I am a strange sight.
I am, without doubt, an abnormality here.
It's an unusual sensation, to expect to be the oddest part of the day for everyone one meets.
At times it is a joy to look forward to- the promise of people, conversation, food and change. The cups of tea brought quickly without solicitation; the directions given in earnest and the refusal to accept any money for the felafel I've gorged on. Thankfully, most frequently, this is the scenario I find myself in. I suppose that's why I'm here. This is where I find the stories that I love, and where I make the memories that last longest.
Occasionally though it can feel like a hassle; after many, bruising miles through hills and wadis I have found myself at times dreading the attention I'll garner when I enter a village. The questions, the looks, the hands on my arm telling me that no, my destination is not this way. The explanation that is required, and the mental strength needed to pluck an appropriate Arabic word from the recesses of memory. It can be too much for a tired mind to handle- the appeal of a quiet tent out in the hills quickly becomes an aspirational dream to clutch at beyond the crowds of enquiring faces.
These are the thoughts and emotions of the walker; the competing desires to converse and learn, but also to find peace and solitude after physical exertion.
I like it, I admit. I love it, really. I love the people and the stories, but I also love the challenge of managing energy and emotion and enthusiasm at 3 miles an hour. I like it even when I don't like it. It feels like a positive thing to experience. I don't know if that's true or not, but I've told myself it is, and so it feels true.
This is what I have been thinking about this morning because I've had a lot of time to myself. Later, I'm going to try and name 100 songs by Bob Dylan, with extra points if I get them in the right order according to each album.
Variety is king!