My new plan, or dream, is to ride the Camino de Santiago. I had originally planned to do that last year, in the autumn of 2020, but the pandemic and the closure of the Camino made that plan impossible. I then thought, way back when we all hoped that the pandemic would be over by 2021, to reschedule the ride for spring or summer 2021. That, too, proved impossible. Finally, the European Union announced that its member countries would be reopening borders in June 2021. Hurray! By then I had already returned to riding on a regular basis here in the Houston area. I began searching for horseback Caminos for the autumn.
In a regular year, various outfitters offer many different horseback options. In 2021, with almost no travelers in Spain, outfitters cancelled the great majority of trips. I managed to book one from September 20-26. The new header on this blog shows the route I will taking, basically from near the border with Portugal then heading north to Santiago de Compostela.
I’ll start this new phase of the blog by reviewing developments over the summer.
On Wednesday, November 4th, 2020, I was the featured speaker for a “Meet the Author” event organized by Rice University’s Friends of Fondren Library group. This event had originally been scheduled for last April, but had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. I was thrilled when the Friends group suggested rescheduling the talk in November as a Zoom meeting. I decided not to make the talk solely about my book, since attendees might not know anything about the Camino. I structured the talk into three parts: the Camino and its history, my 2016 Camino pilgrimage, and my book about that pilgrimage. I had about 130 slides to show the audience, with the slides supporting all three sections of the talk. I didn’t know what to expect, and feared a tiny turnout. Instead, more than 200 folks signed up for the event, and 150 actually tuned in to listen. There were more questions than I could answer during the allotted time, and those questions have given me ideas about how to expand my talk even more, focusing on areas I didn’t address on Wednesday night. I’ll probably have to develop a second version of this talk, covering other aspects. The feedback has all been positive, giving me a Camino boost when so much in the world seems gloomy. Eventually I will be able to post a video of this Zoom event.