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Archive for July, 2008

Greetings All,

After 32 days of travel across Northern Spain on foot, I arrived at Cape Finisterre, so named because of its root words, finis and terra, which indicate that this spot is the end of the earth. And, as the Western-most point on the European continent, it was long thought to be just that. A fitting place to end a month-long westwardly walk.

Now, though, I write to you all from the comfort of my Living Room, a luxury all Camino-goers must be without in the cramped albergues–hostels provided exclusively for pilgrims. Don’t get me wrong, those albergues aren’t half bad, and some of them are quite nice. But it’s hard to get any personal space when you are in a giant bedroom full of bunkbeds which are soon to cradle snoring old Germans who, while charming during waking hours, are quite a pain at night. I’ve never heard snores like those, not even from my freshman roommate.

One of the many lessons to garner from the Camino is to appreciate the luxuries, the blessings, and the privileges of our everyday lives, such as a room to ourselves. Or having running water whenever I want it. Or being able to choose from many different types of cuisine, as opposed to picking either baguette and butter, or baguette and cheese. Or having wardrobe of clothes, as opposed to having only Dirty Hiking Outfit and Dirty Town Outfit. Or even the opportunity to force myself to abandon the luxuries, blessings, and privileges of my everyday life.

But, being back in New York, back to my more regular lifestyle, there are many parts of the Camino that I wish to bring back with me. Like the immediate camaraderie that all pilgrims feel on the Road, which is such a positive and connecting force. The sights in Spain were stunning at every turn. Finally, the change in pace, from a fun but fast Bates semester to a much simpler and slower drive, provided so many goods for me and other pilgrims. We all had the chance to think, the chance to re-evaluate, and the opportunity to rest our minds by doing something that required almost no thought whatsoever–just walk forward.

So now I am back. I’ve only been in for one day, so not only do I not know exactly what I’m up to, but I also don’t have any pictures back from the trip. I’ll work on that. Besides that, my To Do list for the summer holds: get ready for the return to Bates (i.e. start reading for thesis), set up stuff for the Deansmen (the oldest all-male a cappella group on campus–have I mentioned them before?), and begin preparing for the First Year Seminar I am co-teaching. How many weeks of summer left?

Be Well,

Jake

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