One of the many reasons I went was to get away from the online world and to quieten my mind. I spend so much of my usual day in a constant race to keep up with email, writing, blogging and reading, and find these get out of balance with the work I love--client work and volunteer committee work--as well as my personal life.
My walking was, for the most part, meditative. I was not seeking specific answers or trying to resolve any great problems in my life. And yet I was surprised to find many answers. I was also surprised by the sense of community we developed along the way--the Camino life was far more social than I had expected, and we made many friends along the way.
During one of our dinners the conversation turned to relationships with our parents. One of our dinner companions was a psychoanalyst so this in itself was not surprising. I gained a number of interesting personal insights during our discussion.
Of them, the most powerful was probably the discussion about the idea of home. I long have had a specific idea of what home is to me--connected with a specific person in my life, as opposed to a city or house. This was likely developed from moving periodically with my nuclear family through the years and not feeling completely connected with a specific place.
But what I learned during the conversation was that the ideal really is to develop a sense of home within oneself. I like this concept very much--it means I am not reliant on things (I do not like seeing myself attached to things) and it means, while I can connect and rely on other people, I am not reliant on them to make me feel at home or within my comfort zone. I can create that myself wherever I am.
While on the road I also happened to read Pico Iyer's book about the Dalai Lama's journey, The Open Road. Is it a coincidence, then, that I came across this TEDTalks video published this week, featuring Pico Iyer discussing the concept of home?
I especially like that he talks about standing still and stepping outside of one's life. I feel very much that is what I was doing while walking the Camino. I do not think it a coincidence I found this video--it is just another instance of the Camino at work in the life of a humble pilgrim.