To celebrate her 70th birthday my amazing mother decided to walk an 800 km segment of the Camino de Santiago de Compostello, from St. Jean to Santiago, ALONE! My mother has always been active, but she’d never taken on such an immense physical challenge before in her life.
To prepare, she trained for several months with a walking group in Toronto. Equipped with high quality, light-weight gear and a guidebook she set off in late August of 2015. Six weeks later she arrived in Santiago, a healthier and happier woman. She LOVED it. At 70 she had discovered new things about herself, seen new places and met kindred spirits from around the world.
She was so inspired by her walk that she asked me to join her a year later on another segment of the vast network of Camino paths. (It turns out that not all roads lead to Rome. Hundreds of them also lead to Santiago!) She suggested a 240km stretch of the Portuguese Camino starting on the coast in Porto.
I jumped at my Mom’s invitation and it wasn’t because of the opportunity to travel or walk. I love both of those things, but I accepted because I wanted to spend time with her. I’m at a stage of life where many of my friends’ parents are ailing. Many have died. I feel lucky that my mother is still young and healthy. My relationship with her has been strong, but “on hold” for many years as I have been pre-occupied with the demands of my own life. But now, my life has opened up. I have more time, and I want to spend lots of it with her.
I have many friends who live with regret, wishing they had more time with their parents when they were able-bodied. I have learned from them that life is fleeting. You think you have all the time in the world, and then all of a sudden the time you thought you had has come and gone.
I am so glad I made walking with my mom a priority. It was so simple and pleasurable. That time together was a gift to both of us. We had a fantastic time, and created wonderful memories that will bolster us for years to come.
No regrets!! How lucky I was to spend time with her.
Celebrant Marcia Thomson, Modern Celebrant