Today began with a few miles through the first true forest of my walk so far. The morning was quiet and I did my best not to disturb it with any clumsy steps or kicked rocks. As the quiet gradually receded, the trail began climbing steeply, leaving the forest behind and below, and then leveled off around halfway. I stopped at a cafe in a friendly little town called La Espina for coffee and toast (and to rest my back), before continuing to Tineo, where I am staying for the night.
At this point, my feet are fine. A few blisters here and there, and there are some aches near the end of each day’s walk, but they are fine. Now my sorest parts are the muscles on my back, which ache from hauling my over-packed backpack. I tell myself that the extra weight is making me stronger, but I know that a lighter load would make for a more pleasant Camino. Realistically I could get by with about half of what I packed, or probably less.
Traveling makes me think about possessions, and I think in almost every part of my life I have too many, to the point of obstruction. If I can live out of a backpack for three weeks (or five or eight, as in the last two summers), then I really don’t need most of my things. I’ve heard someone say you shouldn’t have more than you can pack in a car, and I agree, with the stipulation that the car should be no larger than a sedan. So that is a goal for me to work toward.
I can feel how much an unused fleece or a pair of pants physically weigh me down, but I suspect that the possessions I’m not carrying on my back can weigh me down too. A famous guy once said to sell everything and follow him, and told his followers not to bring even an extra shirt when they traveled. He said something like this:
“Come, all of you who are weighed down by so many things, I’ll show you a deeper kind of rest than you’re used to. Try traveling my way, you won’t regret it. My load is easy and my pack is light.”
Or maybe I misremembered, but anyway, next time I’m packing light.