Day 8 Estella – Unexpected Rest Day

My day didn’t go as planned, but sometimes those are the best ones, eh!

Today I “slept in” (which has a whole new meaning now) and got up around8:30 AMM. I got up so late because I was planning on heading to the Decathlon at 9 AM right when they opened. I knew this was the only Decathlon I would encounter until Logroño, and I urgently needed a few things!

The plan was to go to the store at the opening and hit the trail straight from there, and walk all the way to Los Arcos or Villamayor de Monjardin (if my body couldn’t make it to Los Arcos.) 

But none of that ended up happening! 😂

Fate unfolded the next series of events in such a gentle and gradual manner.

That morning I went downstairs to the cafe, and I planned on getting breakfast. Well, I planned on getting boiling hot water to make my oatmeal. I ran out of instant oats and wanted to see if regular oatmeal (avena) would suffice if mixed with hot water. It turned out well!!! I ordered a coffee and devoured a huge glass of oatmeal with lots of sugar, banana, and a splash of milk. 

It felt like a well-rounded meal because I was just so over only eating coffee and bread for breakfast. 

The hostel where I stayed was right next to the cafe, and the cafe had outdoor seating overlooking the square with a fountain. It was a nice morning, so I took a table and enjoyed my breakfast on the square, and relaxed before my walk. 

Wow, and did I relax.

I sat there overlooking the square and observed the locals live their daily life. I was overwhelmed with this enormous sense of peace. And ease…

It’s the calmest I felt since I started this walk. 

As if I was holding my breath and exhale from deep within my gut. The minutes passed, and I was releasing so much tension. What I’ve always observed about European culture (as an American from NYC) is the ability to enjoy daily acts of leisure. The long breakfasts, the long lunch breaks, the terraces, the siestas, the weekend adventures in nature, etc… 

I felt all the benefits of this slower pace of life at that moment. I remember thinking, “oh, this is what I haven’t had a chance to really do.  To be still.”

I came on this Camino for many reasons: to walk, to experience solitude, daily introspection, and a few others. I didn’t intend to feel stressed daily from the idea that there was a race to finish line. At some point, I took on that burden. For me and where I am at right now, I truly have the time and resources to take it slow. 

As I sat there basking in the sun, I didn’t want to leave. It was like a blanket wrapped around me and was trying to keep me affixed to the chair. 

The idea of getting up because I felt “I had to” gave me anxiety, and the thought of walking didn’t make me feel joy. I had a conversation with my boyfriend, and he was just like, “maybe you should just stay. Just stay in Estella for a day. Why not?”

And it clicked; I should just stay! 

He continued and said, “you can go to the Decathlon later in the day, have lunch again outside, you can spend time in the square, you can walk around and take pictures, you could nap, and you can heal and rest up.”

I still felt a lot of resistance, and it was because I didn’t want to lose a booking that I had booked in Los Arcos. I put so many days prior to leaving in planning out my itinerary and reserving spots. 

However, I realized it was either stick to my schedule or remove that expectation and afterward feel free. 

I decided to go with feeling free!

Maybe I made the mistake of planning too much ahead of time. However, planning is what got me on the plane and allowed me to feel safe embarking on this adventure. Yet, now that’s I’ve arrived and lived this experience, much has changed. 

From this point on, I plan on going more with the flow and listening to my body. 

I have a whole bunch of bookings for the last quarter of the trip that I want to try to keep because I was excited to stay at those places, but I need to see what my body can do daily.

And that’s how I decided to stay in Estella for another rest day!

I read all day. 

I walked around. 

I stretched.

I ate. 

I was still.

And it was exactly what I needed.

I did go to Decathlon. I bought new insoles for my shoes, hiking poles, and a much-needed carabiner. For the first time since I started this trip, I didn’t feel rushed to start the next stage. I felt like I had all the time in the world, which I do! In this situation, there is no failure in making changes and slowing down. And I’m lucky for that, so I’m going to start taking advantage of it!

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