When I decided to stop in Burgos and get a private room, I knew a few things:
- I was running on empty
- I needed some space and time to myself
- I needed a chance to mentally regroup
I slept soundly the first night in my little single bed. Such bliss! I planned to continue walking the next day but when I woke in the morning, my body said otherwise.
I asked if they had space to let me stay a second night.
Sí, the receptionist replied.
Delighted and relieved, I went back to bed and slept for another 5 hours!
This was *my kind of camino!*
Even though I planned my camino journey in just a month, I knew in advance what my “challenges” were likely to be. I wasn’t that worried about breaking a leg or getting lost on the trail. I wasn’t even worried about the alleged lack of beds or the fact that I spoke very little Spanish. Before I ever strapped the backpack to my shoulders I knew that these would be my main personal challenges:
Separately, I had a sense of what my physical challenges would be but funnily enough, they tied into the personal challenges above. I guess it’s a case of:
Where the mind goes, the body will follow.
How did I know what my stumbling blocks were? Well, these were my challenges in everyday “real life”. I knew I carried them with me to France and Spain, too.
I knew who I was “going in”.
Question was, who would I be “coming out” at the end?
Time, and lots of walking, would tell.
I’m not ashamed to admit that by the time I got to Burgos, I was starting to get a little crazy around the edges. My nights in Villambistia and Atapuerca pushed my buttons and I felt frazzled almost all the time. I had a notion that walking Camino would fill me with blissful contentment and radiant connection with my fellow pilgrims: so why was I feeling grouchy and tearful?
I put it down to being exhausted and over-stimulated, and just not getting enough sleep to recalibrate. Simple as that.
I’m like this in my everyday life, too. If I work too hard, play too hard, and don’t get enough “down time” on my own, I get strung out and sick. In my “real life”, I have a private room every night. I have a front door, which keeps some of the madness at bay. When my life gets too loud, I have ways of turning down the volume.
On Camino, I didn’t have any of those things, so taking 2 nights in a private room in Burgos was my equivalent of “turning down the volume”.
I slept a lot, I explored the city on my own, and I ate a beef burger (not chorizo, not baguette, not pork!) in a trendy, hip wine bar full of young people in a party mood.
Burgos was one of the spots on my Camino where I got to hit the “RESET” button and it gave me a new beginning.
Getting some sleep helped quieten some of the crazy and I came to realize a few things:
- I need what I need. Some days I need to walk fast, others I need to walk slow. Some days I need a private room to sleep and be quiet. Instead of judging myself and berating myself for needing these things, I’m better off just tending to those needs as best I can, and getting on with things.
- I was roughly 1/3 of the way into my 500 mile journey. For almost 2 weeks, I’d walked with a tentative hope in my heart. I hoped to make it to Santiago and I wanted to make it to Santiago, but I was never sure I would make it to Santiago. I had done no physical training and I was never sure whether my body would continue to rise to the challenge. In Burgos, I realized I was 1/3 of the way “there” and that knowing filled me with confidence for the next leg of the journey.
- I needed to walk more for myself. At different points up to then, I’d changed my pace and plans to suit others – usually because I didn’t want to offend them. I had a notion that walking Camino meant we were all equal, all humble, and all with the same agenda. I was a bit misguided in that belief. In Burgos, I realized I needed to get a bit more selfish about my own process, my own needs, and my own journey. I needed to “grab it by the horns” and go make it my own.
I got the rest and sleep I needed. I turned down some of the crazy. I left my little bed and the city feeling a bit tougher, a bit stronger, and a bit more focused.
I didn’t know what it would bring but I knew I felt ready for the challenge. Burgos had given me a chance to hit “RESET” and start again.
Does this sound familiar at all? What did *you* do to hit the “RESET” button in your life – whether on camino or elsewhere?