Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port ( Starting village)
Why am I here? I have traveled half way around the world to walk 500mi/800Km, but why? The guide book says I should have a clear reason, but I honestly don’t have one. All I know is that I’m here about to embark on the biggest journey of my life and I have no idea what got me motivated in the first place. Hopefully by the end of this journey I will not only figure out my why, but solutions to issues within myself.
The journey didn’t start great coming from Paris. I enjoyed the city however got scammed out of 150 Euros! That’s Camino money that I was going to live off of. How could I be so dumb? I’ve traveled enough at this point to know better, but I still fell for it. The three cup game with the ball underneath the cup looked easy. I saw other people winning, so I thought I could do it. It wasn’t until I lost the money that it hit me like a ton of bricks, that it was all a scam. I was so angry at myself for falling for that underneath the Eiffel Tower which had sadly soured my experience. It’s a lesson learned that I hope doesn’t cost me down the path.
Now I find myself in this beautiful village in the foothills of the Pyrenees trying to think positive about what lies ahead. According to the book, I need to get to the municipal ( town/city hosted hostels that are for pilgrims) early. It’s a first come, first serve basis. Along the path to the municipal I met a couple from Irvine California of all places ( Where I used to live). It’s really random, but nice to talk to others from home when you’re traveling alone and far from it. After the talk, I saw a guy sitting outside the municipal. He’s a little older than myself from Vienna. We talk for about an hour before the old wooden door opens up and a nice older lady greets us with “Buen Camino”. I check in, get my first stamp and a bed.
The room is full of bunk beds and thats when I met someone closer to my age. My bunk mate Frederik from Denmark. We talked and got ready for the night. I cleaned my clothes and hung them outside. That’s when I meet other pilgrims named Angel from Puerto Rico and Smarta from Poland. Angel talks about how he tried the Camino before and didn’t make it due to an injury. So he is going for round 2! After our talk, I walk around the beautiful village. The buildings and architecture make you feel like you’re in a fairytale. I feel like I’m back in time or in a Lord of the Rings adventure, minus a ring and orcs. I find a small cafe and drink a glass of wine (not sure it’s a good idea with what just happened in Paris). However, I wanted to enjoy the moment and that’s when the thought started to creep in “What if I get hurt and don’t make it?”
After the glass, I walked back to the municipal enjoying the village. I can’t believe tomorrow I start. Will I even make it? Will I in someway change? Will I actually figure out why I’m even here? There is so much doubt in my head right now, yet I know that either way it will be an experience that I will never forget.