As we begin our year of reflecting upon, and blogging about, our time on the Camino and its lingering impact on our lives, we can’t help but think about the parallels between wandering from albergue to albergue and what we have been doing over the past year since returning from our pilgrimage in Spain.
On the Camino we began most of our days with something of a plan about where we were going to land in twenty or so kilometers. Sometimes the plan manifested itself, sometimes not. But always we found a place to lay our heads and a welcoming community.
We suspect that most people who choose to walk the Camino have a plan to return home. We had train tickets back to Madrid and plane tickets back to North America. But after picking up our dog Shanti and driving back to Nova Scotia, we were preparing to divest ourselves of both possessions and our rental home. Which we did. All this in preparation to manifest a new way of living with work removed from the centre, and family and friends and one another (and a tiny home!) back at the heart.
So, in some ways, we have been without a home since last July. But not really. In the interim we have been housed in our tent, at the Tatamagouche Centre, within Gampo Abbey, in a condo shared with generous friends in Maui, by a three month-long house/pet sitting opportunity in Kennetcook, NS, with a long line of friends and family, and even in the home of our tiny house builder with his partner, two children, two year old husky and two cats! In all of this time, we have never been (or felt) homeless. In fact, we both are blessed with the ability to feel at home wherever we are – even when working to communicate in our limited (for Judy) French with friends of friends in a graciously long stint in our old neighborhood in Chelsea, Quebec.
We know that for some feeling unrooted is uncomfortable, but our experiences over the wandering years have demonstrated that the warmth of home and hearth comes to us with grace and ease – even if the warmth is the tropical climate of southern India and the hearth is a rock circle with Christmas tree lights :). This likely is our reality, at least in part, from having worked for the Audubon Expedition Institute (now Expedition Education Institute — http://www.expeditioneducation.org/) for about 10 years where we lived with students in a travelling university program, driving a 38 foot retrofitted school bus, sleeping outside on the ground for over 200 nights a year, and meeting with strangers who quickly became friends, sharing the core elements of our lives.
We have always lived simply: At times in a tent (as described above), or in a cabin with no electricity or running water, or in the home where Judy grew up on Cape Cod while we alternated care stints for her dad with her siblings. (The circumstances in this last case often weren’t simple, but the tasks were clear ones.) And soon, simple living will manifest in Tiny! The process of creating Tiny has been totally unlike what we had planned in ever so many ways, but the journey has been incredibly rich. And, as we trusted each morning on the Camino that we would find a place to rest our heads at the end of the day’s journey, we continue to trust that we will find the perfect place to land with Tiny. Our Camino trek had its own natural course and so too has our extended wandering this past year. We have loved every minute of both experiences, even the challenging ones! And, we are ready to land in place :). At the moment we are considering both Cape Breton and the Ottawa area (on either side of the ON/QC border). If you have any ideas or connections please let us know!