A New Beginning in Burgos

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.

, 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?






5 thoughts on “A New Beginning in Burgos

  1. “I’d changed my pace and plans to suit others.” Can I ever relate to this–both on the Camino and in life. I guess making this choice makes sense given that humans are communal creatures, but as a fellow introvert (who passes as outgoing), I needed SPACE sometimes. Fir my seven weeks in Spain, I struggled to take it, to advocate for it, and to enjoy it once I got it for feeling guilty and (wait for it) lonely. Yes, sometimes when I got what I asked for, I didn’t want it anymore. Funny how this happens in my life too.

    I agree with your statement that how we do the Camino is how we do our life. The setting changes, but we are still ourselves-even when inner change is occurring. I’ve found that being a compassionate observer of myself helps me use these “Ah, THIS is familiar” moments, so I can be open to what I need instead of shutting down or judging it. That’s on a good day, mind. 🙂

    Knowing what a challenge it is for you to advocate for yourself around alone time, you’re to be commended for your Burgos reset. What a difference a day (of sleep) makes! How lovely that you got this lesson in self care to take back to your life.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes! I have to set the reset button, sometimes its not to stop – it’s just to re-assess my pace. Much like your walk, it’s when I try to keep up or slow down that I get all anxious or stressed – the alone time allows me to realise it. We’re planning to do the camino in May, and I have been practicing, and for some strange reason I set myself a goal – like 10min per km, or I’d walk to meet someone and get all stressed out when I was running out of time. Yesterday I did a big walk, took my time and the difference in my attitude was amazing. Rest, is just as the important as the walk. For me, it’s were I do my most productive thinking…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dina, I love it!
    It sounds like you’ve already figured out some key points for walking camino & I’m excited for your journey. Where will you start from? And do you know where you’d like to end? (I’m purposefully not asking how many miles you’ll walk because that question stressed me out on my own camino – my feeling was: I’ll walk as many as I can!)
    I hope the preparations are going well for you & would love to hear more about it all.
    In the meantime, Buen Camino! 🙂


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