El Camino, the book, thoughts
28.04.2012 - 29.04.2012
“The goal is the path” – Shirley MacLaine. I haven’t written about a book since college. But fortunately I’ve been able to read a ton in the month that I’ve been living at Casa HOY. Gerardo, the director, recommend that I read “El Camino,” a book by Shirley MacLaine about the Camino, a pilgrimage done in northern Spain. While this trip is not spiritually focused by any means, travel always offers life altering experiences if you are open to them. Our path only has a beginning and an end, like all paths do. We’re starting in Montevideo, Uruguay, and ending in Lima, Peru. The only difference is that this path has a million and one different options in between, and we’ve only planned out the first week. That is our goal.
“The true courage of individualism is the ability to follow one’s passion.” This trip to South America is for our honeymoon. It’s been years of dreaming and planning individually, before we met, and getting married didn’t make it any easier. Following the passions of two people, while frustratingly conflictive, has a way of working itself out. Our secret, in our four months of marriage and four years together, is to ask each other the question, what would you do if you were single? Maybe that’s bad advice, but that’s what got the planning for this trip back on its feet: combining our two passions.
People rarely sit down to ask themselves what they really want. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. We get so caught up in what we’re supposed to do, trusting that eventually we’ll get a vacation to have our way with life. Most of my lovely friends are following that idea blindly, but my husband and I are fleeing. Originally we were going to take the trip because I have a job interview in Buenos Aires, but when I really thought about it, my current dream is to visit another country. Maybe I’ll get a job in the process, but the passion is travel.
“I… developed an attachment not only to my body, which provided my identity, but also to material objects around me, which gave me social status and personal esteem in a physical world.” Planning for this trip has made me go through my belongings over and over again. Firstly, to decide what the most important things are that I’d want to have with me if we decide to stay in South America, and secondly, to determine what we don’t need when we’re trekking for 8 hours. Talk about a rough time packing. I can’t solve the dilemma: do I carry only have hiking boots, which I’d have to use for my interview, or risk lugging my 3 lb. sexy boots on the Inca Trail? Four years out of college, and I still haven’t decided whether I want to be a hippie and forget the world, or desperately be a part of it.
“The only journey worth taking is the journey within” – Yeats. How do you take a journey within when you have someone by your side? Someone that’s supposed to be your partner for life? Sometimes it is hard to find the space and time to do something alone. Plus I got married at 25, just making the cut-off point for the new “okay” age to get married. Three months earlier and all of my college-educated friends would have sighed and lamented how I was throwing away my life. You really should take that journey within before you take the journey with someone else. Or, you can be really lucky, like I was, to find someone that was willing to walk hand in hand while we both took that journey within together.
All right, so that was my weirdo book report. You should read “El Camino” if you want something wackier. It does have its moments, but overall it’s a book that makes you ponder life, as all good books should. Casa HOY was inspired by a trip to South America, and in planning our trip we have created Rice and Beans, Alternative Travel, which is going to be a media compilation of our journey together. See, even the thought of travel can change the world.