I had a love affair.

I had a love affair with the Camino.

It was passionate, it was deep, it was over too soon. Our time together was all too fleeting, but I gave my heart wholly and I will never quite get it back.I’m not sure I even want to.

I learnt, I grew, I dove right in with a wild abandon that left me breathless and full to bursting and yet crying out for more.

Santiago, the grip you have on my heart will be a vice forever.

Now that I have tasted and seen, every experience henceforth will be in your shadow… At least, that’s what my lovesick heart is telling me. I guess in time, the grief of the end of us will ebb away some, but you left your marks deep.

And so I turn my gaze to India. 

Oh, India.

I wish I hadn’t first met you straight from Camino. Even in all your vibrance and colour and splendour, my soul was longing to be walking once more with my ukulele strapped tight to my pack, hat firmly atop my unbrushed mane and the horizon laid out before me.

You certainly put up a good fight though, I’ll give you that.

The colours are what stood out the most.

India’s women are dressed exquisitely – I wanted to take notes on how they manage to wear such gorgeous saris in the dirt and streets and riding on the back of motorbikes without ever getting a mark on them (seemingly).

Buildings are painted in hues that took me straight to my childhood Dr. Seuss books.

Actually, even some of the food reminded me of Dr Seuss. Green eggs and ham? Try green chicken with pasta. I think the chef was trying to match it to the pesto, and certainly came close.

No, I didn’t get sick.

I never got sick. ‘Delhi belly’ was a non-issue for me. A little disappointing, if I’m honest. I was looking forward to a quick, free, thorough body cleanse.

If I had gone for a swim in the Arabian Sea, maybe I would have had a better chance, but the possibility of a stray needle or worse kept me at bay. I didn’t want to get that sick.

And I want to publicly thank India for the permission to eat with my fingers. My mother mightn’t have been too impressed, but I was, at how quickly I learned to scoop up rice with the skill of a natural. Or so I was told. It was good fun, regardless. And I had good teachers!

Every person I met here was a delight. Our team was welcomed with such heartfelt, genuine warmth that I always felt like I was meeting family – and really, I was.

Oh man, the traffic! It’s a nightmare – but I LOVED it!

No road rules, first in best dressed – unless your motorbike or tuk tuk could squeeze in between the gap, which they generally did. The mastery and skill displayed in maneuvering vehicles in and out was certainly something to behold.

Missed a turn off? No worries, we’ll just chuck a uey. In the middle of the highway. Those blaring horns are friendly, don’t stress!

It has been an honour and my privilege to spend this time with India and her people. I am continually humbled at the grace and contentment I saw displayed. Indians struck me as generous, happy, forthright and always ready for a dance.

It’s surprising to me that I’m here as a volunteer, helping with conferences across the country in healing hearts and building better relationships within churches – and ironically, I have so much to learn from all those here.

I had a love affair with the Camino.

But India did a fine job of helping me begin to move on.

A Thought of Your Own?

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