Take it one day at a time. Sometimes one hour at time. Sometimes one hill at a time. Baby steps. Pace yourself.
Both on the Camino and in quarantine, you can’t think too far into the future. Santiago will always seem too far off, and you don’t really know what to expect when you get there. Life after quarantine already feels too far off. I can dream about what I hope it looks like, but right now I need to take it a day or a meal or an hour at a time. Tomorrow has enough worries of its own.
Only carry what is essential. On the Camino, you have to literally carry all of your possessions on your back. You get down to what is essential very quickly.
In the same way, life is not full like it usually is right now, but it feels full in a different sense. Other thoughts are taking up our time and attention that we never had to worry about. Our minds can only handle what is essential right now.
Days are repetitive. The daily schedule of a pilgrim rarely deviates.
Wake up, get dressed, walk until coffee, walk more, eat breakfast, walk, lunch, walk, arrive at town, take a shower, do laundry, nap, care for your feet, get dinner, go to bed.
Repeat for four to six weeks. Quarantine days can also feel repetitive. We can’t spice it up with a weekend getaway or dinner out. Most of us are home, always home, with the same people.
The Camino provides. I have so many more words about this simple phrase, but I wanted to share it here too. Pilgrims trust that all their needs will be met. We don’t always know how or by whom, but things always seem to work out okay.
In quarantine, we have to trust that things will be taken care of. Sometimes this looks like neighbors caring for one another, sometimes this looks like a sunny day after weeks of rain, sometimes this looks like strangers sewing masks for their local first responders.
The nature of the universe is that we take care of one another. I think that is good news.
We are all in this together. This is one of the few experiences where my life looks similar to the life of my friends with whom I walked the Camino three years ago. Florian in Germany and Lotta in Sweden and Rosa in Italy are all experiencing the ramifications of this virus just like I am.
We walked through the trails of Spain together, and now we are walking through this worldwide pandemic together. Obviously, everyone has different circumstances, but experiencing anything at such a scale is unusual.
I hope you are all safe and well wherever you are in this strange time.