A Journey of Days: Relearning Life's Lessons on the Camino by Guy Thatcher

By Guy Thatcher

Man Thatcher walked the Camino de Santiago, an historic pilgrimage direction, hoping to find the cause of the compulsion that drove him there. What he chanced on in its place was once the undying land of northern Spain, good looks, silence, mountains and plains, rain and incessant solar, snow in could, heartbreaking climbs, fatigue, and damage; pleasant and inviting humans, new friendships, depression, transcendental pleasure, delivery and dying, and churros con chocolate. He got here away with a renewal of his trust within the amazing goodness of standard humans from around the world as they shared a unprecedented trip.
Join man Thatcher as he stocks his days and his studies at the camino with you.

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Prologue I am going to Spain to walk 800 kilometres of “el camino de Santiago,” or the road to Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James. I have never been to Spain. I plan to start at St. Jean Pied-de-Port, across Spain’s northern border with France, just on the northern side of the Pyrenees. The camino is a thousand-year-old pilgrim2 path that runs across the northern part of Spain from east to west, ending at Santiago de Compostela in the northwest corner of Spain. Santiago is where St. James is said to be buried3, and his tomb and shrine has been a major site for Christians.

The restaurant at the hotel where I am staying does not even open until 2030 hours. Sitting here alone, watching the activity at the tables around me, emphasizes for me the enormous importance of relationships in our species. I have no idea what any of them are talking about, but they are doing a thorough job of it. Eavesdropping is easy, understanding is not. Two couples, one a generation younger than the other, are sitting next to me. The younger couple arrives, two-cheek air kiss--very French.

Roger Sage, of Whipsnade, for his medical advice early on--drink a lot more water-- and for his offer to come and help when I was briefly laid up, to his wife, Jackie, for her review of an early draft of this book and her excellent advice, to my brother Ance Thatcher of Candia, New Hampshire, for his manuscript review and his comment on scythes, and to Jim Holmes of Ottawa and John McGee of Atlanta for their careful reviews of the draft and their perceptive and helpful criticism. To my daughter-in-law, TJ Sharp, who produced the wonderful artwork for the cover of this book.

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