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What you don’t see…

The Camino parallels life. It's the perfect metaphor for the human experience.

The Camino is filled with beautiful scenery, has its ups and downs, people of every race and tongue, and...


Hate to say it, but I want to be very transparent.

The other night, I was walking home with Camino friends from the bar where we ate dinner together to the Albergue where we were staying. As the three of us walked along, I started laughing as we were clinbing the hill to our place to sleep.

We were ALL groaning and grunting as our sore feet made contact with the ground.

It made me laugh, and it made me realize that we here on the Camino have inadvertently deceived you as you follow along at home. We post beautiful photos of pastures, mountains, fields and cows. It's all so dreamy and breathtaking (and it truly is).

I brought this observation up to my friends from Sydney, and we all had a good gut laugh. I said "imagine if we posted a video of us trying to walk up this hill."

We almost fell down from laughing so hard.

The scenery here is breathtaking. It is mystical and what I'd imagine and hope to be a close resemblance of heaven.

You've seen my photos. Beautiful as they might be, they fall so far short of what it really looks like here. My iPhone just can't capture the true beauty.

Here's what you don't is the reality...

Everyone out here on the Camino is suffering, just like every one of you at home in some way, is suffering.

I am in awe as I watch my brother and sister pilgrims with feet covered in blisters make a 25km day. There a guy out here from France walking with his wife, and his right foot comes down at such a steep angle from his ankle that I am amazed he doesn't collapse with each step. I can't believe it supports his body and moved him forward.

There's a lady from Switzerland I've walked several kilometers with that has her feet covered in blisters, and she smiles and never complains about a step.

And then there's the guy carrying hos own backpack, AND his father in law's backpack so that he can continue the journey.

As I said early in this blog, the Camino parallels life, so let's look at my life in my hometown.

(for context, remember that we are ALL pilgrims, every single one of us)

The coworker that snapped at you...they are having marriage trouble and it's taking all their emotional margin. You just didn't know it.

The woman that almost caused the accident yesterday morning that angered you so much, she's worried about her teenage son, and is so distracted by what's happening at home that she isn't sleeping well, and it's affecting every area of her life. She drove away from that moment and will feel horrible about it for weeks, because she knew she scared you.

Your friend that canceled again.. so exhausted that he just can't. He's doing the best he can, but he just can't. Cancelling again made him feel worse.

Behind the scenes...

The other thing you don't experience at home is the "behind the scenes" mess that gives fertile ground to all the beautiful fields.

Manure. There is horse and cow manure everywhere, and it STINKS.

Just like in life, right? There cr@p everywhere. We never see that in people's social media posts, we just see the flowers in the field.

We are all walking with suffering and injuries of all kinds. It's easy to see them out here on the trail. It's not so easy to see them at home because we have such good skill at putting up a facade.

Everyone is suffering.

There is cr@p everywhere.

That doesn't mean that life isn't still beautiful and worthy of taking a photograph of a beautiful moment, but it is my hope that we all recognize the pilgrims around us are all doing the best they can.

Recognize and know that when other people bark, bite, and irritate you, it likely has nothing to do with you. It's the injury or fear that you don't see. It's the hurt underneath the facade.

Now you know.

Buen Camino friends, I'll see you down the road. Greg

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Anna Marlen
May 20

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