Here’s What I Found While Walking

My Park | Photo by Author

Lockdown

My last flight landed the day the lockdowns began. I watched airport security close the gates behind me as I stepped off the jetway. 2019 had been a good year for travel. I had added six new countries to my growing list. 2020 was promising. I had four new countries lined up in the first six months. But the moment I landed in Newark, I knew that everything was about to change.

A few weeks into the pandemic, I was beginning to lose my mind. I was stressed out like never before. What bothered me most was not the threat…


Here is my simple setup for capturing ideas

I was trying to pick a cantaloupe. Does anyone really know how to do that? If so, please leave me a comment. Anyway, there I was, standing in the aisle of my local grocery squeezing melons with abandon when I miscalculated the structural integrity of the stack. A single cantaloup rolled down the pile and fell to the floor with a sickening thud.

That sound. My mind flashed. I was no longer in the produce aisle. I was standing in the window of a cheap hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It had just finished raining and the rising mist from…


Photo by Victor B. on Unsplash

”Men have become tools of their tools”

Henry David Thoreau

An unexpected day off from the day-job was a rare occurrence. So, my mind ran wild with possibilities. Eight hours of writing and reading were exactly what I wanted to do. Those were the activities I dreamed about while chained to my desk under the hypnotic hum of fluorescent lighting and the constant din of ringing phones.

I grabbed my backpack and began assembling my tools. Writing at home was fine, but not on a play day such as this. Unexpected graces are the seeds of adventure and I wasn’t…


I hated that bedroom.

I riffled the pages in my hand and held the book close to my face. A soft breeze blew the scent of paper and ink into my nostrils. Outside a summer thunderstorm was brewing. The air was sticky. There was no reason I was drawn to this particular book. The cover was black. The title was hot pink. It looked like every other paperback on the shelves in 1990. I had heard of the author, but never read him. I was fourteen.

Several hours later, in the frozen recesses of my basement bedroom, I finished the book. It was the…


From Last Time: “This time, we were sure we would see one another again. So, we didn’t say, “goodbye.”

”Happiness, / Not in another place / But this place… / Not for another / Hour, but this hour.”

Walt Whitman

Extra Rest

We were closer to Santiago than expected. I looked at the map the night before and we had decided to sleep in, skip breakfast, and head out a little later than usual. The extra hour of rest was luxurious.

My legs had finally adjusted. It was the last day of my Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage, but the first day I…


The next day, we would make a major push to Santiago. If we did well, we would have an easy approach the following day. Neither of us could have known how interesting that day would be. It taught me some of the biggest lessons I have ever learned and they all came from a meeting I never expected.

I couldn’t wait to leave our albergue. I didn’t like the town. It felt too…modern. I longed to get back to the medieval villages of Galicia. We packed and were on our way. …


Phillip, my Father, and I pose for a photo before parting ways.

“If I have learned anything, so far, on the Camino, it is that the road goes ever on. There is always more trouble, but also more beauty. All of the pilgrims — like all of humanity — flow like a river, ever toward some future place where all of them hope to find something, but where none of them really know what to expect.”

I journaled for over an hour and consumed at least three too many cups of espresso. The sun in Spain seems to linger far longer than I was used to. …


Galicia is gorgeous!

From the last installment: “I hadn’t expected to meet so many people on my first day. It was a wonderful experience. The next day, however, I would make new friends. Friends that will stick with me until the end.”

Morning

Our room was at the back of the building, inches from another building.

One small window let in so little light, we didn’t even know it was morning. My watch alarm woke me from a deep and dreamless sleep. The previous day’s walk had made my body sore in all new places. …


Dad and I on the Way

There is no telling just who you will meet along the Camino de Santiago. I was lucky enough to walk, for a time, with the man who brought the Way to the world. I also met three others who brought the world to the Way.

Many Meetings Along the Way

Cobblestone streets gave way to a small trail, beside a brook, that climbed steeply out of Sarria. Hundreds of Pilgrims filled the trail and many approached the climb with consternation. The congestion of this first climb was surprising. The air was thick with morning mist and the breath of hundreds of pilgrims, all speaking different…

Matt J Maszczak

A dreamer of the day, a writer, and a wanderer.

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