“Do more of what makes you happy” was written with colorful chalk on a board inside the “Start Fresh Cafe” in Oceanside. Sitting there with my fellow California Mission Walkers made me realize that walking and spending time with such an amazing group was making it possible to fulfill that phrase. It was a moment where one feels at the right time, in the right place, completely content and in unison with life.

I decided to do this walk as training for my 2017 version of El Camino de Santiago. I’ve never done more than one full day’s walk, and was hoping to be in some decent shape to visit the three missions and reach our group’s goal. I was focusing more on the practical aspect of completing the walk, but the week’s experience touched my heart in so many unexpected ways.

It started by being a recipient of the generosity that Butch, Steven, Joyce, and Sandy shared. Then there was the richness of spending time with kindred spirits, then the jokes and laughs. How off-of-the-charts rewarding a shower can feel, witnessing a double rainbow after a rainy day, having a tablecloth and cut watermelon at a campground, learning about oneself while traveling, walking with open sandals, the kindness of strangers, being received by a warm-hearted group of mission docents, a thousand more details that can’t be mentioned here.

It is incredible what life brings while one is walking, we all carry so much, can give and receive so much. Namaste to my walking fellows, it was precious to spend time with you.

Luz M.

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