Day 17 of the Touch with Good challenge
One of the best parts of working as a designer is I get the privilege to be involved with amazing inspiring people and bring their ideas into vision.
Such an example was my lovely friend Katya Georgieva and her project Touch with Good/ kindness (originally in Bulgarian: Докосни с добро). The project is dedicated to sharing the stories of genuine acts of kindness we have experienced from other people, and thus inspiring for MORE kindness in the world and making it a better place.
She got inspiration from the wisdom:
When you do kindness, keep silent. When you receive kindness — tell everyone.
With the new year 2018 Katya started a viral challenge to share such stories 20 days in a row, and somehow… I got “infected”.
So here is my
Day 17 of the Touch with Good challenge
This is the last day on the Touch with Good challenge that I am dedicating to el Camino de Santiago. Today I shall talk of “accidental” meetings. Of the reminder we’re all connected.
I was on the next day walking the Way and I had already gone through the 3-day adaptation period. I had acquired a “staff” for the sake of being cool, as I couldn’t resist the Gandalfish design. The first several minutes I cursed my vanity bringing me to the availability of an extra piece of luggage to carry around. Not only did it occupy one of my hands but to top it off, I also wasn’t accustomed to using it. However, after some nagging to myself mentally, I decided to give a try walking with it. And — oh, holy miracle! — as if with a magic wand the pressure on my feet was instantly relieved! Before too long I was rapping in step with complacency, while advancing on the Way.
The pain in the feet had become something normal but it was there only in moments when you stopped walking. That’s why I sustained a moderate steady pace, as I was moving on the sunny pathways.
The next village to which the yellow arrow with the shell led me was perfect deadness! Not a living soul was to be seen! It was not accidental — it was siesta time. I was planning of quickly passing through it when my attention was grabbed by a colourful little house with open windows and a large sign reading FREE HUGS ❤
The open door invited me in and I found myself in front of a tall impressive lad with a strong tan, long hair and beard, and a soft gaze in which a smile was seen. You could easily mistake him for Christ in some modern shape of his. Besides him there were 2 girls and another shorter and slightly older guy with a similar hairstyle.
I grinned towards them.
“Hello!” I greeted in English, “Can I have a free hug?”
“Of course!” the girls and the shorter guy replied cheerfully, as they greeted me with a hug. Only “Christ” stood by observing the scene with a friendly smile.
“What about you?” — I addressed him directly — “Won’t you give me a hug?”
“Well, I… I am not from the staff.”
“So what? Can’t you give me a hug?”
“Of course I can.”, he replied quickly.
So the situation was solved and I joined the jolly fellows. This was one of the “donativo” places you come across on the Way.
It turned out “Jesus” was also a caminando, his name was Marlon, and against all logic he came from Germany!!! Besides he was also a raw vegan, founder of the YouTube channel Raw Future where he shares unique raw vegan recipes. He had prepared some of the food we were invited to share. I left a bag of fresh cherries I had bought an hour or so earlier.
After the brunch Marlon and I continued ahead. He was carrying a tent and he preferred sleeping in it but we were entering a mountainous region with the air turning foggy and the night promising to be quite damp and cold. We had the intention of spending the night in a room around O’ Cebreiro but… all vacancies were already filled in. Until we reached the next village it was too late and all accommodation was closed.
And then… Marlon pitched his tent; we shuffled on as many clothes as possible and we got fixed in it for the night. The following day we walked together but the morning after I did not feel fit for a faster pace and we both agreed for him to move forward. Everyone was on their own Camino…
The farewell impacted me emotionally for I thought I would no longer see him. But the Way soon caressed me gently in its arms and I returned in the beauty of the present moment. I had decided the next lodging for the night to be in Portomarin and I was leisurely making my way towards it.
I arrived around 6 in the afternoon and the town was already overflowing with people. I managed to get the last but one bed in the very last albergue I was pointed to after “hunting” the whole place. After refreshing myself I left for a photo shoot session of the Angel charms I had taken with me to be charged with Camino vibes.
I fancied the church for background. I positioned myself and I took the picture you see here.
I didn’t particularly like the shot so I decided to take another spot. I turned around and… less than a 2-span distance away from me, smiling, there stood Marlon!!!! It was a moment of genuine, sincere and strong joy, which can hardly be put into words. Simultaneously and spontaneously we gave each other a strong hug and neither of us had to urge the other.
Till the end of the journey Marlon and I continued running into each other “completely accidentally” without an appointed schedule or a meeting place. We had a snack, we spent some time chatting, and finally we parted with a conspiratorial smile and the words “I’ll be seeing you again”. This was not a promise. This was Trust.
We even met in the web of crooked and narrow streets in the overflowing and swarming with people Santiago de Compostela. Marlon greeted me with the words:
“At last! I’ve been looking everywhere for you!”
From Santiago Marlon took the flight to Germany. I walked separately all the way to Finisterre but on the whole way I continued receiving minor “winks” reminding me that even though we had parted, we remained connected.
For all my friends and Marlon’s friends who are reading this: Don’t be jealous! Join us on El Camino de Santiago next time, and… who knows, we may yet again bump into Marlon 😉
Visit Meg at JustHowCoolIsThat.com