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No trip update today. I’ll write one once I am in Burgos, which is about 10 miles from here. iOS 11 updated on my cellphone and iPad, which apparently means it’ll suck ARW into the tablet, but be unable to actually display it, leading to me having lost (because it discards the 17MP RAW file and just keeps the 1.6MP preview JPG) three days of pictures. Let’s hope Google Photos is smart and at least uploads the originals.

A few days ago, I wrote about the lady who shooshed me. Today, talking to the most amazing Leanne, it clicked. “Everyone on the Camino is so friendly” isn’t quite right. What’s true, though, is that the Camino does something to us. By providing what we need (food, shelter, a road to walk, a town to aspire to), it eliminates the things that make us assholes. We don’t have to compete here, our families, friends, jobs, and needs are safe. The Liber Sancti Jacobi, 1137 CE, already recognized this and ordered the treatment of and support for pilgrims. Because once your idea of luxury is a sidewalk, shade under a tree, or a Coke Zero with a Peregrino from Mexico, the Bible and every other religious and spiritual text really collapse into the one line they can all be condensed into: don’t be a dick. And by not having to fight, having in abundance in fact, it’s easy not to be a dick. It’s easy to follow the condensed Book, easy to be nice. Which almost everyone is.

The lady met me a day later, by the way, and apologized.

I don’t think this can be easily transferred into the world outside the Camino. Gurus and holy men have tried and failed. But in a world so divided, one where even the telenovelas in Spain stop to show US and UK news, one where we find it OK to elect functional illiterates to President or burn innocent businesses in college towns, to ensure what we perceive as our survival, it’s good to reflect that there’s a way (or, more literal, THE Way) where you don’t have to be a dick to get ahead.

I am writing this from the room in a highway hostel, rain pouring down outside, feeling connected to love and friends at home, but detached at the same time. Everyone walks their own Camino, and in a weird sense, this introspective and egocentered way of walking and living makes us more of a community than any of the communal ideas in the world around us.

Old Norse had a word that has since been broken up into similar sounding but different words: hjarta. It meant heart, hearth, home, hut, and family. Your family was, where your home and your hut were, where your hearth gave warmth. My hjarta is at home, no question, but in a weird way, my hjarta also travels with me, be it the days with Ann Kathrin, the dinners with Max and Julian, the evening with Melanie (and our plans to swim in Finisterre), or an evening with Leanne on a highway on ramp.

Thus, Ultreïa until Burgos!

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