Day 5 • Portomarin to Palas de Rei • 16.4 Miles
Today marked the second day our trek to Camino de Santiago. Our focus today was to dedicate our walk and our thoughts to someone meaningful in our lives who may be going through certain difficulties or someone you just felt that you wanted to keep in mind on your walk today.
After filling up on more hearty hotel chow we took the bus to Portomarín to continue where we left of the day before. Todays journey was filled with more scenic, windows screensaver worthy views of the Spanish countryside. Unlike yesterday, we encountered many more rolling hills. As we worked up these hills, we wished for some relief on our muscles in the form of a nice long downhill. As we stomped down these hills, we wished our joints had a more forgiving surface to walk on. As it turns out, the perfect incline for walking is right in the middle of these extremes, flat. In most things in life, you never want to go to one extreme or the other. It’s best to keep it balanced right in the middle.
Our second lesson in balance was realized towards the end of the trek, when sitting down and not standing up for another 9 hours sounded like a blessing. Isn’t funny how just a few days ago we were crammed on a 9 hour international flight where we just wanted to get up and walk? We realized that too much of either of sitting or walking can quickly turn into a burden, you feel best when you have a balance of both. This is the case with a lot of things in life, as too much of anything is not a good thing. Balance is the best way to keep you physically, mentally and spiritually healthy.
Starting out today, many of us were determined to get over the hills as soon as we possibly could. With sticks in hand, we trudged through. However, along the way we realized something: it’s good to be patient and take our time, even when we’re in pain and want to be done. Otherwise you miss out and ignore the beautiful small things, like the birds chirping or the dogs sunbathing in the path. Not just with the Camino, but with life in general. As much as you want things to happen sooner, whether it’s finding your dream job or your purpose; we need to be patient with ourselves and God and slow down a bit to enjoy the journey.
After the hike from the day before and throughout today, we started to gain a few battle scars like blisters, twisted ankles, poison ivy like plant rashes, sunburns and cuts. But we kept trudging through the upwards and downwards terrain, step by step. We helped each other tape up our blisters, had nice conversation, or just enjoying being in each other’s presence. The Camino feels a lot easier when you have others that walk with you. As a result, the Camino gives a perfect description of life. Life is filled with ups and downs and a lot of times you get beat up and have difficulties along the way. Everyone is on there own Camino through life and experiencing their own cuts and bruises. The most important thing to remember is that when you are in an upwards part of life, don’t forget to support others who may be on downwards part, just as you know you will rely their support when you need it. And when you are in a downwards part of life, don’t be afraid to accept help from others, and know as long as you keep taking it a step and a time you will persevere. Together we can make it through the uphills and downhills of life until we make it to the end, where we will all ultimately arrive at the same destination just like on the Camino de Santiago.
As you can see we had many thoughtful things to ponder as we continued our journey, and we are excited to see what other life lessons we may learn as we go on, big or small.
-Zack and Margaret