Walking Alone on the Camino and All That Emotional Baggage

You wanna know what really scares me about walking alone on the Camino de Santiago – me.

I’m terrified of spending 30-40 days all by myself.

I’m not scared of the actual physicality of doing this (although walking 500 miles is c’mon, terrifying) – no, what scares me is all that alone time with myself. You know, me, myself and I.

I’ve got a lot on my mind, a lot locked up, a lot of regrets,  and to be honest, I’m not sure I’m ready to open all those cans of worms.

There’s my mother. She and I had the most difficult relationship, we didn’t speak for years. It was hard on me and it was hard on her. When I learned she was dying, I had to ask for permission to see her (she finally said yes) and when I saw her, so frail, so old, so near death, I had no idea who she was.

Then there’s my children – the loves of my life. They are beautiful, strong, confident and doing so well at college. Yet, I’m full of regret that I wasn’t the mother I always wanted to be. That I didn’t push them hard enough, that I pushed them too hard, that I was a full-time/out-of-the-house working mother, that I didn’t travel enough with them, that I didn’t make them stick with their music lessons, that I didn’t teach them five meals they should know how to cook, that I didn’t even teach them how to iron a shirt, or clean a toilet. Seriously, being a mother is the best/worst fukkin job evah. There are those moments of sheer joy, but for me, there were a lot of nights I went to bed feeling like a failure, wishing there were more hours in the day, or cursing that there were too many hours in the day.

It’s all so exhausting.

Then there are my friends. Those who have come and gone in and out of my life. Those who make my life so wonderful and those who have slipped away – their lives were too busy, mine was too busy, they moved, I moved, we just lost touch. But my love for them is still so strong and I miss them.

And then there’s work. I’m newly retired but I still carry with me all those assholes and heroes I worked with all across the country in big cities and small towns. All those folks who made me the professional I was (and wasn’t). I’d love to get back together with some of them to share a laugh at all the insanity we survived. I don’t care what industry you work(ed) in, but mine – television news – was the best. Full of the smartest, funniest, bravest, most stupid, insane, thoughtful, creative, back-stabbing, got your back people in the world. God I loved my jobs. (Except for the one I didn’t.)

And I could go on: My 25-year marriage, my paralyzed father, my stepmother who is my father’s primary care person who is now battling dementia, my hilarious, loving,  grab-life-by-the-balls sisters, my disco-loving, down-to-earth, but oh-so devoted brother, my… my…. my  You get the picture.

So here I sit, just days before this once-in-a-lifetime trip hoping I won’t trip myself up, hoping I won’t get lost by taking the wrong road down memory lane, hoping I can finally – FINALLY – leave my regrets somewhere – anywhere – other than in my mind.


My “This is gonna make you cry” Songs I’ll be playing on my Camino

  1. Coldplay’s “Adventure of a Lifetime”
  2. Joni Mitchell’s “All I Want”
  3. Dave Matthew’s “Ants Marching”
  4. Journey’s “Be Good to Yourself”
  5. Eddie Vedder’s “Better Days”
  6. Sting’s “Brand New Day”
  7. Van Morrison’s “Brand New Day’
  8. CSN&Y’s “Carry On”
  9. John Mayer’s “Daughters”
  10. The Cranberries “Dreams”
  11. The Gypsy Kings “El Camino”
  12. Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind”
  13. Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son”
  14. Joe Cocker’s “Feelin’ Alright”
  15. Neil Diamond’s “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon”
  16. Leonard Coohen’s “Hallelujah”
  17. U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
  18. Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”
  19. Johnny Cash’s “I’ve Been Everywhere”
  20. Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”
  21. Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me”
  22. Joni Mitchell’s “My Old Man”
  23. Simon & Garfunkel’s “Old Friends”
  24. Neil Young’s “Old Man”
  25. Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”
  26. Pink’s “So What”
  27. Leon Russell’s “A Song for You”
  28. Alanis Morissette’s “You Learn”
  29. Stevie Wonder’s “As”
  30. Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising”


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