I’m with Mel, who caught up with me on Camino by bike. We’ve been talking about that whole walking experience. I’ve not really thought about it since. The two of us threw some theatrish stuff together afterwards, unrelated. Neither of us stopped to blink about Camino. But I underwent a profound internal change. And then went back to old habits for ease while thinking about it.

I learnt so much on Camino. And then I immediately slammed myself back into London existence. Brian quite rightly noticed that I didn’t let the lessons of the path drop in right away. He didn’t phrase it that way. But he made me realise that I walked 700 miles and then immediately slotted into an existence that didn’t take that into account. But I suppose those lessons take time. I’m better placed now to establish what that walk brought me than I was when I arrived home tired and seeking home comforts and wanting the happy old shit.

God, Camino was powerful, taking that time and making that commitment. Rising long before dawn every day and wondering why other people weren’t doing the same when you were on top of a hill alone with l’aube astonished by beauty. My headline photo was set up by walking away from a dawn and propping my camera on a rock with a timer. It is both sincere and insincere. Sincere because, if you look the other way it is a glorious dawn that I wanted to be recorded, and I wanted it to be a picture about rebirth through work. Insincere in that I set my camera to a timer and walked away from it three times before I was happy enough. Curated truth.

Camino was ace as it’s lovely to know what you have to do every day, occasionally. That’s the thing I don’t usually have in my life and – frankly – don’t usually want. I don’t miss knowing my every day. It would definitely kill me to be trapped in an office. But for a little bit I merely had to walk every day. That was all. And it was fine. I’m really not used to jobs that last more than 3 months. I’m fine with this.


Get up. Pack efficiently. Walk fifteen miles alongside lovely humans many of whom believe in that patriarchal God. Start looking for a place to sleep. Rely on the infrastructure. Meet lovely humans, eat far too well for the money, go to sleep in a farting room full of bunk beds, wake up when the old guy’s alarm goes off at full volume at 5am, do it again.

That’s part of Camino. And you meet people on the way, even if – like I was -you’re actively trying to be solo. I’m only now taking stock. I think it takes that long to sink in. Good to think back though.

I’d advise it to anyone. I saw some huge beauty, challenged my fears about my capacity, and deepened my spiritual sense. A better use of my time than sitting in an art installation in Smithfield…





Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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