What makes a story great?
It Goes Above the Five Senses
It Embraces idiosyncrasies
It Forgets about being pretty
It has a Purpose
It Makes you Laugh
And It Makes you Cry
Rota Vicentina became an integral part of our story in Portugal. This is one thing I had planned and our trip here centred around the dates for the 200 kilometres of awesomeness. Dave looked at the details on the first day in Santiago do Cacem and he said “how many kilometres is this a day??”… ummm well 18 at the very least was my response! Often it’s best to be in the dark and just put your head down and go along with things – which is exactly what he did! The walking became hiking. We found trails that I was compelled to take pictures of. Rota Vicentina touched all five of our senses along the way! We even checked the ‘taste’ sensation as we ate wild thyme and rosemary picked along the way (and probably a bit of sand too!)
Often the “purpose” of your story does not always become clear when you are living in the moment. We settled into our room on Day 2 of Rota Vicentina trip & we walked to the dining table room next door. Our lovely Inn was in the middle of “nowhere” on the trail & we had one option for dinner – the one made by the owner for us (it was really good). Our one and only dinner companion introduced herself to us – Nadja. We shared a bottle of wine with her – surprise, surprise – often great friendships start with wine! Slowly like peeling back the skin of an onion, Dave and I got a chance to ‘know’ Nadja. Walking through puddles, sitting on the side of a road literally breaking bread for lunch, talking about how you got to right where you are today, sharing of our parents, siblings, friends… sometimes we 3 walked quietly but often we walked laughing. This lovely young woman, Nadja has lived to her current 32 years so different to Dave and I to our 50+ years. That is what makes it fun to be friends – she is a marvel in her wisdom and insights and we found ourselves ‘connected’. The universe’s energy drew us to the Rota and part of our story is our friendship with Nadja Wallraff.
We also found ourselves sharing in someone else’s “great story” one night in Aljezur… the story of a message in a bottle, Burt’s Bees and how another Canadian woman will make her way to Portugal. Randomly we wanted food that was something other than ‘traditional Portuguese’. Dave found a ‘tapas’ that appealed and whilst eating there we got to talking with the two guys running the place. We discovered food is their passion, but lifeguarding is their day job. Fabio (yes I am not making this name up) found a message in a bottle on the beach. Now I cannot do this story justice but I can share Lauren Jerzyk’s youtube video that will explain how everything makes a story…. (btw Lauren’s planning to go meet Fabio this summer… perhaps there will be more to their story) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_s0Lis705U
Not Chia seeds in yogurt – little tadpoles in a muddle puddle – they were not going to make it as the day was 25 and hot sunshine…. it just was a point of not being pretty but that is part of the story.
Five people… each on the journey to walk, some farther than others. We picked up Rita in Napoli a city we loved and really didn’t love either. She found us again and brought Tanja, her ‘early fall friend’ to meet her ‘late fall friends’ (that would be Dave and I) and Nadja became her ‘early spring’ friend. Five people, five different people with their own idiosyncrasies that combined to make a journey along the Rota a whole lot more interesting.
Our story… life isn’t pretty… you can challenge yourself… you can laugh and seriously connect with other humans just because you are doing something difficult. We found purpose, friendship and bucket loads of laughter along the journey. Maybe it was less than 200 kilometres we walked in the end but we gained more than sore feet. We found people at their best – simply being humans without the boundaries of what works and what doesn’t. More people should try a seriously long walk… I get why the Camino do Santiago changes people. We lived freely for 12 days and added to ‘our’ story!
You should stand in your underwear in public more often
you’re going to appreciate sand on the beach more than in your shoes on your journey
There are a whole lot more stories ahead… because EVERYTHING really, truly is a story!