After yesterday’s nearly euphoric walk, I had high hopes that the worst was behind me and that “things could only get better from here,” (paging Howard Jones!)

The neighboring town of Grañón was only 6km away from Santo Domingo but it may as well have been 60. I felt like each step was worse than the one before.

Then, about 1km away, I fell into [slooooow] pace with a local farmer on his way into town to visit the church. I was hobbled by blisters and sore ankes–him, hobbled by years of back-breaking labor. We began an easy going conversation, the words and tears flowing freely from me as if we had known each other for years. It felt great to let out all my frustration and hurt — in near perfect Spanish no less!

He reminded me that everyone has a different reason for walking the Camino –and different experiences — and that I must never forget what brought me to it. When I said I didn’t think I could make it all the way to Belorado that day, he told me that there was absolutely no reason why I had to push myself any harder than I was capable of. No one would judge me any less if some days I walked less and I had to agree with him.

When we finally made it to the church, he paused, looked me square in the eye and said he had faith that I was going to get my second wind that day and find the strength to continue on. He promised to light a candle for me and pray. He gave me the dos bes0s and I was genuinely sad to see him go. It was one of the sweetest, most inspiring  conversations I have ever had in my life and I stood there in place with my eyes closed taking stock of everything that was said. I didn’t want to forget a single moment of it.

I made it to Belorado that day after all. With energy to spare no less. The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me.