Busted Halo

Rebecca Gallo is walking the 480-mile pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago despite, or maybe because of, the doubts she has about faith. Journey with her along this ancient path.

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June 15th, 2012

The Hidden Benefit of a Late Start


Rebecca Gallo on the Camino.

I am due to arrive in Santiago on Saturday — a full three days ahead of schedule. I’m eager to get to my destination, but more excited about my early arrival because it means I can spend two nights at Casa do Raposito — a place of reflection for pilgrims who have just finished their Camino.

When I started the Camino 35 days ago, I didn’t know such a place even existed. I heard about it only thanks to someone I met on what I thought would be a terrible day.

I had stayed the previous night at a parish hostel in Berciamos. Sixty people sat at a long line of tables to share a community meal. After dinner, pilgrims from each country sang a song from their homeland. This took nearly an hour as we had 14 countries represented. Twenty pilgrims opted to join in the blessing and prayer offered in the meditation room before we went to bed. While there, we passed around a candle that had been through the hands of thousands of pilgrims before us. When it came to us, we could say whatever we wanted in whatever language, or say something only in the silence of our hearts. I thanked God for my journey thus far and asked for blessings on all those who asked that I pray for them and all who have touched my life. After watching the sunset (around 10:30 p.m. here in Spain), we all went to bed.

Dinner for 60 in Berciamos.

The next morning I looked down from my perch on the top bunk in the corner of the room. Panic set in as I saw that all 11 pilgrims who had been my roommates the night before were now gone. I looked at my cell phone: 7:15 a.m. This was the latest I had ever woken up on my Camino. My ear plugs — normally used to combat the snorers in the room — had helped me to not hear a single thing as 11 other people rolled out of bed, packed their sleeping bags, stuffed their clothes into plastic bags, zippered their packs, and heaved them on their shoulders to head out onto the Camino. It was going to be near 90 degrees that day and most other pilgrims decided to get on the road early in the morning so as to be at their destination before the heat set in. I, due to my late wake up time, would now be walking most of the day in that heat.

I tried to go through my morning routine of stretching and writing, but was too anxious about being so delayed. Instead, I packed up and headed downstairs to have some breakfast trying to calm my nerves by telling myself that there was certainly some reason I was meant to leave later.

I went into the kitchen to fill my water bottle. It was there that I got to chat with one of the hospitalerios. Hopitalerios are people who, after having completed at least one Camino, come back to volunteer at places such as this for two weeks. In this case, the hospitalerio was from Canada. She and I talked about my anxiety about my late start, about the road ahead, and about what life was like post-Camino. It was then that she told me about Casa do Raposito. I Googled it a few days later. It sounded idyllic. A place to relax, reflect, write, read, fish, or whatever else I wanted to do. I could stay in a bed with sheets — and I could stay in the same bed for more than one night. The owner is a therapist, and I can even use her services if I choose to. And she offers all of this donativo meaning you pay what you can.

I spoke with the owner today and reserved my spot. I’m not sure why it is that I’m more excited about my stay there than about my arrival in Santiago. Perhaps it’s because I’m not a fan of big cities. Or because I’ve heard about the lines to get into the noon mass, the lines to get my credential, the hordes of tourists in Santiago. I’m doing my best to remember to just take each moment as it comes. I will arrive in Santiago and have my experience there — whatever it will be. Then, on Sunday, I will head to Casa do Raposito to reflect on all that has happened in the last 38 days.

The Author : Rebecca Gallo
Since 2012, Rebecca Gallo has walked the Camino de Santiago three times -- twice on a strict budget, and a third time traveling a little more luxuriously (private rooms with sheets instead of hostels with a sleeping bag). She enjoyed sharing her first journey and subsequent reflections with Busted Halo readers. Other tales of her adventures can be found at RenaissanceRebecca.com.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Kevin

    I saw the film on an international flhgit about a month ago. I think it’s a great insight into the variety of reasons a person may choose to make this journey, and the possibility of relationships and insights that can come of it. I love the gracious acts of hospitality, encouragement and warmth the Walters are attempting to share. I’m sure many will be touched by it. What a great idea for helping the travelers process their experience.

  • Patricia

    Thank you Rebecca for taking time to document your journey, you are truly an ispiration! May you continue to write and share your passions God’s blessing always. Patricia

  • Jane K

    Rebecca- I have read your reflections along the way and I must say that your wisdom and introspective nature for one so young- is truly inspiring. I am excited for the life you have waiting for you….surely God has great plans for you. Listen to Him…and follow in his ways always. Thank you for sharing your personal journey with so many of us. May God Bless you always with Peace and goodness in your life. Jane

  • Sister Mary Ann

    Rebecca, we missed you at Quonnie… but prayed for and with you…..will also remember you during your reflection time..
    A Friend of Saint Marguerite.

  • RenegadePilgrim

    Hospitaleros…not hospitalerios…and I am glad you found out about Tracy Saunder’s place in Muxia…I plan to stop by there in the fall after my Camino Portuguese…

  • madeline labriola

    Been following your footsteps and love your posts. I thank you for sharing so much of your heart along the way. You continue to be an inspiration to me.
    I hope we get to see you when you get home. God bless and keep you as you journey home.
    Love and peace

  • Yvonne

    Bravo Rebecca! So beautiful your awareness of the perfection inherent in each moment. I am thankful to hear of your journey and am inspired! Thank you, and may you feel complete loving oneness with all that is as you finish your trek along the Camino!

  • Mike

    I have enjoyed walking with you. I finished my Camino six weeks ago and truly miss the authenticity of the road to Santiago.

    I walked with several who were making their multiple Camino. At that time I did not understand; but now I do as I am addicted and plan to return in 2013!

    Let us know if you are returning

  • Mary Ann

    Will pray that your stay at the Casa bears much fruit Rebecca. Please pray for the Cursillo in Christianity when you reach Santiago as we too have come far on our Camino(70-years). Our movement was born on the Camino and God continues to draw us back symbolically to this road. Tonight (Friday) the leaders in our movement will watch the movie “The Way” and reflect as you will at St. James….its all about the journey! It has been a blessing to travel along with you. May God grant you the answers to all your questions and the peace of heart and mind found only in the Person of Jesus Christ.

  • Pat

    thank you for your contemplation today!

  • Deacon Bob Davis

    I continue to be thankful for your reflections, Becky. They’re always thoughtful and speak from the heart.
    Pray for all of us fathers this weekend!

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