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Great news, Santiago in Love is ready to restart! The blog was at a standstill since February last year and was quite a close call… it nearly disappeared. Winter is dying, spring is coming; after a time on the roadsides of the Camino, let’s get back on better Ways!
Ups and downs happen everywhere. Since last year, my relationship with the Camino went through some downs that were really low… I was really close to decide to give up on the blog and to close it for good. Thankfully, time worked to my advantage and I eventually made up with the Camino. My interest in continuing Santiago in Love is back and voila! I’m back around here to restart the blog and keep talking about the Way!
Down the road to Santiago’s hell
Hell and Santiago… at first glance, two words that don’t go hand in hand. However, if there are for sure many bright sides to the Camino, there are many dark sides as well!
Like everyone, I came across some of them through personal experiences. Any pilgrim inevitably found him-herself confronted to a fact or a speech that gave him-her a glimpse of a not-to-be-proud-of side of the Camino. But because I immersed myself deeper and deeper into the Jacobean community, I ended up discovering more of it. A lot more!
Surrealistic preparations, generalized lack of tolerance and respect, galloping capitalism, outrageous mercantilism and consumerism, Jacobean disinformation for profit to name but a few… The list of the other side of the Camino really is very long!
Not everything was dark, far from it! Unfortunately, the more I came across dismaying information or pitiful chats between pilgrims, the more I was under the impression to only see the least glorious sides of the Camino…
Stroll from one dark pothole to the next
When the mind become conscious about something, it starts to see it more often and everywhere. Articles, news, posts, comments, talks with pilgrims, everything seemed to become darker and darker. It was like if people, professional or not, came to an agreement to make disappointing remarks or expose disappointing facts.
Again, not everything was dark and I’m thankful for it! Yet every time I got some faith in Santiago back, I stumbled upon something that made me lose it once more. Hard to keep a positive attitude in these circumstances…
Despite my firmly optimist character, I felt more and more disheartened regarding the Camino. After a while, a simple peak at the Jacobean communities online was enough to inspire me feelings that were all but pilgrim-like! I found myself completely demotivated to write on Santiago in Love. It didn’t take too long before I started to think about closing it for good.
At the end, this depressing state of mind increased and lasted nearly a whole year. Saint James and I were on pretty bad terms and I admit I held quite a grudge against him! Thankfully, everything passes, even bad times!
Light at the end of the tunnel
Do you know this saying from Staretz Silouan the Athonite? “Keep thy mind in hell and despair not“. It often crosses my mind when I’m going through a hard time. I also find it a real good piece of advice. It was the case during my time through the Camino’s darkest sides! On one hand, I took a step back from the Jacobean communities and news. On the other hand, I tried to focus on my fondness for the Camino and keep hope alive it would regain the upper hand.
At the same time, I went back walking on the Caminos in Spain. It was the Caminos Inglés, Portugués and a Fisterra, all of them in Galicia, for a month and a half last winter. Even if I left with more of a hiker’s state of mind than of a pilgrim’s, Santiago made its impression! Mostly solitary and with a quiet pace, this new time on the Camino was truly refreshing. Back to the roots and back in touch with the Spirit of the Way. What could be better than the Camino to soothe the mind?
On the Way and through patience, my bitterness toward Santiago eventually softened. Of course, the darker sides of the Camino are still here, but they don’t bother me so much anymore. My fondness for Santiago is renewed and my desire to write for Santiago in love as well!
Signs of revival and restart
Thankfully and just like on the Camino, signs came up to help me focus on more positive things. They were true bits of support, regularly found here and there! I’m thinking in particular about very clear mails from readers of the blog, who gave me touching proves that Santiago in Love was worth it… I’m keen to thanks them here and now for their messages. They really had a positive impact on my will and motivation to restart the blog!
After a down time that was both really dark and long, Santiago in Love is restarting, slowly maybe, but steadily! I wish my focus will be strongly aimed towards the brightest sides of the Camino, to keep telling it even more!
PS: By the way, Santiago in Love took advantage of the restart to have a slight makeover… I hope you like it! 😉