Well, like most of my relationships and full-time jobs, it has come to an abrupt end. I knew it was coming – even had it planned since March – but the idea that this Camino adventure is officially over as I return to the States still has me wonderin’ aloud what in blazes I’m accomplishing with my Life when I’m not on the Way. At least it didn’t come barreling into the room in tears crying about this and that and all that “I’m leaving you” and “You’re so cryptic” nonsense.
That’s Camino, eh comrades?
In real time, to the fellow sitting next to me on the plane(s), I apologize for the incredible body odor and the fact I’m dressed like a member of ISIS.
No, seriously. I smell like my Swiss uncle after a long day of farmin’ and my all-black outfit and sad excuse for a beard only lack the AK-47 to complete the Daesh ensemble. No doubt passing through the American security checkpoints will be rather humorous. Inshallah.
As my good friend Nicole has always remarked upon my misfortunes, I have brought this upon myself.
Still, fellow passenger, I am so so sorry for the fact I’m a smelly terrorist lookalike. Still friends?
A curious reader – who has followed this nonsense for well over a month now – will no doubt be wondering: where in blazes did he get an ISIS outfit when all he packed was this garbage:
I’ll give you a hint: Click this for the hilarity of understanding.
Contrariwise what the boys at Tony’s going away shindig debated and argued, no, Africa by Toto is not the greatest song in the world. Certainly, it’s good – don’t misunderstand me – but this, comrades, this is currently the greatest song in the world: Stupid Shit that Makes me Laugh.
Now that we’ve gotten my needless YouTube philandering out of the way, yes, my Daesh outfit was purchased in none other than Mo-fuckin’-rocco. Tangier, to be precise. Why! Only a hop, skip, and a jump from Spain (hence the Reconquista).
After spending a few days in Santiago kickin’ it with several pilgrims of excellent caliber and taste (Matt, Tessa, Miran, and Edward to name a few), I woke up one fine morn with a hankerin’ to do something rather crazy. Perhaps it was the Italian chap looking at his guidebook, who, over mutual cigarettes and drinks, looked just as aloof as to where to go and what to do as any freshly arrived pilgrim, that spurned me onward to do something drastic with my rapidly dwindling time. Or maybe it was the abundance of pilgrims swarming the city center, taking their goddamned selfies with the cathedral, their incessant chatter driving me back to the road. Whate’er the cause, I jumped at it.
I was going to Africa. To bless the raaaaaaains.
After firing off an email to my mother to keep her somewhat abreast, I booked myself a couple of trains to the southern Spanish coast and made myself scarce in Europe. One ferry trip later and I found myself spending a fair bit of time in that mysterious continent of Africa. Certainly, I don’t consider I’ve properly visited the country in full, but now I get to color in another place on my classroom world map.
Yet even now, Africa is fast fading in the distance, as is my beloved Spain, as my series of planes bring me e’er closer home.
Home. It’s a strange word when one ponders it. Think about it: what’s home?
I can hear my students groaning in philosophical disgust when they read that. Not that any of my students should be reading this nonsense (get a job, you bums), but I like to pretend they read.
But really, comrades, here I am – as we all must do – headin’ back to a place that I reckon is my home. My friends and family reside there, I’ve a scorpion-infested bed I miss dearly, and I (hopefully) have a job to get back to. But those are just things we list in an effort to describe what is home. After pondering the thought on Camino, and cycling back to that wonderful cynic, Diogenes, the answer is far too clear to simply ignore.
My clothes are little more than sweat stains held together by fabric, my bag a curious receptacle for a cycle that will end without recourse, and my body remains ached and scarred by the march of hundreds of miles. And yet my soul remains carefree and my mind at ease: if I can walk Camino, I can do anything. As Oliver from Geneva told me five years ago on Camino Primaris, you just need to open your heart and close your mind.
Comrades, home is whe’e’er you find peace.
The fellow sitting next to me on this cramped plane may be ill at ease given my ogre-like smell, but at least I’m home.
See you stateside.