This is crazy, just take me home.
I can't do it, just take me home.
You're here and you're going.
But...this is crazy. I can't do it.
You can do it. You want to do it.
If something happens I can just come home.
This was how my physical journey began on May 12, 2006 sitting in a car at the Regensburg train station in Germany. It must have been somewhere between 3 and 4 AM, it was pitch dark, and I was ready to call everything off after having thought and dreamed of going on the Camino for approximately 4 or 5 years. My body felt split somewhat in two: exhausted from the preparations and anxieties from the uncertain days leading up to my departure yet simultaneously very alive and rushed with small flashes of adrenaline.
As a classically trained singer with a lifetime of so-called stage fright I knew precisely these physical symptoms and I recognized the psychological deal making I was engaging in by giving myself a way out while making myself go on at the same time. I've stood on the edge of that chasm a thousand times. And still I always go on. The problem with stage fright and fear, however, is that once you rationally understand what is going on and apply various techniques, mental and physical, to deal with it, you are often still left with a hole in your soul because you and you alone weren't able to share your potential in that one moment of time. And here is the more difficult part: you and you alone are the only one who knows it.
I tell you this because almost everyone who embarks upon the Camino is asked why they are going. The answers are as various as the pilgrims themselves. As it is a pilgrimage route there are those going for strictly religious reasons, conversely some for the sheer sport of it. Some are looking for potential life mates,some are just there because their best friend talked them into it. Some see it as vacation, others are there for spiritual reasons. My reasons weren't to attempt to solve or to soothe my performance fears. I had stopped singing 6 years before. But a lot had happened to me in those 6 years and in some ways nothing at all, that had made me an excellent candidate, you might say, for a 500 mile walk "alone" across nearly the entire westward expanse in the north of Spain.