\ I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends | Christina Brandt

As mentioned in my last post, day five was the longest day of our walk at 24km. To that point, I hadn’t made it above the high teens during any of our walks. I was determined to go the distance, but wasn’t sure I could. Susan decided that she’d spend much of the walk by my side, acting as my “sherpa” and egging me on when I wanted to give up.

The mile markers helped, but after realizing that we were on our own to figure out how far we’d walked (see my last post) I got more and more wobbly. The German marching songs and Broadway show tunes I’d been using to make us laugh and get through the rocky descents weren’t working any more. I was huffing and puffing and quads were screaming at me to stop.

Susan kept bribing me, saying she’d do a headstand in the middle of a road, drop her drawers, and all sorts of other goofy stuff if I’d just finish climbing one more hill. In the middle of a road, next to a suburban office park, she did a headstand. So I tried to keep going. And then I cried.

Finally, I decided that this stupid hill was not going to be the end of me and I just cursed and cursed and yelled and shouted at every person and every thing that ever hurt me or pissed me off. The louder I yelled, the faster I walked. Mission accomplished. Top of hill reached. And we still weren’t finished.

And then I saw a different kind of sign: “Café – 400 meters.” I figured I had 400 meters left in me and then I’d call our driver. No amount of headstands was going to change my mind. The next sign said “Café – 200 meters.” Of course, it was uphill. I sat on a rock and Susan said she’d walk ahead to check things out while I talked to some Spanish bikers who’d stopped for a cigarette break (?).

Next thing I know, Susan, our driver, and the rest of our group was walking down the hill towards me. The café was at our stopping point for the day! I’d walked 23.8 km, and they decided to help me walk the last bit and reach my 24k goal. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to have that group show up for me in such a lovely way. And yes, I made it to the top of that last hill.

So what’s the metaphor/lesson of this particular post? Sometimes the goal’s just a little further than you can see, but it’s there. There’s no shame in stopping and resting, ever. There’s also no shame in asking for help. And man, it’s good to have friends.


  1. Monte de Gozo – “Mountain of Joy” was the name of that last hill. It is the place a pilgrim can spot the Cathedral of Santiago for the first time. Now, that’s what I call a milestone!

  2. chris says:

    It sure was, and it was made even more joyous by the fact that I had your support climbing it!

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