Recovery and Pain

A few days ago I was limping into the desert town of Los Arcos questioning why I would submit myself to such an onslaught of repetitive pain. I think I naturally have a wide emotional scale but I have felt particularly stretched on the walk so far. Incredible highs with beautiful scenery and meeting many inspiring people to various lows of dealing with the heat, long walks and physical tiredness.

My flatmates have recently completed a cycle ride to Fort William (check out the accompanying great blog) and I messaged Mike talking about the relationship between physical and mental tiredness. Ideally your alert brain could push past any physical barriers and assess a situation without being overly influenced by the reluctance in your legs to take one more step. Tiredness and pain can make the view above seem like a never ending journey to the next resting point instead of a glorious amble amongst golden Spanish scenery. I'm currently listening to 'Thinking Fast and Slow' which has provided a fascinating analysis into how our thought processes occur. I need to adjust the balance slightly so that it can continue to be a physical challenge but also a time of peace and exploration.

I wanted to do this walk as I needed a bit of clarity and to rediscover that feeling of discovery, hope and expectation that had been suffocated by long Edinburgh winters and ugly Italian grammar. Reading back through my journal, I can see that this has been in part successful. There is a lack of distractions and with a mind that is able to make the most out of the simple authentic existence there is a lot to be gained. Pushing myself too hard has been and will be detrimental to what I want to get out of the next couple of weeks so instead of a relentless 40km pace, I think I will drop back to 25km and continue next year if I fall short of the final destination.

Edinburgh is full of incredible people who I feel blessed to know and spend time with. I am currently having a rest in the south of Menorca and these last few days with Jamie, Richard, Lawrence, Emily, Tash, Amelia, Lizzie, Bel and Issy have been a welcome break with people I feel completely comfortable around. Thanks to various year abroads it will be over a year till I see most of them again.

The people I have met on the camino couldn't be more apart and distinct from the typical Edinburgh demographic and this immense diversity opens you up to new perspectives that occupy your thoughts as you wander from village to village. I met an American Vietnamese war veteran called Harper on the walk from Ventosa; He had a silver pony tail and volunteered as a firefighter in his native state of Colorado, he has recently sold his house and is travelling the world with no plans and only a one way ticket. You don't get to meet this person in your student halls. I've bumped into him twice on the way, latterly when we stayed in a tiny village of 17 people called Ciruena. There were 4 people in total staying at the albergue and we shared an incredible 3 course traditional Basque meal. It was my second favourite evening behind the night at Logrono, which I will leave for another post.

Today is the last day in Menorca and I will be back on the path by Thursday. If any of you have any book recommendations then please drop me a message!  - I'm currently enjoying Mediations by Marcus Aurelius and Bank 3.0 by Brett King. Till next time - TJP