I cross the bridge over the river Tyne and leave the Hadrian’s Wall path, entering the quiet village of Humshaugh. All of the architecture has a similar look and feel, cobblestoned from another time in history.
A slight rain starts to fall as I make my way up the street, looking for my guesthouse for the evening, the Linden Holme. A lovely English woman by the name of Sue opens the door and warmly greets me and shows me to my room for the night.
The Linden Holme is a large Victorian house, a former 17th century horse stable used by the British during a time of wars over land with the Scots. I’m equally enamored with the history and the large stairway banisters and wall to wall bookshelves.
Sue asks me if I saw the Crown Inn Pub down the street, as it is the only place in the village to grab some dinner. I let her know that I did, and take a quick shower to refresh myself before heading down to eat.
The Crown Inn is empty as I enter, only the owner and his two girls are working the bar. I get a pint and relax at a table as I order the butternut squash ravioli. Soon after I order the town locals start to fill up the other tables. The family feel of this establishment is unlike what I am used to, and puts me quickly at ease.
I contemplate on my solo journey thus far. I think about a butterfly that has been following me since I started hiking Hadrian’s Wall.
When I was in Costa Rica hiking in the jungle, a giant butterfly landed on my leg. A local told me that in their village, the Shaman told the story of the butterfly being the carrier of a persons kind thoughts and actions to heaven, as well as their dark demons to the underworld.
Once upon a time, I lived with a girl across the street from a movie theater. Trying to raise her three kids together, as many people may know, was not easy, and going to the movies was our escape from the day to day grind of work and raising a family.
In December of 2000, we went to see the movie Castaway and we ❤️’d it, but I didn’t really get the butterfly wings meaning. A strong sensation told me to watch it again, so I did last night in my room at the Linden Holme.
It was powerful. I cried. Hard. Some things we must let go. Sometimes the fork in the road truly does lead one down to their true purpose. There is no doubt that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for her in my life at that time. That girl is in heaven now, but I like to think she has butterflies with her. And maybe, just maybe, the one that was following me was sent by her.
I’m not sure if that makes any sense to anyone, but it helped me immensely come to terms with the loss of someone that I loved deeply. Being solo in a foreign country lets your emotions become raw, powerful and tangible. You can’t hide anything, you must face everything head on, and the cleansing that can come from this will only make you stronger.