Sunday, April 10, 2011
Advice Freely Offered - Monday, April 10, 2011
Walking the Camino doesn't make one an expert on walking or backpacking but that doesn't stop any of us Camino graduates from offering advice. Preparing for a camino you actively seek advice, walking you discover what works best for you and then afterwards there is a good Samaritan urge to share. That urge to share can be quite passionate and exuberant. Recently a couple of 'Camino wannabes' were treated full force to this passionate exuberance. Dayton has taken to joining a group of Camino veterans who meet informally every Friday at a coffee shop at a North London mall. On one recent Friday, a lady hesitantly approached the group to inquire if this was indeed the Camino group that someone had directed her to seek out for advice on her upcoming Camino. This simple request provoked a communal 'pounce'. Everyone encouraged her to sit down, join the group and she was soon innundated with well-meaning advice about sleeping bags and silk liners, Mefix versus duct tape, hiking poles and backpacks, guidebooks and maps,and on and on and on. I'm sure the information was overwhelming but one thing was for blatantly obvious; walking a Camino was a life reaffirming experience. In a typical 'six degrees of separation' scenario, it turns out that this lady and her husband were friends of my Spanish teacher and they knew another lady who was heading out on her first Camino. Dayton and I invited them all to our house for some 'one-on-one' advice. In anticipation of their arrival, we started to lay out all our maps, journals, guide and camino books, posters, hiking gear, books, DVD's and, of course, wine and tapas. By the time we got to the point of hanging our new Camino artwork (watercolours, lithographs and prints), it was disturbingly evident how ridiculously obsessive about the Camino we had become. Shamelessly we just embraced it. We had a wonderful evening sharing our stories and experiences while enjoying their eagerness and the excitement of their planning. And we definitely left them with our best planning tip - follow the tapas and red wine.