Coping Skills

At this point Michael and I were using all the coping strategies we had. Beer, NyQuil, 8 hour conversations about the meaning of life, sleeping more, sleeping less, eating less, then eating tons of chocolate, I mean everything. We were beginning to realize we were two introverts on an extroverts vacation. We love our side by side time. Our happiest memories are hiking, building, or gardening next to each other with hardly a word said. So at this point the whole, “Hello”, “where are you from?”, “what brought you to the camino?” “Oh sorry to hear (someone died, left you or you have been laid off)” was getting very old! I do admit it at some points, it was hilarious. Here are two introverted therapists that spend most of their time getting paid to make uncomfortable conversation, surrounded by people hauling more emotional baggage than your weird uncle. How did this happen? And why am I not getting paid for it?

I think this was also about the time that we began cursing Martin Sheen for making the Camino look like such a meaningful and reflective journey. I see how it could be meaningful. As my earlier post suggested, I think its therapeutic to some to be able to connect with others and have time to talk about life. But I feel it can have an equal and opposite effect. One can get caught up on just doing the work of a meaningful journey, being far away, walking each day, meeting new people, without truly looking at themselves.

It made me think, what part of me felt I needed some reflective journey? I have made an educational and career journey to spend time developing my ability to reflect and communicate. And I couldn’t seem to shake these feelings of being mislead. Being drawn in by the images and tales of the Camino only to find overwhelming amounts of people trampling the very culture they seek to assimilate and adapt to.

But that day, leaving Estrella, we felt we had found yet another coping skill. The scenic route. In our guide-book it highlighted a slightly longer route with a more elevation gain. We jumped at the chance to take it. And I am so grateful we did. It was the peaceful deserted trail of our dreams. And it opened up the doors to a very important conversation, “why are we on the camino?”

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