Hello to all of you still subscribed to my blog after all this time with not a whisper from me! It has been almost three years since I walked the Camino, and a recent personal fund-raising campaign by myself has seen some new traffic directed to my blog. So, I thought I would come back to write once again, to update those of you who have followed me for all of this time on the upcoming reunion.
The three years since the Camino have not been the easiest for me. I’ve faced a few challenges, mainly with my health. I spent some time homeless and couch surfing at a friends’ flat. I’ve lost a couple of jobs due to my poor health. But, despite these things, I have tried to remain positive. I’ve had some dark periods, for sure (I’m human, right?), but, on the whole I have tried to keep smiling. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the Camino, and wishing that I could return to do it all again! Two things are stopping me – my health, and my financial situation. If I can get the first one sorted, I’ll be able to return to work to address the second!
Although I am not fit enough at the moment to walk the Camino, I have been looking forward to returning to meet once again with the people I got to know all that time ago! I have kept in touch with my Camino family, and we all promised to meet again, back on the Camino, in a few years. Well, it has now been a few years, and the reunion is planned for this summer at the end of July. I’ve been looking forward to it for so long, and have been getting more excited the closer it gets. I never thought that my health would have remained so poor for so long. I thought that I would be back up and running, working and earning, and able to just book time off work and book flights. However, the closer July gets, the more I have slowly come to realise that is simply not going to happen. I am under the care of several specialists in different fields and am not likely to be fit to return to work for some time yet. I started to get upset at the thought of not being able to go, to see these wonderful people once again and to actually be back on the camino. I can’t miss out on this, surely? Will I have to wait another three years, or perhaps longer, for the next opportunity?
Then, a week or so ago, someone told me about a website called GoFundMe, and suggested that I try a self funding campaign of my own. I was hesitant to do this, as it’s not really something I want to do – ask others for money. I haven’t done it before and am not comfortable with it. However, the more I thought about it, and looked at other people’s GoFundMe campaigns, the more I thought it might be worth a shot. I really want to see these people again, and I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So, I reluctantly sat and typed my plea into their website. It wasn’t easy to write about my problems, and to explain in writing that I am not working and can’t afford to go, knowing that I was about to share it for all of my friends to see. I was worried about the response that I might receive – but how I was wrong! I thought that the campaign would just sit at zero, without a single donation, or that perhaps I would get a few donations over the next few months, but that it would be nowhere near enough to enable me to go on this trip. I also thought that, given the response I have already received from some people about my mental health struggles, some of my friends may feel negatively towards me after reading this.
The opposite has been true. In just a few days I have received so so many messages of support from both friends, and strangers. Not only that, but my GoFundMe campaign not only reached my target in two days, but has since passed the target! I cannot put into words how all of this love and support has made me feel! It’s refreshing to know that there are so many good people out there, and at the same time I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders now that I have admitted to my friends about my struggles. I now know that I have plenty of people to turn to, and that I am loved. I am now able to buy my plane tickets, and will be at the reunion this summer in Spain! I can’t wait! I want to scream with excitement! I am so so grateful, and words just don’t seem enough – but to all of you, from the bottom of my heart – I THANK YOU! I am so touched by your kindness, and will be forever grateful.
My personal fundraising page can be viewed here.