It creeps into your life and stays in you until you chase it away…


Absolute failure. You’d put the firm at risk. That was why you had started to drink so much. And for what? Now you are left all alone. You’ve quit your life. You’ve crushed it. That’s probably for the best. To remain alone. You can’t do harm to anyone that way. Only to yourself.

You are a fool! To go and ruin your relationship because of one experience. It’s too late for regrets. You deserved his anger. Would you forgive such an act? Forget about men. They don’t exist to you…

The Road to Santiago de Compostela. Some people walk it for twenty six … twenty eight days. You have time. No one cares about you anymore. You can walk the road for two months if you want to. It would be best if it never ends. There is nowhere for you to return to. Not in your previous life.

The day was halfway through. You had covered about fifty kilometres. You decided to look for an albergue at the next village. It’s the seventh day and you had only managed to cover about a hundred kilometres. And they always wished you “Buen Camino”. на пътIt wasn’t easy. No. The reason wasn’t the pain in your legs or your back. The memory of your failure in the company haunted you. You ruined the hard work of at least three colleagues. They were right not to stop you when you gave in your notice. Now you are alone. You can’t damage anyone else but yourself. How can you explain to the others around you that you want to be alone? They won’t understand you.

You had to walk seven more kilometres. There were only hostels in the previous two villages. They were beyond your pocket. You have to save money. This albergue is good. You spread the sleeping bag on the bed and lay on top of it. Almost all of the other beds were already taken. There were only three free top bunks near the windows. You got lost in your thoughts. You slept for about an hour. It was late. You had to buy something to eat for dinner.

Two boys were sitting in front of the store drinking beer. Today, they’d caught up with you, you’d exchanged greetings and you’d joked about the cyclists. They noticed you. “Won’t you sit down?” You ordered a small beer. They were from Scandinavia. Today, they’d covered forty two kilometres. Curiosity prompted them to walk that much. They wanted to meet other people too. Those that are ahead of them. Now they were going to slow down the pace for a day or two. That way, they got to know more people on the road. In their lives, they pursued art. Art did not make money – that was why it was more of a hobby. They also had a marketing agency. Some of their clients were amazing. They trusted the boys. It was a pleasure to work with them. You wouldn’t get rich from this business, but it was enough to provide time and resources for their hobby. And you…?

How could you explain? It was really painful to talk about yourself. You gazed into the distance. You looked for a salvation or solution. You decided. You were going to share. You didn’t know each other. The only thing that was stopping you was shame. You would get over it.

You told them where you were from. The Road to Santiago was your hideout. That was what you told them. You were hiding from shame. The shame that you had misled others. They listened to you carefully. They didn’t take their eyes off you. You all ordered one more beer. You told them everything. Through your eyes. The way you felt it in your soul. You shared the way you feel. You shared your desire to be alone. You needed time. You needed a solution. What was after the road? You fell silent. You’d released everything that was bottled up inside you and everything that was weighing you down.

магазинчеThe little store had very few customers. An elderly couple were buying some wine. A woman with a serious face bought water and some small things for dinner. She looked depressed and brooding. There were also two locals. They were discussing something and obviously couldn’t find a common solution. After your story, silence had followed. The boys were looking at you. An awkward silence. “Don’t stop.” The shorter one said it. It turned out the two of them were intrigued by what they had heard. They found words for you. “You are a strong person if you can rationalize, if you can share everything that has happened to you. The most important thing is that you are above it. You have managed to suppress your ego and you are making the right decision. So you think others don’t make mistakes? They make mistakes, but then they lay low. They don’t have the courage to acknowledge their mistakes. Loneliness does not solve the problem. Loneliness can only destroy you. You can do it. You know, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Don’t stop searching.”

You had dinner together at the albergue. Nobody mentioned what you’d told them. A nice crowd gathered in the little kitchen. It was fun. People were sharing experiences, emotions, jokes. The woman from the store showed up too. She had dinner quickly and disappeared. Your soul felt lighter. That night you slept deeply. самотна раницаWhen you woke up, almost everyone had gone. You, two other guys and a group of retired people were the last there.

A few days passed. You happened across the boys one more time. You didn’t see them after that. Most probably, they were already in a new group. After the conversation with them, you were relieved. It had seemed impossible, but your thoughts began to arrange themselves. You didn’t need to hide from the others anymore. You introduced yourself, inquired about people, you even gave advice to a young man who had changed his profession. There were also people you were with every day. You came across the woman from the store a few times too. She was an interesting person to observe. She avoided eye contact. Alone everywhere. She hurried on the road and, if you caught up with her, she picked up her pace. бягаща женаYou crossed paths with each other probably for a week. After a while, she disappeared. You thought you would never see her again. Every day, you met new faces. You caught up with some people, others caught up with you. You met a man that went on the road from his home. He wasn’t talkative, but he was a good person. He exuded wisdom. You felt it. He spoke only his native language, but that didn’t stop you from sharing a relaxing break over a cup of coffee. You hoped to have the same energy when you reached his age. To have his wisdom too.

Time heals. Time gives you the opportunity to find solutions. The road grants you time in abundance. You had walked more than half of the way to Santiago de Compostela. You started to think, what next, after the road? There wasn’t a lack of ideas. Maybe your own business? The idea of living in another country was appealing. It would be an interesting experiment. There was time. Let the thought ripen.

гол град спокойствиеBig cities were giving you ideas. It brought you pleasure to sit down with a beer in the city centre. To observe people. There, life had a different rhythm. Not like in your country. There was no tension, aggression, apprehension to be felt. Those people possessed calmness.

You saw her. The lady from the store, the woman that was running away, the uneasy woman. She also noticed you. Everything happened on its own. You stood up to get her attention. You see each other on the road, why not have a glass of wine together? If there was a problem, “Excuse me for bothering you”. She looked at you. She came over to the table. She was about thirty five, slim figure, beautiful face and long hair worn in a bun. You could define her as a beauty if she wasn’t so serious. Her smile was missing.

You started talking. She wasn’t very talkative, but you took the initiative. You started talking about your days on the road. It had been amazing. You were already thinking of coming back next year. “Why were you here now?” Bullseye. You hadn’t been jolted like that since the conversation with the boys. You thought about it. It seemed that you had already got over your discomfort, shame, pain from your lost life. You felt confident. You shared everything with her, the way you had told it the last time. The difference was that you no longer sounded dejected. You were sure about the future. The future is yours. It depends solely on you and your dreams. When you are alone, you are not an artist, a sculptor of your own life. “You know, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Your words sounded confident. You were surprised at the change in you. The past was behind you and now the only thing that mattered was to find the right solutions. To start a new life.

You were already on a first name basis. You shared your thoughts with her, but she was obviously not one that wanted to share. You talked like that for probably an hour, or two. It was time to go. She was in another albergue, not in yours. No problem. Tomorrow, you would meet on the road. You parted ways. Interesting woman. She didn’t smile. Not once. She definitely wasn’t your type, but there was some attraction. It was probably the wine.

You didn’t see each other the next day. You didn’t meet the day after that either. You were left with a pleasant memory from the conversation, the wine, the joy of sharing. You chased the loneliness away. You met a lot of other people. The friendships there were honest. кухняThere were no ulterior motives. You didn’t need to be secretive. There was no person or thing to hide from. One of the evenings, you had a great time. A young man played a guitar. He gathered everyone in the kitchen. Great party. And that fellow playing the American country music. Ah, if only there could be more evenings like this.

Days were slipping by. The end goal was not far away. You realized you were not the only one that didn’t want the road to end. Another hundred or so kilometres and it was over. Everyone back to where they came from. You will definitely send an email to all the addresses you wrote down. Those are friends. Of course, you may never meet them again, but they will remain friends. You have shared so much travelling with them. Sun, rain, dark mornings, shared evenings, pictures for keeping memories, help when it was needed. All that changes you. It charges you with energy.

пилигримски офисYou reached the pilgrim office. You saw familiar faces waiting in front for a document. You greeted each other. It was hard to say if you were happy. You were going to miss the road. You took your pilgrim’s certificate and sat down for a beer. Great. You felt great. You would be staying here for a day or two and then you would leave for the ocean. You were going so you can burn your past. You were ready for a new start.

You took a bus to the Finistera. You would allow yourself a couple more days here too. A captivating little town. You walked the distance to the lighthouse twice. You burned everything that was connecting you to the past. You gazed at the horizon for a long time. You didn’t feel like leaving the rocks. There should have been a bottle of wine. Great idea. What are three kilometres? You go to the town and then come back. Three plus three, six kilometres. Like you hadn’t walked them so many times. You didn’t give it much thought. You started walking down.

Fistara залезYou almost missed the sunset. You’d opened the bottle while you were still in the store. You gazed at the setting sun. Beautiful. You don’t get that every day. “Hello.” She came out of nowhere. Dusk was falling. You gave her the bottle to take a drink from. “Thank you. You brought me back to life. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”

Night fell. You talked on the way to town. A “Good night” followed. She was in another albergue. You never met each other again.

You look out of the window into the distance. In the office behind you, your employees are working. You dreamed of having your own business for a long time. You feel good in this Scandinavian country. Here, you also met the woman in your life.

The day is coming to its end. She turns towards the auditorium. “Remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I didn’t discover this. That is life.” The students leave. It is late. In the car outside, her husband is waiting for her. The most wonderful person she has ever met. She also remembers the man from the road. Who was he, she wonders.


Santiago de Compostella 3.10.2015 / Madrid  10.10.2015