T-92. Less is more.

An unexpected (to me) post.  I was not planning to make another post until Day -50, but here we are, only a few days out from my last ramblings.

Many times I have read that walking the Camino will cause a fresh level of self-knowledge to bubble to the surface – that the peregrino will discover something of themselves about which they were previously unaware.  That made some sort of intellectual sense to me, but I didn’t see how it might apply to me … after all I had looked deeply into myself in the early part of the last decade and discovered all sorts of things, and on top of that I have had a couple of very real and very intense “a-ha” experiences in my first two trips to the Himalayas (which I have written about in my photo-journals Bridges I Have Crossedand Beyond the Bridges).  So I sort of wondered what else is there?

Only yesterday I was discussing this with a neighbour as we went for a bit of a stroll around the district (my “stroll” also involved me carrying my too heavy 12+ kg pack).  I was wondering out loud as to what my learnings might be.  I speculated that I could imagine how people who walk the Camino from a religious perspective could (perhaps even should) expect to have some revelation, but that I was unable to see this for those of us who do it from a cultural or adventurous perspective.

Fast forward one day!!  I repacked and re-weighed my backpack this time to find that (including cameras and water) it now weighs 13.5 kgs.  Hmmm.  My target is 8 kgs, although I could live with 10 kgs.  Anyway, I took it for another test walk – this time a bit longer, and up hill and down dale.  Hard work, but do-able.

And then emerged, from somewhere in my brain, my first Camino revelation … that I carry too much stuff with me.  That I carry stuff for the possible need which might materialise, but which often doesn’t.  Now “stuff” in this sense is physical stuff, but it has set me off wondering whether “stuff” also has an alternative, deeper meaning.  And then I remembered the feelings I had in Nepal 2010, over 5 years ago now, which I wrote about extensively in Bridges I Have Crossed.  How I had skinnied down my luggage to such an extent that I felt isolated without the stuff which I would normally have with me – in that case the  technology which would have given me access to the outside world.  So there’s some learnings in all this.  I wonder whether the expression “less is more” applies here – whether I gain more by carrying less?

I don’t intend to do anything with it right now (other than try to eliminate say 3 kgs of stuff from my backpack).  However given the very essence of this blog, and what I might do with the blog post-Camino, I have committed this revelation to writing (and in the process to some extent made some public commitments) for my future reflection.

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