Fear of Exposure on the Camino del Norte


Photo by: J W Foster

Why am I more worried about this new Camino that our last. I’m only getting 6 hours of sleep each night and when I’m awake, I’m working non-stop. If I’m not trying to catch up on the daily task with my job, than I’m packing and repacking my backpack, reading Camino del Norte blogs or getting bills squared away, all in preparation for my departure. I’m carrying camping gear this time in anticipation of sleeping under the stars but the weather patterns are worrying me. Even in mid-June, the nighttime temperatures on this northern route can be down in the low 40s. My jaw muscles are even sore, I think I’m grinding my teeth in my sleep.
So, why all the anxiety this time? I think there are two reasons: First, we walked our original Camino without the knowledge of just how hard it can be at times. We were virgins and clueless to the mental and physical changes that awaited us. Now I know better and it scares me. I’m afraid of what I might find, what weakness inside me might be exposed, or that I might fail. Second, I’m going alone. I’ll not have a partner that I can rely for that emotional support that kept me going each day on the Camino Frances last year. Elaine had her own demons to slay and so did I, but we were always there for each other. I worry about leaving her behind.
I’ve chosen to do this journey alone because there is still some things the Camino needs to teach me, to show me. I don’t know what they are but I know they’re there. And, the only way I’ll be able to learn the lessons is through a solo pilgrimage.
I depart tomorrow on an overnight flight to Marseille, France. From there, I’ll catch a train to Saint-Jean-de-Luz, a small French coastal town sitting on the Bay of Biscay. That is where I’ll begin my next Camino.

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