Monday, November 17, 2014

This is No Camino

Alone. That was the word that seeped into my consciousness as I plotted my pilgrimage route to Montreal on Saturday. 

Alone was the word that woke me up at 3 a.m. Sunday morning and made me turn to Stephen King’s new novel for solace. (Imagine!)

As I drove Saturday along the Merrimack River bordering Massachusetts and New Hampshire, then struck off into the Harley-rich, strip-malled void of the Granite State, I realized that I would be alone. 

My pilgrimage to Montreal would be no Camino de Santiago.

Part of—much of—the joy of walking the Camino de Santiago, as I did in 2012, is walking it with others. Imagine the Martin Sheen film The Way without the other three characters—Dorothy without the lion, tin man, or scarecrow. It would have been a dull movie. 

Every day on the Camino you set off accompanied, and by the end of the day you’ve met dozens of other fellow travelers.

I am proposing to walk to Montreal alone. With no route but the one I figure out. With no yellow scallop shells marking my path. With no friendly refugio keepers ready to collect my Euros or loud-snoring pilgrims to reassure me with their presence.

Alone I may learn a new meaning for pilgrimage. If my experience is anything like Christian’s experience in The Pilgrim’s Progess, I could make an important discovery.

Yeah. I could discover that I am never alone.

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