This space will serve as a live journal of sorts for my journey on the Camino Frances. It won’t exactly be live, but I’ll post as I can, going back into past days and posting what I think, feel, experience, see, etc. each day.
The train to St. Jean Pied de Port leaves in about 45 minutes. It’s strange to be here, just over 3 years after being here the first time. Because this won’t be my first time on the Camno de Santiago, I’m back to where it all began in many ways. I didn’t see how beautiful the town of Bayonne is the first time I was here. Though I only saw a bit a for a few minutes as I walked here from the bus stop, it was nice. It does help that it’s a beautiful day.
As I sit here and look at the train station sign with all of the departures listed, it takes me back to that day, over three years ago, when I was last here. The sign was so strange and foreign and exotic and beautiful. This is striking because it’s really only a standard and unremarkable train station sign. To me then, however, it was wonderful. It still is, even if only for the nostalgia it evokes. It’s still written in a language I don’t understand. It still holds promise for what’s to come.
I, of course, am much, much different than I was, but it’s that difference that brings me back to this place where I am once again viewing this sign.
I see my destination, St. Jean Pied de Port, written on the sign. It’s the final destination for me, but only the final destination on the train. Once I get off the train, the real journey starts.
I have so little idea as to what to expect over these coming days and weeks. I’ve never been so free or uncertain about what is going to come. Three years ago, I was a completely unseasoned traveler, unsure of what to expect. Now, one of those thngs is no longer the case. The other is probably more true now than it was then. It’s all I can do to put up my hands, take a deep breath, and throw myself entirely into what’s to come, what I’ll call ‘the familiar unknown’. I use that phrase because, on the one hand, I’ve done this before. I won’t go many places my feet have not already trod. My eyes will see nothing all that new.
And yet, I have no idea as to what, exactly, is going to happen. It’s both exciting and terrifying.
There’s a little French boy nearby with his family. He’s a year old or so, with bright blue eyes and wavy, blonde hair. He doesn’t look entirely unlike I did when I was his age.
It seems fitting that I’d see a boy who reminds me of myself as I prepare to step into this familiar unknown. I, too, have to grow. I, also, have to learn what it is to be who I am and where I fit in this world. Much like him, I have to discover who I’ll become.
A pilgrimage is an intensely personal journey, but it is not one that a pilgrim undertakes alone. I don’t want to ‘talk’ into a vacuum. I want to hear other voices, too. What I’m trying to say is, I want feedback! Have I spoken something to you? Is there something you think I should know? Do you have a question about something I said? Please leave a comment below or contact me at Pilgrim.Brett@gmail.com.
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