The Inaugural Dandelion Project
Camino Walkers aka Pilgrims:
Naomi McCarthy -Walked the Camino Frances from St-Jean-Pied-De-Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain
Shirley Daborn - Walked a Camino in daily life in Australia
Truth and Dare Animateurs*
Shaun Tan - writer and artist, Kate Mitchell - artist, Kendal Murray - artist
Phil Beadle - writer and educator, Rita Golden Gelman - writer and traveller
Nick Earls - writer, Lloyd Niccol - engineer and project manager
For Truth and Dare on the Dual Caminos, seven animateurs were enlisted to offer seven truths, seven dares and one double dare to be enacted by two pilgrims, one walking a Camino in daily life in Australia and one walking the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Enlisting seven different animateurs meant that every day for seven weeks our two pilgrims were prepared to have their daily lives influenced in unpredictable ways by seven different sensibilities. The proffered Truths and Dares bundled into seven weekly offerings were unwrapped Monday morning of each week. Both pilgrims are known to have warm personalities and robust senses of humour although one of the pilgrims is by nature more reserved than the other. Both pilgrims had fun and experienced moments of revelation, pathos and connection; connection that may very well have been brought about by the willingness of the pilgrims to be open to people both like and unlike themselves.
Truth or dare is a game for almost any age but is often most interesting to young people from mid to late primary school, through high school and into the early 20s. It is most engaging when people are still curious about each other in terms of the truth section and when they are testing boundaries and embarrassment levels in the dare section. Adults don't often play this game - maybe we have become less interested and curious about each other and maybe we are not so interested in testing the limits of our bravery in the dare section. Although, there is an on-line game of truth or dare for adults that is popular. Truth and Dare on the Dual Caminos sprouted from a desire to conflate a certain childlike gameness and sense of mischief to the endurance game of life, compressed within a nominated time frame. Seven weeks, seven truths and seven dares became the scaffold for the project.
To complete my Truth and Dare on the Dual Camino Project. I answered, animateur, Phil Beadles final truth.
Are you Happy?
Finishing the camino in Santiago de Compostela - looking very happy ( back row of the photo below) and I was in that moment indeed happy, but I was also conflicted about transitioning out of pilgrim mode back into normal life. The beauty of the Camino is the simplicity of the aim, the easy and always available camaraderie, the exposure and immersion in nature, the opportunity to spend six - eight (or more) hours a day under the sky, following the contours of the land moving through the landscape at a very human pace. A calmness descends on you knowing that, it is all a privilege, a gift if you will. Knowing that it is a movable feast and that it too will finish is also important because it makes you take advantage of what is offered, it also allows you to walk away from anyone and anything that you don't like, except yourself. The one constant and inescapable truth - you take yourself with you wherever you go - my best advice about that one is to make friends with yourself, forgive your transgressions and in being generous about your own failings learn to be generous and forgiving to others. Open yourself to life, living it as a participant, be gracious in your attitude to what life offers, not distant and judgmental, which is a 'safe' and cowardly position. My take home lessons from the Camino: be brave; be kind; be open to what life offers; be thankful and give praise for the bounty of the world and being given a life to live. Be careful with tender hearts both our own and others and remember that our actions always count. All of them.
*Animateur: a person who enlivens or encourages something, especially a promoter of artistic projects.