With a couple of days left of the Camino de Santiago, we’ve left the plains and cornfields of the Castilian mesas for the brisk inclines of the Pyrenees.

And by we, I mean more than just me and Hermes this time.

About a week ago, as I crossed off a day of plains and got to the city of Leon, I was beginning to feel a crisis of motivation. Despite two weeks of moving, getting my legs back, meeting the Almeidas in Portugal, learning to cook tortilla española early morning in an Astorgan kitchen, trading names and stories with a dozen friendly inspiring pilgrims, I despaired at the next day’s ride. I was counting every mile, every day, aware of my separation from the present but unable to find it anyway. And now rain was coming, and, without coat or company, it would be a wet and cold week.

I couldn’t say I was happy, and I wasn’t sure if it mattered.

Sullen but supported by a kind email from Mom and the habit of clipping back into Hermes, I started into the windy wet and pressed on in the morning, having eaten my feelings’ weight in bread and butter for breakfast.

And wouldn’t you know it, but I actually sort of enjoyed it. Indeed, about a half hour in, I was singing. The questions of motivation, purpose, and fulfillment weren’t answered, but they stopped pressing in for a bit.

Just an hour in, fingers frozen and nerves frayed, I stopped to warm up in a small town pilgrims hostel. Two British blokes came in shortly after, stripping off their cycling shoes, and in asked them where they’d come from. Mansillas, they said- a town ten miles west.

So, you’re going… East? East?? Me too!!

And from then on, Rich, Al, and I have been a cheery, unlikely little team.

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And my spirits have soared, even if the eating of feelings in weight has not been deterred 🙂

So that’s a bit of the universe. On to France by Wednesday.