Many many kilometers under my feet!
Wow! What an adventure! I wasn’t even sure I was going to be doing it this year then I got the message from Christine Lynch saying she wanted me to be at the Strong Lie Bull Training camp! There was my ticket to Spain so why not stay after and walk across it?! I was excited and also still trying to figure out what I was doing. I could walk a bit then come back to Costa Rica for the Xterra race or stay and keep walking. A lot was going through my mind because I love being in Costa Rica and all my amazing friends there too. I had an amazing time last year at Xterra Costa Rica and this year would of been the same. I guess I would figure that after I got to Spain because you can always get a ticket back when you need to.
When I arrived in Spain I fell in love. I loved the fact that this one song followed me around my whole,adventure too! Ed Sheeran’s song Thinking Out Loud was everywhere I was. I fell in love with that song because I heard it before and it was attached to some amazing memories and then I would be adding some more to it! From cafés around Spain and even in France from the beginning of my walk to the end! Leaving dinner after mass in Santiago de Compostela I heard it once more echoing through the corridors of Santiago. It was beautiful and just meant so much to me. My goal of my walk was to spread love to people I didn’t know and when I heard that song I felt love.. To change the vibration of the world one random smile at a time and this song vibrates through me. I even heard it at the end of the world in the Albergue I stayed at! And at the bar the next morning for a cafe! It was wonderful and will forever be packed with this amazing experience.
I loved the towns. I loved how the towns I went through were so beautiful. Not just the old buildings but also the people that lived their. I moved seeing them take pride in having the camino coming through their town. I fell in love with the small towns much more than the larger ones. I still enjoyed the big towns aka cities but it took me a few moments to get my mind wrapped around being around so much activity again. The little towns all had the same feel.m lots of buildings that looked shut down but always a church and a bar and a little all,you need shop. The little towns had such a warm feel to them. Some of the really little towns looked like no one even lived there like a ghost town but if you looked you could find someone. Wherever I went I felt welcomed. My Spanish has become quite better because I have managed to talk my way into a cup a coffee in someone’s house in the middle of no where! I love how the people are. I love the clay tile roofs and the stone walls! I pretty much loved it all. In the big cities you had to search through the new part but once you made it to e old part it was quite nice. It had that feel of many years and it felt good. I loved seeing the castle walls in Pamplona and Ponferrada. I loved it all.
I loved the nature and Pacha Mama. Many days it was just me and Pacha Mama peacefully walking together. The morning walks were beautiful in the dark. The shooting stars were just incredible and I love my shooting star that was with me every morning. I loved walking through the dark bit really knowing where I was going and not seeing any arrows but feeling the footprints of the past and knowing I was heading the right way. I used the moon a lot and also the Little Dipper to make sure I was generally heading the right direction and when the light came up with the rising sun I always saw an arrow :). I loved the fields I walked through. I loved the mountains. I loved the creeks I crossed and the rivers I dove into! I loved the secret waterfall I found off the camino in Foncebadon. I loved the trees everywhere. I loved the birds waking up I the morning and chirping so proudly. I love seeing other animals like deer, snakes, nays, bugs, worms, bees, squirrels, hawks, cows, horses, chickens, an ostrich, donkeys, snails, and fish of all kinds! So much around us and all we have to do is be available to see it! I loved the snow (even though I was cold sometimes) with it’s softening sounds muffling all that is around you. I love the rain because it made the air fresh and my trash bag poncho kept me dry. I love the sun on my face. It was hot somedays but it felt so so good! I could feel the sun hugging me around and it felt great. I loved the sand in my toes at the end and the crisp and cool salty water of the ocean all around me as I plunged in! If you are going to ask me my favorite part it was the whole thing. In each moment I was in my favorite part which can’t be compared with my other favorite parts. It was a pure forelsket moment for a whole month. That euphoria lifted me and made me fly. Ahhh. I love flying!
I loved the mountains and the detours I took. I am forever drawn to mountains. They are so powerful. I believe mountains can very well be portals which all the energy from the earth shoots up and out into the universe. I love being on top and feeling that energy. I found myself taking any route that would take me to the top of the mountains. My legs loved it and were conditioned for hiking up which gave me more time to enjoy the top! I loved the windmills I walked up to on the ridge line. I love the nature route which took me up and over extra mountains. I moved the views from the top and also looking back as I was climbing up,and down. I loved everything about it. It wasn’t about going a certain distance a day, for me it was about enjoying my walk and when I got tired I would find a place to sleep. That gave me e freedom to go anywhere! I still had the goal of Santiago but not having to be so where each day felt great. I loved taking naps in the fields. I loved making my own lunches and eating them before or after my naps in the fields! I,loved the journey and am excited to keep on feeling it every single day.
I loved the walking. I thought it was incredible and enjoyed the fact that my body held up so well! I just had a blister in the beginning because of wet feet from the snow in sandals but then then all was good. Sure some days I did feel a little sore in the morning but after a few minutes of walking I felt great. The walking infused my life. It gave me purpose and direction with a goal. Every day I had to follow the arrows and one day make it to the cathedral in Santiago. It was beautiful. i felt powerful completing mission everyday and it was all so simple. Walking is such a great meditation. Going at such a slower pace than normal life let’s you realize how much there is around you at all times. Math rough the rain, snow, heat, and clouds I saw beauty everywhere I was and it blew my mind and made me smile. It also let you see the beauty inside of you. When you have nothing to do but walk and enjoy your tasks if everyday life are put on hold and you mind is set free to fly. I saw love and I felt love and I loved me. There is so much around us but so much more inside of us. How cool is that?! I walked this way with appreciating everything before but will continue walking this way with even more appreciation and gracefulness with the world around me and the universe inside of me.
I loved the love. From the first steps I was wowed a little by what I was attempting but enjoyed the fact that with the support of all my friends I didn’t have to have a time frame and could enjoy this adventure the way it was meant to be, moment by moment. The comments and such from social media and gofundme and letters from the Strong Like Bull Training Camp really moved me. I have never felt more loved than with everyone standing behind me saying I can do this! Even more love when I was at the end of the world and people, said they were so proud of me. How powerful are those words. Those words mean so much to me just because someone else takes their time to be amazed in you and congratulate you. I feel very special to have so many people be proud of me. I am proud to have friends like that.
I loved spreading love. The first day when I stopped and just looked around it seemed like instinct that I reached down to,the ground and drew a heart. This was my way of sharing what I loved with those who I love. Some days I felt it more and drew so many hearts but everyday I drew a few hearts in the ground. I loved doing it so much. It made me think a lot about love. It gave me a boost every heart I left. I would draw my hearts for everyone out there then would send a special little more out to someone on my mind each time. So that time you just started smiling for no reason, yea that heart was for you! From StJean Pied de Port in France all the way across Spain to the Atlantic Ocean at the end of the World in Finisterre there are I’m guessing over 600 hearts! Many made with a special rock I found the first day which I used to carve every heart i drew in the earth but many made in the snow which would only be there for a few hours or maybe even days. Some made with leaves that could get blown away the next moment but I have heard they have remained long enough for quite a few people to smile at them. Many hearts made out of rocks put on the side of the trail and in the middle. I feel like these ones will last quite a while and maybe people will add to them and make them a part of the camino! Many made from dirt piled up on the edge of the way which dark soilcontrasted against the light gravel of the path. Some out of mud near a rivers edge put on a boulder that would catch the corners of ones eyes and make them smile. Some made from eucalyptus bark and spread across the trail. Some made from pine comes and some from flowers whole others made in moss on the cliff next to trail. Some made from grass while others made with footprints. One of my favorites took about 45 minutes to make finding the right branches and tying them together with my paracord. Once I had the heart I looped another piece of paracord into the perfect tree that was next to me and hung it high for people to see! With the extra paracord left I tied a huge pine cone in the middle of the heart. Symbol of a pilgrim surrounded by love! I hope each and everyone of my hearts made someone smile because it made me smile just thinking about it! Such a simple act on my part that caused so much joy. This was the mission of my camino, spreading love to those around. Which makes me think of my mantra : I am pure love radiating in every direction!
I loved meeting people who already knew me as the heart guy. I have never seen so many smiles and felt such sincere hugs and handshakes than from these people who knew my only by word of mouth! Many people told me the talk of the camino was who was drawing these hearts throughout the camino. Usually someone knew someone who new me or has heard of me and told the other people about me. The big American with lots of hair was the description and to tell you the truth I am pretty easy to spot in a crowd. People walking behind me would call out hey are you Chris?! When I turned to talk and say yes they would always be like I knew it! Then we would laugh and talk about my hearts and how much it made them smile. It makes me smile knowing other people are smiling! At a bar in O’Cebreiro I just finished my dinner then a whole group of people came up to me. I have seen them on the camino before and it was cool seeing familiar faces. Only a little English was spoken but we combined enough to make sense! They loved my hearts and were so happy to finally meet me! I felt honored and the hugs were so real and beautiful. I hope I see all these people again one day down the road, pure beautiful souls! I bumped into a couple, Kevin and Steph, from Minnesota about halfway through the adventure and we talked about the walk and the sights and also the hearts! They loved following me and I loved talking to them! I bumped into them many more times down the way and it was always so nice. They actually sat right behind me in the pilgrim mass! How cool is that! More beautiful people inside and out!
I loved my camino family. I met so many incredible people, throughout my journey that it was hard to keep everybody’s names straight! More people than I could list from the first day all the way to the end. I loved meeting them one day and then I wouldn’t see them until a week later but it was always so great to see everybody. Sometimes it was sad to leave someone who was done with their camino or if I was moving ahead a bit further. But just when you really wanted to see a smiling face there was my camino family. The members changed from day to day but the love was always the same. I enjoyed every bit of every moment of this journey with my many camino families! I also enjoyed meeting some of the most incredible hospitaleros I have ever met! From Grañon to Tosantos to Najera. Marian, Jose Luis, and Marianne were some of the most incredible people I have ever met. In the middle of nowhere living and loving on the camino was Davey, the purest soul every vibrating pure love. Just after the Cruz de ferro was Paola and Ricky which instantly became best friends. So much love, so much caring, such passion for life. You could see it in the sparkle in their eyes and it was incredible. The eyes- the windows to the soul as the movie the Way says in the beginning is so true. I see beyond the soul in these people. I see the universe, I see me. We all met at the most perfect time and shared our lives with each other. For me this is family, this is amazing, this is how life should be lived. We are all family because our hearts say so and that is all we need. We may not be blood but we are the closest family I have ever known. The day we all meet again will truly be a celebration and I am so excited for when that moment happens!
My camino will never end. This experience has set my life on fire and I will continue to fly for as long as I can think and so much more! Thank you all for the support and the comments and everything!
Pura Vida y Buen Camino y Adventure On!!!!!!