So here I am, at an internet cafe in Bayonne, on a keyboard where the A, Q, W, Z and M are all in the wrong places, wondering when this Change will occur.
No one has asked me yet if I want my Life to Change. I've spent the past nine month on the road and many things in my Life have Changed. I'm quite happy with the New Me. Do I want yet another one so soon?
There are many expectations imposed on Camino pilgrims. Taking my laptop with me is a cardinal sin, and people shake their heads pitifully if you plan on taking more than 8.34kg of weight with you. There are Things You Must Do to be a Real Pilgrim. But one element of Getting Away From It All is to diverge from the path set out for you by those who perceive themselves to be wiser than you. Though the path on the Camino itself is very strict, the path in your head is much looser, as long as you don't define your expectations too rigidly.
Why do I call the first day of my journey 'Day 0'? Most pilgrims choose either Roncesvalles in Spain or St Jean Pied de Port in France as their starting points for the Camino de Santiago. I chose the latter. But rather than finding a place to stay in St Jean (which is not easy) and embarking early in the morning on what is said to to be the most strenuous of the stages, I decided to do a small part of the journey as soon as I arrive. This involved getting up at 5am in San Sebastian, running to the station and taking three different trains to get to St Jean. Hardly the real Camino experience. Hence the Day 0: a preparatory day that gets me safely on the route and allows me to start the real experience tomorrow, nice and fresh.
Walking through San Sebastian with a bag on your back as people are leaving the nightclubs is an odd feeling, particularly for the drunken nightclubbers. "Look how fast he's going," said one party-goer. "It's because I'm on my way to the Camino de Santiago", I said back excitedly, which in hindsight I realise made no sense at all. She was less excited than I was, or maybe she was wondering who had opened up such a prosterously named nightclub in San Sebastian.
Due to some miscalculations on my part, I now have three hours to kill in Bayonne before catching my train to St Jean, where I will collect my 'pilgrim's passport' and get going on my journey.
Read more about the Camino de Santiago.
As a part of my journey, I am raising money for the charity Save the Children. You can donate with a PayPal account or a UK Bank account: Donate to Save the Children.