Going walkies

You could say I’m too easily swayed. In January, I wrote a defiant blogpost about how I wasn’t going to give up on my dreams and how I wouldn’t apply for any lecturing jobs until at least the summer. Literally two posts later, I was writing frantically about two that I had applied for. And for five posts in a row, I wrote about nothing but interviews.

Thank God I didn’t get them. I mean I was excited by the prospect of the Dublin job, and I had planned my whole life around it, but now I’m so relieved I didn’t get it. What was the point in quitting the Vietnam job, in turning down the Turkish job, in moving to Longford, just so I could climb straight back on the full-time work treadmill without ever giving myself the chance to live the creative life I wanted to live? I’m glad I didn’t get the job. When the nice HR man rang me for the last time to tell me that the other candidate had signed the contract (but that I’d been “within a whisper” of getting the job) I was disappointed. But if he rang me back tomorrow and told me the job was still up for grabs, I think I’d say no.

When I was in the family-related-guilt-and-poverty-induced haze of February, I had kind of dumped all my plans. I accepted three part-time/online jobs that overlapped with my Big Walk, the Camino de Santiago that I’m doing in May/June. I was toying with putting it off. The Camino had disappeared from my plans when my plans were to take a full-time job for lots of money. Is it back on the agenda? Could I work three part-time jobs around it?

And then fate sent me an email. One of the jobs, the most difficult to get out of, emailed me out of the blue to say that the dates were moving, and I would now be done with the face-to-face element of the course on the day before my flight to Pamplona. You can’t say no to fate. A few more emails and the Camino is very much back on. I’m going to be spending 36 days walking across the top of Spain. Aaaaargh!

I’m not doing this out of pleasure. I’m doing this because I think it will be good for me, physically and mentally. Things I’m scared of/not looking forward to:

  • The walking. I can already feel the blisters, and the friction burns, and the sweat.
  • The heat. I am a creature of winter. Summer is for thin people. The last time I was in Spain in summertime I nearly died. And I wasn’t walking a half-marathon every day then.
  • The outdoors, with all its smells and yappy dogs and nettles and sunburny sunshine and bloodsucking insects. I already miss inside, even just thinking of it.
  • The hostels. Having no personal space for over a month is very not Connor. I’m twitching at the idea.
  • The people. I can’t think of two types of people I’m less likely to get on with than religious people and outdoorsy people. And that’s exactly who will be there. I’m going to be assaulted with earnestness and sincerity.
  • The lack of wifi. I may actually die.

So it’s time to get training. I have two months to get my body and my soul Camino-ready.

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