Dear Britton.

I am in Arkansas camping for the next three weeks. The first two weeks I am solo. Grandmother will be joining me for the last week. I hope to use this time to do some mountain hiking in preparation for what we will encounter in Spain. I also find that the solitary time puts me better in touch with my thoughts.

The view from Magazine Mountain, the highest point in Arkansas.

It occurred to me that I should try to reflect on our coming Camino as I might have when I was 15 years old. Perhaps then I can better anticipate your excitement… and more importantly, your anxieties.

The world of a 15-year-old consists almost entirely of school, friends, extracurricular activities, and family. The world of a 72-year-old is immensely broader.

The Camino is a walking meditation. During the periods of silence our thoughts are necessarily drawn in different directions. Mine will likely find focus on where I am and where I have been on life’s journey. You may find your thoughts drawn to where you are and what the future may hold for you.

It occurs to me that my 15-year-old self might have been concerned about what I would miss during the coming summer. No summer job, no time with friends, no time with my siblings, and of course, no time with mom. I recently heard this referred to as FOMO, the fear of missing out.

Switching to my 72-year-old brain I ask you to take what I say as a matter of faith: If you were to spend this summer in Kansas City it would be just another summer, hardly distinguishable from any other. However, our weeks together on the Camino de Santiago, hiking 525 miles across Spain, may forge indelible shared memories that we will both hold dear in our hearts for the rest of our lives.

Peace Britton. Love, Grandpa.

26 thoughts on “FOMO (The Fear of Missing Out)

  1. Excellent thought, Peter, of transporting yourself to 15 so your 15 years old grandson starts to infuse his own thoughts wider. I started to walk with my 11 and 13 years old grandchildren last year, the English part of the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Dover, a test of their like and ability. Very positive outcome. Then we walked last month together again on the Camino Ingles during their one week March break. Fantastic and memorable. They received their first Compostela in Santiago. It is not the paper that matters, it’s the journey with you that counts. A valuable legacy that my granddaughter Aila had expressed, “let’s walk all the way to Rome.” I almost cried when I read that in her thank-you card to me after. I believe she will one day. I am so excited to follow your upcoming pilgrimage with Britton. What a journey it will be for you and him, but also for your whole family. Just love it. Buen Camino.

  2. What an incredible gift you BOTH are going to receive on this trip – no matter how far you walk. I am so incredibly happy for you and your Grandson Britton – that you have this wonderful opportunity ahead of you. So good that you are trying to put yourself in your Grandson shoes BEFORE you take the first step. Be yourself; fluid, patient, knowledgeable and open – THAT alone is a great lesson for Britton. Buen Camino to you both!

  3. Just be extra careful tearing up your mountain adventure so you don’t injure yourself and cheat you and (more importantly) your grandson out of a great memory.

  4. Springtime in the Ozarks. Trees leafing, fresh smell of grass and daffodils, brisk mornings and pleasant afternoons and especially Ticks. I’ve already had my first one crawling on me this year. Be careful and use your spray.
    Peace in the woods is the meaning of peacefulness.

  5. Wow, beautiful pics and wonderful thoughts! I look forward to reading more of this adventure AND the great Buen Camino walk of a lifetime!

  6. Charlie Murphy says:

    “Walking in another person’s shoes” is always a healthy exercise. 🙂
    May the weeks away be nourishing to you.

  7. “I too have had that nagging anxiety.” That’s no way to talk about Christine, Pete! 🙂

    “Walking in another person’s shoes” is always a healthy exercise. Not if they don’t fit! But I’ve heard it said that, before you criticise somebody, you should walk a mile in their shoes. Then, think about it, you have a one-mile head start, and you’ve got their shoes! 🙂

    • Hi Randy. Arkansas is a hidden gem! I am currently at Mount Nebo State Park, which is 1800 feet above sea level and the second highest state park in their system. The hiking here is spectacular. Check it out online! Be well, my friend.

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