It’s been almost a month since the shuttle at LAX whisked us away after twelve plus hours in the air and three hours perspiring in a serpentine queue winding its way through Customs at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. Aurora and I have decided to give up travel…at least for the next few months.
Although this second Camino, the Portuguese Coastal, was but a fraction of the length and duration of our 2018 Camino Frances, it was challenging in other respects. Each of the six stages leading to Santiago de Compostela was no shorter than 12 miles and as long as 18 miles (the final kick in the ass stage). Aurora and I like to believe we are in good shape but age does play an ignoble role in the process. For me, the disintegration of my body commenced as I was crossing the modern bridge in Pontevedra–the left calf muscle quit on me as if a rubber band had snapped and I ended up limping the final three stages. Injuries are like cascading dominoes–the calf muscle goes, you start favoring one leg over another, putting more pressure on the other leg. Now I’m feeling a blister coming on; my uneven hips tilting ever so much letting me know the back is stressing badly. Rory bravely and gamely fought through considerable knee pain during the next to last stage, Caldas de reis to Padron. How she lasted through that stage is anyone’s guess. The following day she had to suit up all over again and stare down the final stage–all 18 miles of it. I’m married to a saint!
If you’ve made it this far, you might be thinking our second Camino was a disappointment. Quite the contrary. We feasted on panoramic coastal views, engaged with wonderful pilgrims both vaccinated and not, successfully marketed my book It’s Your Camino on the Way of Saint James and in Madrid, celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and reunited with Aurora’s four sisters (Caroll, Susan, Nancy and Girlie) and two of their husbands (Jean Luc and Mike) in Santiago, all the while rising to the Camino challenge each day.
So now that we’re back from our Pilgrimage, what’s next? The answer: PLENTY! That’s right–the FBI Review Unit is finally getting around to finish their vetting of my second book, a law enforcement memoir called FEDS: From Silence of the Lambs to the Castro Brothers. We’re now going back and forth trying to answer their queries and hoping the book will not come back too heavily redacted. Once that’s done, I can work closely with my editor hoping to obtain a Foreword and Cover Quotes from people like international journalist and author Sebastian Rotella and former Congressmen Newt Gingrich and Trey Gowdy.
In the meantime, I’m on to a third book Land Of Sand, another memoir, this one of my five years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It’s coming along just fine which means I’m consistently allotting the time and effort to research and write about my experience as an English teacher at a school for the Royal Family. Kind of like The King and I except mine could be named The Princes and I. As one chapter follows the next, I am astounded to recall I worked and lived in the precariously unstable Middle East living through the Siege of Mecca, the taking of the US Embassy hostages in Teheran and the torching of the US Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, all of these events taking place during my first two months in Saudi Arabia!
Waiting patiently for my PI practice in LA was a titillating fraud case which is gathering momentum. Finally, I am heading to Ireland next month in “one last roll of the dice” to discover what happened to my 27-year-old Long Island neighbor, Annie McCarrick, who vanished without a trace in Dublin in February 1993. I pray that one day I will be able to tell her mother, Nancy, “We found her.”
As if there wasn’t enough on my plate, my social media guy has posited the idea of writing another book on the Camino. It’s all one big balancing act. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way.