There is nothing more emotionally debilitating than dealing with an injury in the middle of a hike, especially when you have to sit in the same hostel for two days because of bus strikes while hundreds, literally hundreds, of hikers walk past the hostel to continue their journey. I’ve played so many games in my head trying to figure out what is wrong with my leg and what did me in to end up like this, but in the end I had to realize that none of that is important and I am where I am. The only thing left to do in that situation is wait. You can’t rush your healing, darkness has it’s reaching.
It could have been worse. I could have been depressed the whole time and drank the entire bottle of gin on the hiker box while throwing a tantrum because I can’t get my way, but I didn’t. The past few days have been like most days in our lives; highs and lows, frustrations and peace, excitement and boredom. Sitting here in Corsica on the eve of my hike on the GR20, I feel mostly peace in how the past few days have gone and whatever the future holds for me.
My first night at the hostel was slow. I stayed up by myself feeling guilty for watching Friends on Netflix. The next morning was tough. I decided to try and hitch to Santiago, but after two hours it proved useless so I went for option two and walked to the bus station. I found out there was a strike going on so I walked the mile back to the hostel and tried to hitch for another two hours, which again proved useless. Except a nice cop stopped by and told me no one would pick me up in this area of Spain. Pfft.
I went back to my hostel and met a nice man from London and found some time alone in these quiet woods off the highway next to a wimpy little creek. That place would become a turning point that day for my anxiety. I sat for a long time next to the water and centered my mind and reminded myself that there is opportunity hidden in every ounce of life we get and after two hours I got up and went back to the hostel to spend a wonderful night talking with my new friend from London and a few other hikers who loved talking about California and the work I get to do in the Redwoods. It made me feel good to share in some laughs and have some gin.
The bus strike ended the next morning so I got a ride to Lugo and immediately got another ride to Santiago. I had no interest in wandering the streets of Lugo in my hobbled condition. When I got in Santiago I told myself I was going to stay out at the Cathedral and not move to keep my healing up, but when I got into the plaza and saw thousands of other pilgrims finishing their hike I couldn’t help but nestle into the vibe and explore the area. I bought a bottle of wine, a pass to the museum and began exploring the historic city. There was music everywhere and all types too; from classic symphonies playing to harps in the streets to bag pipes and hang drums. Maybe it was the wine, but my heart was exploding in joy getting to wander that city.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to meet many people, but I found a nice spot looking over a small church with the sunset behind me and a symphony playing before me. With my wine in hand I wore a small for the duration of the sun dipping behind the hills and beginning the nightlife of the city. After a few hours of walking I started feeling tired and my shin felt a bit over worked so I returned to the bus station after a confusing and a little bit scary of a walk. I was a bit drunk and kept walking past my turns and going into wooded areas where concrete ended. Maybe I was a little bit more than a bit drunk.
Eventually I made it to the bus station and was greeted by two guys. One was a hiker and the other a local. They offered me a beer and a cigarette, which while I am drinking is such a temptation for me, and we shared an hour of conversation about life and hiking before we went to sleep. It was a really comforting way to sleep outside of a bus station in a big city.
The next morning I popped an ibuprofen and got my bus to Vigo. Shit in Vigo sucked. I decided to walk to the airport rather than pay 18 euros and my directions took me to the wrong side of the landing strip after I walked 7 miles to get there. Good news is that my shin didn’t feel too bad! I had to back track three miles and finally got in the airport. I rested the rest of the day and at night got on my plane to Barcelona to catch a connecting flight to Bastia in Corsica, France.
I slept in three different places at the airport in Barcelona because officers kept waking me up and telling me to move, but I desperately needed sleep and finally found a small crack behind som pillars by the stairs and nestled in for a few hours before my flight.
The plane ride to Bastia was the most terrifying thing in my life. Besides getting thing stuck in my eye, plane rides are my least favorite experiences. This plane hit so much turbulence after take off that at one point everyone on the planes let out a scream because we dropped so hard and so fast. I was sweating all over and my heart was jumping out of my chest with my fingers dug into the armrest. The whole flight after that I was on edge. Wen the plane finally landed I was ready to call my whole family and tell them I love them. I was so glad to be on the ground.
I am currently sitting outside a coffee shop and listening to a new language surround me. My shin feels tight on the muscle and the pain by the bone has gone away. I’m thinking I didn’t give myself enough time to heal from shin splints so now I just need to take things slow and use my trekking poles to keep as much weight as possible off my legs. I feel good. I feel at peace and only a little anxious about hiking. It’s crazy how much I take walking for granted on a daily basis. I long for the day I can walk freely without worry of what might be happening to my shin. I know it will heal soon and if a few days into this trail it feels like it’s getting worse I will once again have to end a trail early and find a beach to rest up at until I fly back to Barcelona to begin hiking the Pyrenees with Ryan.
I plan to write everyday on the Gr20, but wifi is limited I’m sure so I will probably not be able to update the blog for a week. If you think of me in the next week send me some healing vibes and positive energy! Thanks for reading and sending the love. I feel it. 💜