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Day 19: You’ll never walk alone

Learning not to fear togetherness (Candace AND Andrew)

Villaviciosa to Gijon

Distance: 18.4 miles (29.6 kilometers)

Total Ascent:  660 meters

Difficulty:  4

Calories Burned: 4,088

Hello friends!  Today’s post is meaningful to both of us, so for the first time in Candrew history, we will be writing this post together!

Before our wedding and in a conversation with two dear friends, Dave and Paula, we discussed the importance of missing one another and the idea of scheduling time apart.  This time is meant to help one find their inner voice, to help them explore and to remind them of all of the reasons that they miss their significant other.  We sincerely liked the idea, and since we were planning six months of couple time for our honeymoon, we thought that alone time would play an important role.  And so we set a goal:  for every 30 days we spend together, let’s also schedule 10 days apart.

So after spending three weeks of May together in Italy and the first week of June together on the Camino, we set a plan to walk the last third+ of the Camino on two separate paths; Andrew planned on walking the Primitivo which takes an inland route to Santiago while Candace was going to stay along the coastal route we are already walking. It would have meant a 12-day separation before rejoining for the last 50km to our destination.

As we prepared last night and this morning to separate, we got our backpacks in order.  We made sure we each had the supplies we needed for the next two weeks apart.  We talked each other through where we were to meet and what to do if someone became lost or injured.  We were nearly ready to go.

But at breakfast this morning, something was not sitting well with Andrew and over breakfast we explored it a bit.  Candace had originally suggested a split in the spirit of respect of Andrew’s desire for a more arduous hike (the Primitivo) and Andrew agreed out of respect for Candace’s desire to make sure we each have alone time on this trek.  But thinking about it yesterday morning, it seemed like the decision to split was based on trying to meet the other person’s expectations and serve them without sitting down and getting down to what was really important to ourselves.

What was truly important, as we found out, was not the path we chose, but rather that we complete this journey together, and it took Andrew until the minutes before we split up to be able to voice that.  The paths were not that important and he could see himself getting to our destination without having seen each-other for almost two weeks and having that diminish our joint sense of accomplishment for a journey where the togetherness was paramount.

We do still plan on time apart at some point during this honeymoon, but we want to be sure that we are making that decision for the right reasons for us.  And on this Camino, we are finishing together.

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