Tonight I am grateful for God having better plans than I do.
Today I wanted to do 43km – we had planned on doing a marathon day to get Frank and Paolo to Leon by Thursday.
It started off beautifully. Picturesque sunrise, fields upon fields of sunflowers, hues of pink and purple and blue and orange splashed across the sky.
But I wasn’t really committed to the idea, and just didn’t do it wisely. By 1:00pm we’d taken nearly two and a half hours worth of breaks! With another 23km still ahead of us on a 35’C day on the mesitas (i.e. desert/no shade), it was a pretty rough slog.
After lunch, the next town was 17km away, and then the one we actually wanted to get to, another six past that.
I had spent nearly the entirety of my day walking alone, and I loved it. I went my own pace, took breaks when and where I needed them, sang till my voice gave out and had total freedom in getting from Point A to Point B. It’s funny how little this actually happens – I have found myself reprioritising my desires to put relationships and people ahead of going a certain distance or reaching a specific town.
It was refreshing to recharge my batteries with alone time again, but I was glad when David came along.
Remember back in Estella, as I was writing out my daily post a totally wrecked guy came to the front desk and I helped translate for him and get him a bed? That was David, and it was good to see him again.
By this point I think I had mild heatstroke.. It was pretty bad conditions, and I was beat. David was so good – we walked, he mostly talked, and I remembered to ask him if he knew my two uncles who served in the Air Force, (he’d mentioned previously he was with the RAAF). Turns out he knows BOTH of them! What a bizarrely small world; he served with two of my family when I was just a baby, and now I’m walking across Spain with him!
Along the way a white panel van slowly drove up beside us and offered cold drinks. Healthy Harold always taught me do NOT accept anything from a stranger in a van, but it was hot, I needed a drink and some sugar, so I got a Fanta, and it was FANTAstic. 👌🏽
I perked up enough to get to the albergue, but after Frank and I had waited three hours (and counting) for the others we made the call to stay there for the night instead of press on.
Dom is that funky Buddhist I’ve mentioned. I walked in the room, a little dejected from not having reach my 43km, and was generally tired and bordering on grumpy. He took one look at me, and said, “Oh Naomi, here, I have some chocolate for you!”
It mightn’t seem too impressive (or just common sense), but to me, the fact that he saw me and saw how I was really doing and didn’t hesitate in offering the chocolate really touched me. He knows me already.
As the night unfolded, I met Jess – another Aussie girl. She and I got talking, and speaking to her was one of the most healing and precious moments I’ve had here so far. (What is it with Jess’ that are good for my heart?!).
If I had pressed on just to get to where I thought I wanted, I would have missed out on these moments that will stay with me now forever.
One of my pub family said to me before I left, “The faster you rush to get to your destination, the faster the journey is over”. So simple, and yet so profound.
No need to push myself just for the sake of pushing; I’ll end up being too tired to appreciate the goodness that is laid out and waiting for me.
You don’t have to travel the world, or join the military, or build classrooms for orphans to have an epic life. Do it where you are!
Be an exceptional mumma, or real estate agent, or lawyer, or student. Live your life to its fullest – however that looks.