We walk a lot on this trip. On average, we walk 10-15km a day just aimlessly wandering around in the cities. But then there are more intensive walks. In Japan, we did the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage walk, a ~40km hike through the woods, camping and cooking in a single pot. Then when we were in Albania, we inadvertently walked ~25km or so of the Peaks of the Balkans, which we really enjoyed. The steep snow-covered peaks reminded us of Colorado, our most recent ‘home’. I want to go back and walk the entire 120km loop through Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Kosovo. Maybe in the spring.

With all the walking we do, I never thought of a walk as boring or uneventful. But while doing the Camino de Santiago, I found myself bored. Talking with Selina, we thought that maybe long walks, like the Camino, are supposed to be boring to test people’s will. It’s the type of boring I felt at the meditation retreat in Thailand. I’m in it, doing it, I’ve committed to see it through, but I also notice every second, every step. Like it’s in slow motion. It’s not boring, it’s life.

Slowly I realized everything we do can be boring when we’re in the wrong mindset. And so I was reminded, to change my perspective (as I have been learning to do on this whole trip) and realize that the walk was not so much about my walk, it’s about walking with my mom and Selina. I feel grateful that we got to spend some time together in different environments, sleeping in hostels, visiting churches and monasteries, playing cards after long days of walking (some in the rain). I enjoy seeing my mom and Selina interact: Selina being modest about her education or language speaking proficiencies and my mom teaching her Spanish, even not so nice Spanish words like “carajo!”.

My learning to step back, observe and enjoy these moments unfold was probably worth walking five times more.

I feel grateful to have been able to do this walk with my mom and Selina, at the time we did, how we did, what we saw, what we all learned.

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