat pretty much anything, do pretty much anything, all without getting sick or injured. So, although I’m not an overly superstitious person, I’m starting to wonder if the universe is trying to tell me something with this whole hip/trip setback. Like, maybe I need to stay home for some reason?

Yup, that sounds totally nuts.

Hurricanes hardly ever happen…

• I had never heard of the Santiago de Compostela until about two years ago when I read about “The Way,” starring Martin Sheen and directed by his son Emilio Estevez. It’s a sweet film about a father completing the walk in memory of his son who had died along on the route. Definitely worth watching if you’re considering making the journey or just looking for a good movie.

• I know all the cool kids are hating on Gwyneth and her “conscious uncoupling” right now, but her 2008 PBS show, “Spain… On the Road Again,” with Mario Batali, Mark Bittman and Claudia Bassols, is pretty awesome if you’re into food/travel shows. The cookbook that goes along with it is solid too. I’ve tried Batali’s recipe for Hake with Clams – it’s super easy and great served with a simple salad.

• A few months ago, a friend turned me on to Chick Corea’s album, “Light As a Feather.” Even if you’re not into jazz, you’ve probably heard the track “Spain.” And if you are into jazz, you’ll probably like this story about its creation.



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