Has your camino experience changed who you are as a person?

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The question was:

I’m fascinated to know if people feel real, lasting changes have taken place in their lives after walking the camino. There is so much expectation and reading various blogs, some people seem to arrive with so much enthusiasm, only to give up after a few days and others can’t wait to start their next walk after spending weeks on the road.

I’d love to hear how the experience affected you – good or bad!

Read the interesting conversation on how the Camino changed people walking it here in or Camino forum.

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  • Ruby Slippers

    2008 and 2012. First time I thought I was going for a hike. 2 weeks in I had my “moment” – I was never the same person. Ego and Spirit back and forth and then forever Spirit. <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/claudia.sundman Claudia Hartwell Sundman

    I would say that the camino was an important part of my life journey. I aspire to live a compassionate, grace-filled life that includes service to others. As I journeyed, I found many people who modeled these qualities to me.

    I remember one day I stopped in a little “one church” town. The pilgrim’s hostel I stayed in was attached to the very old church and was run on volunteers, love, prayer and donations. As always, I took a shower first and then washed my clothes by hand… this time in the small space between the church’s stone vaulted ceiling and the wooden roof. When asked, I was pointed in the direction of the clothes line… which I assumed would be in sight of the church, once I got out the door. It wasn’t. It was a couple of blocks away. But I didn’t know this at the time and after walking one block, I decided that I must have gotten the directions wrong and was about to turn around and retrace my steps. Across the street there was an old man sitting on a bench who motioned to me and pointed further up the street. I was SURE I was on the wrong path though, and didn’t really think the old man knew what I needed (despite the obviousness of wet clothes in my hands). I waved to him and was still determined to retrace my steps. That’s when this old man got UP off of his bench and walked over to me… using TWO canes! I met him halfway across the street and he then escorted me the next block to the clothes line. And I had thought MY feet were sore!

    The camino is a lifetime of lessons in 800km!

  • Slow walker

    The whole walk is a transformative process. You just become so aware of the world around you when you are reduced to simply walking – carrying all that you need on our back. If you open yourself up to the experience of the walk – to the belief in the journey – it will become transformative. And it has nothing to do with arriving at the Cathedral. That is just the end of the proccess. The experience is well summed up by words that were written about the pilgrimage to Rome:
    “He who to Rome goes
    Much struggle, little profit shows.
    For God, though long on earth you have sought Him,
    Is not in Rome unless you have brought Him”
    For me the moment was at the Iron Cross. Having crossed the “barren wastes” of the Mesata, I was able to leave my Pilgrims Stone – and all my worries and concerns – at the foot of the Cross, and finish my walk to the Cathedral as a transformed person. And so can anyone.

  • marianneusa

    I thought I walked as a physical endeavor and was a place where I could pray and be with me friend for a couple of weeks. it was all that but more it was an adventure of meeting the kindest people from all over the world who continually helped me and other pilgrims out of the goodness of their hearts. we all got along, we all conversed as equals and we all were generous and genuinely interested on each other. this walk has made my thinking clearer. it defined me. it has not left me and it was 2 years ago. I truly believe the people of the world do not need the leaders, we can all take care of each other quite well. THE WAY OF THE CAMINO SHOULD BE THE WAY OF THE WORLD. The world would be a much better place.

    I am still friends with all of my camino family.

  • Ron

    I walked a portion of the camino (about the last 175 miles) September 2012. I had some important insights into my life but wouldn’t say I had a huge “aha” enlightenment experience. So I can’t exactly say why, but it was, and continues to be, one of the highlights of my life. Interestingly the experience lives with me all the time. Since I’m basically a process person I think the impact of it is still unfolding. In spite of how difficult it is for me to fly (inner ear disorder), I’m seriously considering returning to start in the Pyrenees and walk all of what I missed.

    • Robert Fernandez

      I also walked only a portion of the Camino, from SJPdP to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, and had a very similar experience. I had a chance to really look at myself and my life’s activities and come to a clearer understanding of myself. It was a meaningful experience and I think about it, even if only for a little while, every day.

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