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Matthew Price is hiking the Camino de Santiago for TSP

Mateo

Matthew Price

Trail: Camino de Santiago     Goal: 500 Miles
Dates: Aug 29 2017 - Oct 11 2017
I am walking my first Camino after 35.9 years of life, 8 years of supporting medical training, 6 years of marriage, 3.5 years of parenting, 2 years of graduate school, and not enough time to free my mind. I am walking for The Solidarity Project, ... more
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25

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$2865.00

500

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The Solidarity Project supports Honduran leaders who create positive social change for their communities and cultivates transnational partnerships built on trust, equality, and solidarity.
Journal
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10 Realizations from the Camino

Seattle :) - Mile 500 - Oct 12th, 2017

1. I love my body...lankiness and all. Sure, I could follow my doctor's recommendation and spend time at the gym adding some muscle to minimize future injury but, man, am I grateful for the temple I have been given! It served me well for these 500 miles, and I even enjoyed having to take care of it on a daily basis, wrapping pinky toes, eating bananas (aka suffering) to provide appropriate nourishment, and listening to it when it told me enough was enough. Rarely have I been so in tune with what my body needed and what it was telling me, and what I realized was that I have a pretty good thing going on.
2. Retreat! Not the fleeing kind, but the solitude, breathe, and reflect kind. It may have been over 15 years since my last retreat, and while they were beneficial in high school and college, they still are today, too! I don't think I will need to take four-week retreats in the future, but setting aside an annual weekend to recharge, is definitely going on the 2018 calendar.
3. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Like all couples who move to a new place, start and finish grad school & residency, and have a child, the last three years were taxing on my relationship with Jess. Part of what I hoped would happen as a result of the Camino is that I would return a better husband and father. Well, I read Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning (thanks, Rachel) and he believes meaning can come from work/career, loving relationships, and suffering. Anyone who has followed my work path knows there is no semblance of anything that could be considered a career, and besides those damn bananas, there is a dearth of suffering in my life. So, I return to Jess and Kadence with a greater sense of identity as a loving husband and father with the challenge to embrace and invest more time and energy in those roles.
4. I need to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap (into new things). I realized that I often get too far into researching something before I take outward action. By the time I am ready to take action, the type of action I want to do I am either not qualified for or no one wants to take the risk to have me on board. I was thinking about this in regards to the Carbon Tax Initiative in Washington. I followed a bill that was introduced to the state legislature last session. It was meant to serve as a point of dialogue to receive feedback on the idea as the coalition is confident that the best chance to create a carbon tax is a ballot initiative. After learning way more about cap and trade systems vs a carbon tax than was required for my grad school assignment, I feel excited to help the cause, however, the current call for volunteers is for working to get signatures. I want to be involved in negotiations with various interest groups who think they should be exempt from a tax and with energy companies that think they should receive some of the revenue to reduce carbon emissions on their end. We will see what they let me do :) Either way, I realize it is often the case that I need to be so secure in my understanding of how something works before I want to engage. Now, I want to trust my gut more and engage earlier when my excitement is high and my ability to contribute is at its peak.
5. I love to laugh. I realized that one characteristic I admire most about some of my friends is their ability to make me laugh. There were multiple times where some of my Camino friends would laugh and laugh, banter a bit, crack a joke, make a witty comment and just laugh. It reminded me of some of my favorite memories of home around the dinner table just laughing with my parents and siblings. Sure, the humor was sometimes poking fun (sorry dad) but there has certainly been an absence of humor in my day-to-day life. Kadence is hilarious and I am optimistic that she will continue to develop a sense of humor that continues to bring light and laughter to the home.
6. I am far from perfect. Not that this is a new realization, but quite evident after the Camino. The main example that stands out is also one of my two most embarrassing memories of the Camino. The day before said event took place, Stephen (an Anglican priest from the UK), and Bauke (the only male peer on the Camino that I met who hails from the Netherlands - love the Danish!) were discussing the Queen's song Fat Bottom Girls. The next morning we were walking along a busy stretch of road with my new pilgrims. I was looking at something over my shoulder when Bauke, from ahead, asked what the name of that song was that we were discussing the night before. Being the helpful pilgrim that I was, I quickly responded as I turned to face forward, "Fat Bottom Gir..." and then I realized the error of my response. Bauke, in his subtle humor, was very aware of the song we discussed but was using it to reference the rotund rump of the woman whom we were about to pass. As "girls" trickled out of my mouth the head that accompanied the well-developed backside faced us and sharply retorted, "I know you are not talking about me." I spent the next two minutes finding any and all the charm that I could manage as I tried to make peace with the woman (who ended up being very gracious). Needless to say, this incident, along with the aforementioned judging in the previous post reminds me that even in such a contemplative, reflective state, that I have a long way to go to live up to the standards that I ascribe for myself. If nothing else, it is a good reminder to give others grace as they continue to try to live up to their best self.
7. We are more alike than we are different. Because we are so similar most of how we are able to identify ourselves is by claiming our differences. However, if I think we focus on the differences without acknowledging the similarities it creates a healthy imbalance that prevents the possibility of relationship or understanding. I realized this from two particular settings, the first from the physical grind of the Camino. Everyone needs time together, time alone, nourishment/fuel, sleep, care for their aching body, the opportunity to share - particularly struggles, but joys too. The second was when I visited our friend, Marie, in Turkey. I, like many others, immediately acknowledged the differences of this land to my home - a new language, attire, mosques, and minarets. But after just one evening of all the newness, it was easy to acknowledge the similarities - people enjoying magnificent buildings and beautiful views, people working hard to make ends meet, tourists posing for pictures, and selfie sticks - those damn selfie sticks! While it certainly important to draw lines in the sands and know where we stand, if we solely focus on being on opposite side of an issue and fail to connect to our similarities we will continue to be divided...often for the benefit of other people and their agendas.
8. The importance of hospitality. Having been a recipient of varying levels of hospitality over the last four weeks it was a great reminder of how intentional I can or cannot be when welcoming people into my life and home. I have plenty of ways to make people comfortable and to help create a space where people feel loved and appreciated but I do not always take the extra energy to make it a priority. After much modeling of smiling faces and warm greetings, offerings of food and drink, I strongly look forward to hosting you all in our new space. Consider this an open invitation to receive post-Camino hospitality. It was also a glaring reminder of the need to welcome the stranger in our midst. As I was that stranger, I was able to constantly reflect on the current rhetoric in our country of building walls and excluding others. I hope we can be a welcoming nation and I commit to modeling that behavior in my own life.
9. I choose love. One of the traditions of the Camino is to bring a rock from home, carry it two-thirds of the route to Santiago, and leave it at Cruz de Ferro - one of the highest points on the Camino Frances. Kadence was kind enough to send me with a small rock and so I spent the first 20 days mulling over what I would leave behind with that rock at Cruz de Ferro. Ultimately, I chose fear, particularly my fear to love. As I reflected on some of my experiences in life, I realized that I had a lot more love to give than I was currently offering. It was easy to identify the circumstances in life that had hardened my heart and built up a wall of caution within me. With the goal of limiting the pain I would feel if my offering of love were to be rejected or go unmatched, I could keep people at a healthy distance and carefully make small offerings of vulnerability to see if the other person would receive them with care and reciprocate. Now, screw that - life is too short, there is too much love to give and receive to partake in this fear inspired dance. I often marveled at those who create comfortable spaces for others by being vulnerable and hope to continue to model my behavior after those whom I admire. To put myself in a position to choose love, I acknowledged that I would need to change how I view various circumstances where previously I would begin to build the wall of defense. Since that behavior was reactive, I thought I would need a proactive strategy and so I now will try to find God/soul/love/truth in others and connect with that true, pure sense of who they are and what they believe. I am sure I will fail, I will be rejected, and it will suck at times, but I think the rewards of choosing love will far outweigh those minor discomforts.
10. I will always seek. I find myself seeking to understand my circumstances. First relationship with people - their behaviors and the values that inspire decision making. Second how systems function - their design, who benefits and who is left out. Finally, understanding of who I am and why I exist and how I want to engage this brilliant life I have been gifted. I may not always find and at times I will be exhausted for the relentless search to understand. But no longer will I struggle with acceptance, I am a seeker (not the Harry Potter kind - I'm more of a Beater) and I have come to peace with that title and the accompanying uncertainty.
Thank you for accompanying on the Camino. I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to re-center and take the time to listen. I was also extremely touched by the prayers you sent me. The opportunity to carry your sorrows and joys was humbling and greatly influenced my experience. I will follow-up with individual emails to see how each of you are doing.
I look forward to seeing each of you and hope you treat life well until then.
Much love,
Matt

Mateo

Seattle :) - Mile 500 - Oct 12th, 2017

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Happy birthday Lick lick! I'm joining you on your next adventure :) good news about GBR😀 Miss you tons. Be safe. Xoxoxo

Timothy Price

Sep 26 2017 8:30PM

Happy birthday Bro!! Love you!

Dawn McCracken

Sep 26 2017 5:18PM

Birthday Blessings, Matt. Thinking of you in a special way today, with lots of love. UC & AP

Penny Gardner

Sep 26 2017 04:43AM

Happy Birthday Matt! I love reading your story! Thanks for sharing! Peace, blessings (for your feet) and love. TQM, Tia

Nancy Luna

Sep 22 2017 7:55PM

Feast Day Blessings, Mateo! Thanks for your 10 fun/enjoyable things entry, and congratulations on making it to Astorga. I hope you enjoyed your retreat. Uncle Charlie and I just returned from a few days retreat a place called "Light on the Hill". We prayed for you daily (along with all those in pilgrimage), and did so today as we prayed morning prayer together. Thanks for your prayer for us, too. We love you. UC & AP

Penny Gardner

Sep 21 2017 11:10AM

Good morning, Matt. Thanks for sharing your detailed journal entry...AMAZING. Prayerfully, you met your goal of your 2 day silent retreat. Prayers abound for you, step by step, for health and safety and that you are filled with the Fruits of the Holy Spirit as you embark on the second half of your pilgrimage. One fruit in particular that stands out is JOY, which is rooted in God and comes from Him. Joy is much more "serene and stable" than "worldly happiness". (FYI...this was mentioned in Father Hogan's homily many years ago.) May God, our protector and strength, continue to keep you safe and fill you with JOY! 931 forever Dad & Mom 💙💙

Colleen Price

Sep 21 2017 03:06AM

Hi Matt, Sounds like you are having a wonderful journey with God! Will continue to pray for your continued success of good health and safety as you continue to walk with God along this challenge that you have taken on. Take especially care of your feet! Prayerfully, Nancy May

Nancy May

Sep 18 2017 09:56AM

Love the latest entry! Paso a paso! Think of you daily brother 🙏🙏🙏.

Pedro Luna

Sep 18 2017 09:35AM

Hi Matt. Happy Jess's birthday! Thinking of you in a special way today. Wondering where you are. Maybe at Burgos. I pray that your body is letting you continue on this journey in a healthy way. I know you've had several challenges. I too and thinking about your joy questions. That were Joy is kind of a Hallmark for me. Blessings as you continue hiking. I love you!

Penny Gardner

Sep 009 2017 1:10PM

Thanks for sharing stories from your journey, Matt! May the quest for conversation continue! Sending prayers of clarity your way!

Kara Uhl

Sep 009 2017 10:29AM

Loved reading about your journey! Family is my joy!

Nancy Luna

Sep 007 2017 9:07PM

thank you so much for sharing Matt - you are such a talented writer and I look forward to hearing how you explore these great preguntas. Hard to know exactly how to answer the questions but i think i have the most joy when I connect with others and am really present in the moment and am living in a way that really celebrates the core of mine and others humanity.

Jean Baumgardner

Sep 007 2017 8:05PM

Wow beautiful journal entry Mateo. Sending you lots of love and good healing vibes for your feet and legs. My wheels are turning on the 3 joy questions... will keep you posted. Please keep our family in your thoughts as we are expected to be in the path of a major hurricane this weekend. Thinking of you always on this journey. Namaste 🙏

Pedro Luna

Sep 007 2017 6:37PM

Buenos Dias!

I write from the church steps in Grañon. Tonight, I am staying at the parish albergue operated by 3 volunteers who have walked the Camino and want to support the peregrinos on the way. There are 40 or so mats spread out across the floor where we will sleep. If it is like the place I stayed two nights ago the number of people will be low and I will double up the mats. Making dinner starts at 6, mass is at 7, and dinner is at 8. As I sit here, my hand washed clothes soak in the sun and flap in the breeze.

As some of you may know, I quit my job administering the DOJ mentoring grant the day before I left for the camino. One of the thoughts most prevalent on my mind has been what will I do next? To answer this, I have spent many hours contemplating what brings me joy. Since that prompt has yielded little in terms of new insights, I decided to expand my feedback circles beyond myself to other peregrinos. After the obligatory questions of where did you start, where are you from, and how far are you going, I eventually give them the background above and ask them what joy means to them, what brings them joy, and what would others say brings them joy. My hope is that by understanding other people's experience with joy it will give me a fresh perspective.

Of course, the first night I decided to do this I shared a room with two kind Swiss women who didn't speak a lick of English or Spanish. Through hand signals I figured out they worked as Chemists and one had retired Friday. That night, I committed to finding someone to discuss joy. However, the next two days of walking I was either by myself or with a non-native speaker! Patience Mateo, paciencia y fe. Since then, I have had a few exchanges and we all agree that connecting with others is a universal source of joy. So now I have added the emphasis on work/vocation/career.

Today, I walked with Montse, a Mexican doctor who finished additional studies of Palliative care in Barcelona. She indulged my question with answers of what made her happy. I pushed further, inquiring what was the difference between alegria (happiness) and gozo (joy). She said depth and appreciated the distinction. While we reached her destination before she could answer directly, we discussed the importance of service and the hope that one day my calling or vocation will be clear to me. I told her it will probably happen while receiving palliative care. She smiled.

In the meantime, I try to take care of my blisters and attend to a gnarly heat rash which is now accompanied by pinky nail-sized pustules (you are welcome for the visual).

I think of you all daily as I start the day in bed with prayer. This helps me slow down as I am often the first person to wake up.

If you could pray for all those listening for callings or searching for where to serve next, I know a lot of us would appreciate it! And if you feel really bold, use the comments section and take a crack at the three questions - what does joy mean to you? what brings you joy? and what would others say brings you joy?

In gratitude,
Mateo

Matthew Price

Sep 007 2017 07:17AM

Praying...step by step...healing, fortitude, and wisdom to continue to see the world through God's eyes. God bless you and we love you, Matt! Dad & Mom 931

Colleen Price

Sep 005 2017 03:58AM

Your mom sent me a link to a map (not a nap...although that sounds good, too), and your note that you had reached Los Arcos. I copied the map and put it in my prayer space. Thinking of you so often, and now I have a little more sense of where you are! Looks like you are heading into wine country. Enjoy the scenery, the company, and may you have all the quiet you need. Con carino...

Penny Gardner

Sep 004 2017 2:12PM

What a great way to spend the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and beginning of the Season of Creation. We will remember all of you in our prayer service for the World Day of Prayer at St. Norbert Abbey (De Pere, WI) later today.

Steve Herro

Sep 001 2017 09:15AM

Thanks for the update, Matt. So did you start at Mile 1? Wish l had a nap of your route. May try to find it with the clues you have given.Hope you have (had?)a good nap, and your big toe lets you continue your trek soon. ♡

Penny Gardner

Sep 001 2017 07:37AM

Thinking of you and hope you arrived safely! Sending lots of love! Happy hiking! Love, Sis, Bry, & the Boopie Brothers

Dawn McCracken

Aug 29 2017 6:29PM

Just thinking of you as you arrive in France....whenever that is in EST. Trying to imagine all you will see crossing the Pyrenees and all along the pilgrim route. I look forward to your journal entries.
Love, Pej (U.C., too)

Penny Gardner

Aug 29 2017 2:16PM

Que las ansias de tu corazón sean llenados por medio de este santo peregrinación. Estamos contigo en oración y cariño. ~ Penny y Charlie

Penny Gardner

Aug 28 2017 05:20AM

Praying for you step by step, Matt! Love you!!
Dad & Mom

Colleen Price

Aug 27 2017 6:45PM

Have a good hike! Chip, Angela, Lucy, Isla

Chip Holloway

Aug 20 2017 07:35AM

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