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Hello and welcome to my blog formerly called Gypsy-K. Please note that I am only updating this blog while I am walking from Rome to Jerusalem from September 2015. My online home and permanent blog is at www.kymwilson.com.au. You can also sign up for pilgrim postcards and newsletters here. Thank you for being here and supporting my journey. With love and courage, Kym xx

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Day 9: Arras

Today was the hardest day of walking so far.  Not because of the terrain, it was reasonably flat, but because of the distance.  I walked 38.5 kilometres in 10 hours, 6 of those in the rain.  I wasn't driven by ego to go further than I am physically capable of or ready for whilst my body is adjusting to long distance walking.  There's very little accommodation options between Bruay-la-Buissiere and Arras so I really had no choice but to walk it.  And I chose the shorter option.  The true to the book route adds another 14 kilometres.

The first 12 kilometres were the easiest.  I stopped to talk to the curious cows that trusted me enough to come near me instead of run away as they usually do.  But as the day wore on, my two blisters burned, my arches and my heels ached and by the end of the day my hip muscles were in spasm, screaming in pain.  The tears were there but they didn't come.  I kept telling myself I can do it.  I can do it. I can do it. I did.

The last two kilometres into Arras were the worst, slow and painful. I prayed for the feel of pillows beneath my feet.  I prayed for the pain to soften just a little.  I prayed for grace, for a way that I could be in acceptance of the pain and stop resisting it and making it worse. I estimate it took me an hour to walk the last two kilometres into town.  I was so relieved to see the bell tower, to know I had made it, although I still had to find accommodation for the night.  And when I did, and I finally took the Devil off my back and I could sit down, the pain instantly started to fade away along with the memory of how painful the day was..

I  feel like I'm breaking some unwritten pilgrim law writing this now. No one seems to talk about exactly how physically challenging and painful it is.  Maybe because they don't want to put others off trying it for themselves.  Maybe because they don't want to be seen to be whinging or moaning.  Maybe because they just want to focus on the positive aspects of pilgrimage.

I am not seeking sympathy.  I understand the nature of the path I have chosen.  

I do not want to put others off choosing their own pilgrim path but I am a truth-teller and I don't want to paint the picture that this is a beautiful and romantic "stroll" through Europe.

The pilgrim path is a tough one. It tests you physically, emotionally and spiritually. I was tested in all three ways today.














10 comments:

  1. Hey, Kym, we're with you. I was thinking of you today when the rain was so inconvenient (we thought), but nothing compared to your challenge. Think of those curious cows with their runny noses and the rain on their backs...wondering at the dripping pilgrim who passed their way today :)

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    1. They are so curious. Every tine I walk past cows they turn to stare at me. Actually, everyone turns to stare at me really. Its particularly bad when I am wearing the Kermit Cloak. I like to think everyone is a little bit jealous of my amazing fashion sense but... :)

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  2. Aw Kym,

    I am really enjoying reading your posts. I am sorry to hear about the blisters :( They will go away at some point.
    Just look at those curious cows! They are sure cute :)

    I hope you have a soft and cozy rest tonight with lots of pillows for your precious feet!

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    1. Thanks Kari. I slept well. This blisters didn't flare up today but feet are throbbing as usual. I think its all getting a little less painful...until Friday when I have another 30 plus kilometre day :)

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  3. Kym,

    Thank you for your words, thoughts and pain. It is all a part of the process of living and of being a pilgrim. I felt much as you do regarding the writing of the aches and pains of being a pilgrim when walking the Camino Frances with my service dog. We are from the states and with different laws around assistance dogs we (Nigel the dog) and I camped much of the time. The blisters were horrible and the leg/knee/hip pain quite difficult. But it was all well worth it. I had been in the process of training for my own pilgrimage to Rome via Canterbury, but a motorcycle accident has put that on hold for now. But reading your life on the trail brings peace to my soul that I too will walk again along the pilgrim path. So thank you for the kindness, peace and wellbeing you share.

    Kim

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    1. Kim i am so glad I can share my journey with you and thank you for your kind words. I wouldn't mind the camping if I brought my mat with me which I didn't because of bag weight and I decided it was an emergency option, and a warmer sleeping bag. Its cold at night here now. But the camping makes the bag so much heavier. I am already wondering when I can dump my tent I have with me for an emergency.

      Hoping that your accident was not too serious and that you recover soon and well and can undertake your own pilgrimage soon. I am so happy to have you with me on my journey.

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  4. I am amazed at your courage and tenacity. You are making great progress. Really loved your "Maybe" poem - read it out to my bookgroup last night as it was very relevant to "The Time Keeper" by Mitch Albom. Our next book will be a novel about a pilgrimage. Are you getting any time to read? Your photos along the way are great.

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    1. I just went back and read it too. When I go back and read then its like they are written by someone else. So glad you liked it and shared it.

      All I am reading at the moment is my guide book directions and companion book and my poem a day from A Year with Rumi. I"m dreaming of a day off to stretch out in the sun and read and write poems. It will happen soon, I'm just not sure when. I want to save my spare days for Italy but I will need a day off well before then.

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