Not the End of the World

Eek! I’m so excited – I put an obsessive amount of time and emotional energy into this essay.

 

 

This was published in Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Momentum Magazine and tells the story of my four year journey to and on the Camino de Santiago.

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Kevin & I at the end of the world

I went to the Camino with a map and a plan to walk alone, but the universe conspired for something better. That something better goes by the name of Kevin Keystone. So, I’ll dedicate this to him and the universe for bringing me the medicine I needed most. My thank yous will be forever immeasurable.

Not the End of the World

To watch Kevin’s take on our voyage together, check out this YouTube video.

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Camino de Santiago: Another Perspective

I’m really excited to have finalized a print piece on my insights on the Camino de Santiago for the Winter 2017 issue of Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center’s Momentum Magazine.  I can’t wait to post it, as soon as the article becomes available online. (Updated: Read that story here.)

In the meantime, here’s a video of my Camino companion, Kevin, who gave a talk at his synagogue earlier this month where he shares the important lessons and messages other pilgrims were sent to teach him. Perhaps you will recognize a someone in his story (around the 5:00 mark). 

 

 

Laughing to Santiago 

As I walked through Ponferrada snapping pics and not paying attention, some voices screamed and motioned for me to come back. I was headed in the wrong direction and a group of fellow pilgrims came to my rescue. They were Joe (Washington DC), Maria (Sweden) and Kevin (Vancouver). I thanked them and we all chatted our way out of the city before Joe and Maria stopped for a rest.

We’ve since realized the hilarity in Kevin, a young, Jewish man traveling to Santiago with a Joseph and Mary (of sorts). He even slept in a stable one night along the Camino. Then I wondered, who might I represent in this story? I’d like to think a wise woman, but Kevin insists that I’m the ass. Especially since I promised to pull him in a cart should he hurt himself between here and Santiago.

So, for the next couple of days, Kevin and I would run into each other on the path or in the villages. Then somewhere between Vega de Valcarce and Alto do Polo, we joined forces and haven’t stopped walking and talking; walking and not talking; talking and not walking; and not talking and not walking. This will make sense to those of you who have experienced the Camino.

More than anything, we’ve been laughing our way through Spain. We are on the same Camino groove. No plans. No reservations. Definitely no early rising. Lots of talk about Beyoncé, lip sync battles and some fellow burner* pilgrims we simply can not get enough of.

The “no plans” rule was bent one day when I was intrigued by an alternative route going through Samos where there was the opportunity to stay in a the western world’s largest monastery. My guide book described it as, “one long vaulted space full of pain and misery and snoring and laughter.” All of which happened, especially when Kevin and I got the uncontrollable giggles over some happenings with the burners*. It was probably one of those times you had to be there, but we were both laughing so hard and could not even look at each other. Since then, slap happy is how most nights end.

Between the fits of laughter, we visited the monastery and attended a mass with vespers. The monastery’s wiki page will best describe the happenings, so here’s that.

For your viewing enjoyment, here are a few pics:

*Those who attend Burning Man.