On Sunday, June fifth (yes, that’s tomorrow), I will close my laptop. I will put it on a shelf, and I will not see it again for a month. I will put two pairs of pants, three shirts and a sleeping bag into my backpack, and I will head to San Sebastian in the Northeast of Spain.
I’ve been waiting for this day for a while now.
I need a vacation, yes. I need a total break from society—also yes.
But it’s more than that. It always is.
The Camino de Santiago has been on my list for awhile now. (It’s not a bucket list. I like to call it my, “Do These Things as Soon as Possible List.”)
I don’t know why I want to do it, just like I don’t know why I want to travel the Trans-Siberian Railway, ride on horseback across Mongolia or sail the seven seas (all on my list). Except, I know that it calls to me; I know that adventure is my way of searching—of seeking.
I know that a search need not have an object—that it is the act of searching that matters—sometimes. On the threshold of this journey, a memory floats up from two years ago. As I prepared for my first (I hope not my last) vision quest, someone dear to me said, “I hope you find what you’re looking for.”
I didn’t find it, of course. I didn’t know what I was looking for, and I still don’t.
There are the obvious things. Nature. Space to breathe. Air to think. A break—from work, from time, from everything. But that’s all somewhat superficial. My true reasons, the deeper reasons? I am as mystified by them as anyone. Yet still I go.
I made the mistake then of thinking—hoping—I would discover in searching the reason for my search. I have no such lofty aspirations this time.
To simply walk. To place one foot in front of the other. This is my task.
I invite you, too, to pursue your searches, your seeking, your quest without needing to know why.
It doesn’t matter where we go, for how long or what we look for. What matters is that we walk. And that we look.
Author: Toby Israel
Image: Author’s Own