Travel Journal week 4 and part of week 5 (13/10 – 24/10)
A shin splint made me slow down last week, which made me experience life more intensly. This week my shin healed and I slowely got my power back, which meant I could focus on other things than my steps during walking. The theme of this journal is a huge one, but I decided to share it with you as I consider it to be very important. The common theme of this week´s journal will be what I believe I am here for on this earth: sharing love. I mean sharing love in a broad sence, including basically any kind of true contact with full attention between two people. I believe that just by being in the moment I am most open to share beautiful moments with myself, my surroundings AND the people around me. The connection with the Caminho de Santiago? I noticed that walking in nature is something that really helps me to just be. In this journal I will elaborate a bit on what I experience when I just am, open to share love with everyone. The question might arise if this way of living needs any borders? Could being warm, open and loving to everyone be an invitation for sick people with dirty thoughts too? And is this a problem? To these questions I will come back later.
Day 15 Coimbra – Mealhada (~15 km)
Today I had a realisation about the way we move through nature. Most of the time we humans tend to rush through nature; walking fast to reach a destination, biking or even taking cars, busses, motorbikes or planes. In this way we are not really aware of all the movement of nature around us. The opposite would be to sit still in nature. I noticed that when I do, I see a lot of movement around me; a changing sky, leaves flikkering in the sun and moving on the breath of the wind, wrinkels on the water, birds flying passed and little insects crawling around. When I am walking I have the feeling I am part of all these movements of nature, proceeding the speed that nature gave me. This makes me feel connected to all that surrounds me, which is great!
Day 16 Mealhada – Ãgueda (~24 km)
´Love goes through the stomach´ is a well-known Dutch saying. So it did today. After a nice walk with disappearing pain in my shin I still felt a lot of energy to go shopping and cook Paul a
tasty dinner. I love cooking! Especially when I don´t know yet what I am going to make, and this stays a surprise untill the moment I finally taste it. It turned out to be a kind of tagine that tasted differently with every bite. I liked it a lot to see my dear chef friend enjoying the dinner.
Day 16 Ãgueda – Albergaria-A-Nova (~24 km)
Today I had a nice walk mostly alone, with just a little bit of pain left in my shin but I felt it would not take long before I would be the old fit Liede again. I want to light out a beautiful meeting with a very old man that I passed today. He was bend over a rolator walking step by step on a narrow pavement. I was concerned a bit if he would not fall off and surprised he went for a walk alone. I greeted him with a ´Bom dia!´ and his reply was just wonderfull. He took my hand with his two hands and I could feel him being out of balance. With a intense look in my eyes and wished me `muito saúde´ (a lot of health). When I zoom out of the situation it is just beautiful; an old man, on the point of saying goodbye to life wishing a young spirit great health. Another beautiful moment of today was that just before arriving in Albergaria-A-Nova I felt like leaving a heart made of eucaliptus leaves for other pilgrims on the road. It turned out that when Paul saw it, it was the perfect moment after a streek of thoughs and realisations to find a heart on his way.
Day 17 Albergaria-A-Nova – São João da Madeira (~25 km)
Again a nice walk! Maybe not concerning the actual roads and nature, but I noticed that being physical helped clearing my thoughts* and listening to my heart. *All my life, some of you might know this, I have had difficulty seeing people around me taking a lot of alcohol and smoking cigarettes. I especially find this difficult when these are people close to me that I love. I then think: ´please take good care of that beautiful body of yours!´ Yesterday evening I was the only one that did not smoke or drink a lot, and in a way this felt strange and kept occupying my mind in the early morning. I realize that my thoughts about this do not really help me in any kind of way neither it does help the people around me. I am glad that I can better and better just let these thoughts pass without them effecting my state. I feel it is in my core to take care of people in my surroundings that I love. I also realized that I can do this best by just being my happy me and lead by example by taking good care of my own body.
Day 18 São João da Madeira – Porto (~15 km)
This was a day of perfect balance between sharing love with myself by being alone and thus being able to exactly follow the voice of my heart, and sharing love with strangers and Caminho friends I made. On the way there was a beautiful moment that I will not forget. I walked down a street and besides the road a car was parked with a woman waiting inside. I stared at the woman, and I noticed she stared at me. In such a situation it is easy to look away, but instead we kept looking each other in the eyes. Slowely a smile appeared around both of our mouths, and our teeth began to show until we were properly smiling. Another beautiful moment of connection! After this I heard that Scott, a great man form the USA rent and Airbnb in Porto and invited Sim, a Korean woman, Paul and me to stay with him, so I did! Arriving there all happened naturally and everybody added to the common enjoyment of the evening. Giving leg massages, getting and enjoying food… It was great to live together with a new little family of all different ages and nationalities!
Day 19 Porto
Another lovely rest day, on which I shared beautiful moments with Paul, Scott added to this by offering us a laundry service and delicious chocolates and fruit. In the afternoon I went exploring the city by myself and ended up absorbing the bell game in a big old church for a while and after that absorbing the velvet voice of a sing and song writer by the water. While I enjoyed her beautiful voice a Polish guy sat down next to me and offered me a puffed chestnut. After a nice talk he even offered a place to sleep for the next day if I still would be in Porto. Amazing how there are so many easy and warmhearted people! This night PaulÂ´s love went through our stomach, and I shared a beautiful talk with Scott that told me he considered bringing love to a dark city like Detroid (were glass of broken windows on the streets are called Detroid dimonds) as his calling. A day of many lovely moments!
Day 20 Porto – Angeiras (~28 km)
Today I walked by the sea side, lifting my feet off the sand. The pain in my shin was just 1% of what it once was which I appreciated a lot! The most important and love-rich moment today was my meditation on a rock besides the sea, after which I felt 10 times more strongly connected to nature and very happy and warm from the inside. I noticed that because of this little meditation I was more able to cause others like Paul, Sim and Scott but also strangers that I passed to smile.
Day 21 Angeiras – Arcos (~27 km)
No shin pain anymore! During the walk of today Paul and me had beautiful conversations, which even gave Scott the impression we were on drugs when we met up during lunch time. Reaching each others cores with words through conversation is another way in which I experience sharing of love.
Day 22 Arcos – Barcelos (~22 km)
A wonderful day with sun shine and small roads through countryside and forest. After I spent a lot of time toghether with Paul yesterday, it today felt great to walk alone for a big part. Today I became aware of the vast amount of pilgrims that walk from Porto to Santiago, in comparison to the few that walk from Lisbon. Many new people to meet, which I realised I love as soon as I started to speak with other pilgrims in the albergue. I finally ended up having dinner with
Scott, Sim and Paul again as I had the feeling that this was expected of me, whearass I felt that I actually wanted to have dinner with the new people I just met. I noticed that doing something against my will does not feel good. This moment reminded me to not just always follow the flow of cirumstances and expectations but actively take action upon my preferences communicated by my heart.
Day 23 Barcelos – Lugar do Corgo (~21 km)
Fernanda’s place, was the name of the private albergue I stayed in this night after another very beautiful walk. Fernanda and her husband basically invited pilgrims in their home, for over 17 years already. This place gave me a true Caminho feeling: eating with all the pilgrims and the family together on a long table, drinking wine and having great conversations… Before dinner Fernanda gave a little speech about how the camino is about love. A place to love and be loved, to share pain and joy and be filled with love so that we can take this love home and share it with others, friends and family. During dinner another special thing happened. A friend of Fernanda, that travelled 62 countries and did many Caminho’s, turned to me and said: `You’re a very special girl, you know that?! I can see it in your eyes and feel it in your energy. You can help people, you know that?´ I could for a while not reply differently than just smile and turning a bit red, as he said it loudly so that more people on the table could hear it. To Paul he said: ´She is free.´ I believe I am, and actually that everyone is very special. I feel I am free, truely. Also I know that I can help many people by just surrounding them and giving them love. It keeps facinating me though, that in a split second people can apperently feel my energy and see all of this, while I did not even talk to them.
Day 24 Lugar do Corgo – Ponte de Lima (~15 km)
Today, while running down hill I nearly passed, but luckily slowed down just in time, a lovely smiling Swiss woman. We spoke about how gratefull we are to be able to travel like this and enjoy all that surrounds us so much and most importantly shared a lot of smiles. She really wanted to invite me for a coffee, which happens more often and is I believe a signal of appreciating the beautiful moments spent together. When we said goodbye, she was sure we would meet another time because, so she said, people always meet twice. A saying repeated by a German guy that I would meet tomorrow (I know now because I write about my experience from the past). I did not meet her the second time yet, I am curious if I will!
Day 25 Ponte de Lima – Valença (~37 km)
Running again! And most of all, by doing so truly listening to my heart and taking action upon what it says. This 37 km walk, climbing uphill and running down, was the beginning of a great love-sharing evening. I felt a lot of energy that I used for cooking a curry for a 6 other pilgrims that we gratefully ate together while sharing stories. After that I met Natalia, a woman from Colombia that I had a lot in common with. We both started the caminho in Lisbon, whearass most people I meet now started in Porto. Like me she was also forced to slow down because of a knee injury, which likewise gave her beatiful life insights which she shared. We both love to speak to the local people on the way, love teaching, have a lot of energy, and connected to us both having to slow down we usually ask a lot of ourselves physically. Moreover we both experience strongly how listening to your heart always leads us to the best possible way and we trust in that whathever we really want from inside will happen.
The past days had been wonderful and full of love sharing moments expressed in smiles, conversations, sharing of food and hugs. To conclude I would like to answer the questions from the beginning; `if being open and loving to everyone needs any borders?´ I believe that when you are in the moment and fully trust on, and take action upon the voice of your heart/ intuition, no borders are needed. Even being kind to truck drivers that slow down on the road and point to the chair next to them is good if this feels right to do so. As transmitting kindness is the opposite of being scared, you automatically send out a strong border, that will keep the truck driver from unloving behaviour, while even answering to what the truck driver (in this example) needs most; love.
With love to you all,