This ain’t your Boy Scout hike…

Day 21

Another day of bright sun snd dry weather.  I left Leon a few minutes after 8 after a great night’s sleep.  Because it is a holiday, the restaurant in the hotel only opens at 8 for breakfast and I didn’t want to leave that late as it’s a long walk today.  So I picked up some pastries and fruit at the Carrefour Express market last night and ate it in the room before I finished packing.  

Ran across one of my new friends from Germany and a girl just starting out on her Camino.  My friend from Germany was doing her best to help the new walker (who seemed pretty excited).  We chatted a few minutes and then I got on my way.

Most places in Leon are closed because of the holiday.  A day off here would not have been very productive in there of seeing things but I loved the atmosphere last night.  This will be a place to return and spend several days.  What a city.

It was sad to say goodbye – for now – to my friend from Boston last night. I wish her fast healing on her foot.  

I am both privileged and grateful to be here.  Those who know me know how much my time participating at the ITU meant as did the privilege of growing up in an area with exposure to different cultures.  It whetted, not satisfied, an appetite.  And the experience of the Camino is feeding that appetite.

I am grateful to having exposure to hiking as a scout and the encouragement of the leaders & parents, starting with Ed Harn (RiP) and others from the greatest generation that were leaders and mentors.  (As tough as the Camino can be, it’s nothing like what they endured in the War to end all Wars) The skills and abilities that we learned have served me well over the years, and they’ve been invaluable here on the Camino to myself and others I’ve helped.  Work hard, be prepared, be resourceful, and find your way (the fancy word is orienteering),  And I am very thankful for supporters and mentors that helped me prepare for the journey as well as those I’ve met along the way.

While Leon center was wonderful, the Camino route out of the city took us through an industrial area into more rural areas.  Not well marked, but good enough once you know what to look for.

This stretch of the Camino is not nearly as farmed or productive as the areas east of Leon that I passed through.  Today’s walk took us by fallow fields and ones just being turned for planting.  They were very dry – the drought is real and one of my new German friends described just how bad it is.  If you don’t believe in the effects of climate change, look here.  If the situation doesn’t change a lot of folks will be in a world of hurt for food and water.

Someone asked if I’d do this again and if I did, would I do it differently.  The answer is that yes, it would be different because so much is the people you meet and the relationships you build.  And I might well do it again, though I’d think about one of the other Camino routes like the one from Portugal. I can promise you that I didn’t expect to find folks with so many things in common, nor did I have any idea that the friendships and relationships would be such a big part of the experience.  Yes, I would dearly love to have had more time in some cities – but that would have come at the cost of some friendships as folks would have moved on without the time to bond.  I am very privileged to have the ability to come back in the future and see the cities and places where I wanted more time.  Walking has slowed the pace and helped build the connections.

In other words, it’s a trade-off.  Just like the growing need to reserve ahead for a place to stay.  For me, the outcome so far has been a good balance and something beneficial.  But everyone has different goals and desires.  And that’s why we say “it’s your Camino”.  

As it relates to business, I’ve long believed that successful companies must have a diversity of types of people in their employ, especially if they wish to sell into different cultures and socioeconomic groups.  The benefits of diversity of different cultures is clear and on display along the Camino…. And without it this would be a pretty dull thing to do. At least from my perspective.