From the final email update, June 7th:
dear family and friends,
i hope you are well, and smiling, and excited for the coming of summer.
this email will be short — partly out of embarrassment at the ridiculous length of the last one, and partly because, well, what i got to say is pretty simple.
first of all, the 25-day, 700-kilometer walking pilgrimage i made across spain last month reinforced, among other things (including calf muscles — with which i could now easily heel-kick all four noses off mount rushmore), my tremendous gratitude for the love of folks like you. i don’t know what i did in past lives to deserve such great people in this one, but whatever it was, it must have been good. like, mother-teresa-type good. or nina-simone-type good. in any case, every stunningly beautiful experience i had — every charming plaza and thrumming cathedral and cheerful bloodbath of red wildflowers; every peaceful moment alone and every joyful moment with others — i owe in part to you. i owe it to you because i can only see such beauty when i feel very beautiful, and i can only feel that beautiful when i understand myself as a composite of the people i love.
i think this would be my number-one travel tip, so far: be very, very loving, and you will have a great time. seriously, friends — every day for almost a month, i looked around me and thought to myself, Oh, so i am in heaven now. So this is heaven. Yep, heaven, there it is again — good ol’ heaven. keep walking.
understand how much strength i drew from you: even on the painful days, with killer blisters, i did not suffer even a little bit. instead, i wrote a poem. (well, “wrote” isn’t exactly how it happened: i’ve never written a poem in my life — this one just sort of snuck by me.) dedicated to josé, whose own pilgrimage of 30-days-30-poems inspired me so much during my walk; and to aunt linda, a real poet in the family. it goes like this (folks who already saw it on facebook, say it with me!):
When sore feet hobble you, smile!
Those who limp in rhythm also dance.
now that the walking/limping/dancing is done, i’m back in barcelona living with friends and taking stock for a second. the meaning of my travels in spain is beginning to shift, and i’m excited to see where it will lead in the next months. meanwhile, now that the arrival of my laptop has liberated me from costly and dungeon-like internet cafes, i’ll be sharing news of my whereabouts (and why- and how-abouts) on my soon-to-be-resurrected blog, kloncke.wordpress.com. so yep, no more kooky emails. from now on, it’s an opt-in system: if you feel like seeing what i’ve been up to, just check out the blog. if not, no worries. your inbox will be left unmolested.
thank you so much to all of you who’ve taken the time to write me, to send me letters and lovely, lightweight presents, and to simply wish me luck. you continue to sabotage my coolness credentials, since everyone knows it’s impossible to be cool when you are constantly smiling. what can i say? i am happy. my mom says she thinks this is the happiest i’ve been in my whole life. apparently, you can even hear it in my voice.
please keep me posted on your journeys, too — whether or not they involve world travel.
all my love
and then some,
p.s. sorry, no pictures from the camino (yet). being that every unnecessary possession in my backback was quite literally a burden, i elected not to bring my camera. i did take a few pictures on my cell phone, but i don’t know (a) whether i’ll be able to upload them to a computer, or (b) whether they’ll turn out any good at all. so no fotos, for now. which, frankly, is no big loss, since using pictures to represent the Camino would be like using pictures to represent. . .well, heaven. :->) there’s really no way to convey the experience, you know? if i do manage to extract the goods from the mobile, i’ll post them blogside. ciao! :)
Your poem is beautiful. Thank you so much.
un abrazo desde nueva york,