Over the last month or so I have been reading Le Camino Seule, ou enfin presque and it is one of my favourite hiking books. It might simply be because it was written in French, by a french woman rather than in English by Brits or Americans but it made me feel more than other books. She often references Sylvain Tesson’s book Forêt de Sibérie, a book I read a few years ago.
I like the book because it’s about leaving life behind for 38 days to do a walk, to find herself, only to find that she doesn’t find herself, and that she has more questions than answers by the end of it. I like that it goes from location to location and day by day. I like the meetings that she speaks about, the people, the situations and more. I also like that she has choices to make, whether to walk the normal route, or to take the Primitivo.
When she spoke about the Camino Norte and Français I didn’t feel a desire to go for a walk but when she spoke of the Primitivo this is the part of the Camino that I would consider. It sounds more like the walking I am used to. Through mountains, clouds, remote villages and more.
I read this book during the solitude of a two year pandemic, where there is no end in sight. The people I have met during walks were pleasant and interesting to spend time with. It would be nice to go on such a trip, and to spend time with a community of people while doing something enjoyable like walking. It’s what I miss most from pre-pandemic life.
If you read this when the pandemic is over you will not understand. Pandemics are a moment where we can socialise, if we want to take a silly risk, or we can self-isolate to stay safe. I choose safety, but safety is solitude. When the pandemic ends I want to go on such walks, to spend time with people once again.