“You are so open!” A Dutch boy tells me this after we have been walking together for only about one kilometer, and I know I’ve been talking too much.
I’m not sure why it’s so easy to tell complete strangers things that I hesitate telling my closest friends.
On Saturday, I took a train and then a bus over the French border to Saint Jean Pied de Port and I felt lonely for the first time since I left. Like really, heart-wrenchingly, wanting to curl up in a ball in my bed lonely.
Things I couldn’t do: curl up in a ball in my tiny sleeping sack, get on the internet with no WiFi within two kilometers, or talk to anyone in English as all my friends for the day were Spaniards.
But then I started walking. And I learned: sometimes it’s okay to not make plans (and sometimes it means waking up an hour before you’d have to just to make sure you have food), it’s unreal when the fog is so thick over the Pyrenees that you feel like you’re walking IN a cloud, I can keep pace with the boys on the trail and in the bar (okay, no one’s really surprised by this, except maybe my middle school gym teacher), and sometimes the best days are the ones with amazing views but no pictures.
And when you’re talking to a Scottish boy about your mutually favorite TV shows (we agree that our albergue last night could’ve been the set of Orange is the New Black), a South African woman about traveling the world for 26 months, a German boy about the beauty of Lonestar tallboys and how all the coolest girls drink beer, and a Dutch boy about how broken unrequited love can leave you… you realize you’re not so alone after all.
“We’re all the same.” A Quebec girl tells me this, and I believe her.