Happy New Year, and happy new year resolutions to you, too!
I haven’t made any new year resolutions yet (so I haven’t broken them either! :-p) but I’ve been reading blog posts from people who hope to walk the Camino this year. I’m excited for them, and I know their goal is both inspiring and ambitious. It takes a certain amount of preparation and organisation to fulfil such a massive goal. It takes a leap of faith. It’s a stretch, but thousands of other people have walked before so we can trust that it is doable. That gives us hope.
Most of us don’t walk 20-25km on a regular day. Even fewer of us walk that every day, for weeks at a time. So I’m going to be honest here and say:
Walking 500 miles of Camino in one go, and carrying all your belongings on your back is sweaty, exhausting, and sore.
No doubt about it.
But the rewards are tremendous! And the rewards are many.
A year later, I’m still articulating my own journey. It re-wired me from the inside out and had a profound impact on my life.
I don’t use that word lightly.
I feel tenderly grateful for that because I planned my Camino journey in just 4-5 weeks and it could have been very different. My decision to go was a spontaneous one. My head told me I was crazy to quit my job and go walking, especially when I hadn’t done any prior training.
My head told me I was very reckless.
My heart responded with buoyant excitement.
My gut assured me that I was safe and that everything would be taken care of.
My biggest challenge was to trust my gut. Everything depended on it but as soon as I did trust, the logistics and details came together smoothly.
Before I decided to walk, I hadn’t done any physical training.
I didn’t have all the necessary gear.
I had only a few words of Spanish.
And I had never attempted to walk such long distances every day, for weeks at a time.
In my 4-5 weeks of planning, I bought a guide book but didn’t have time to read it. I bought new gear and didn’t have time to take the labels off. I certainly didn’t have the time to test it out! I read a few online forums but often came away from the chats feeling grossly under-prepared and clueless.
I thought to myself:
What am I doing?!
I don’t mind saying it but there were days when my aspiration to walk Camino felt impossibly huge. I didn’t have time to prepare myself in all the ways I wanted to prepare. I had a strong heart and a strong gut but I felt ill-equipped, both physically and mentally.
I wasn’t sure how to proceed.
But I found a series of video blogs on YouTube that gave me some perspective and some hope. I watched a few of them – just enough to see that this young couple planned to walk the same route but under very different conditions.
They walked in the depths of winter but I planned to walk during the warm autumn.
They carried a lot of heavy bags with them but I would travel lighter.
They carried a baby with them but I would be infant-free!
And they were vegan, which somehow tipped the scales for me. Walking Camino with dietary restrictions is rather difficult, and I couldn’t imagine how this family would mange theirs.
If they can do it, then so can I!
And you know what?
We all did!
So, if you’re feeling a little daunted by your decision to walk Camino, take a look at some of the video blogs at the link below. I think the trick is to watch only a couple of them so you don’t pre-empt your own journey too much. Personally, I watched only six (just to see how they coped with a certain stumbling block) and left it at that. The videos gave me the confidence I needed and some reassurance that all would be well. After that, I wanted to go live my own journey.
Let me know what you think!