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Fear

Some on here might remember me from 2008, when I was planning my pilgrimage. I only got as far as Hunto before I gave up, and I’m still not sure I’ve forgiven myself for giving up so easily. But I got so scared. Ever since then, from time to time, I’ve felt the desire to walk the camino again but nothing has ever come of it. I’m simply terrified, yet I still long to do it. I can feel the pull of it.

I’ve been thinking, considering, doing it in September/October this year, but doing it my way. I’d send my bag ahead every day, and only carry a lighter pack with water, food and my camera. Because I really want to bring my real camera (a Nikon D90) and not a small point and shoot. I don’t think I’ll walk this more than once and I want the best images I can get to remember it. And I’d be staying in hotels the entire way. I’ve even made up a plan where I can stay at hotels for every stage of the walk. I’d be starting in Pamplona, instead of St Jean which is the “official” starting place, to eliminate the strenuous walk across the Pyrenees. I’ve been thinking of just doing a week, but it’s not enough. To me that would be failing, which is ridiculous, but that’s the way it is. It’s all or nothing.

But even when I modify it to more fit my needs, it still scares me. I’m afraid of failing again. I’m afraid it will be too overwhelming, that my feet will hurt too much and that I won’t be able to do the distances I’ve planned. I’m afraid I’m going to spend the entire trip crying, which is what happened last time. I’m afraid I’m going to be homesick, that my body will hurt, that I’ll get sick.

Last time I was also very stressed and anxious. I felt nauseous because of this and threw up a lot. I’m afraid I’ll spend five weeks being anxious and hence be miserable the entire time. Because I’m afraid of new situations. The camino would pretty much be five weeks of new situations each day, and I’m not sure how well I’d be able to cope with that.

Of course, there’s also the possibility that I’m worrying needlessly. But knowing myself, and knowing what happened last time, I know that I will be afraid a lot. I just, don’t know what to do. Because on the one hand, I want this so much, but on the other the mere thought terrifies me and makes me not want to do it.

But, I really do think I'd benefit greatly from doing it. I'd learn to handle all those fears, and if I made it, it would be an incredible boost to my self-esteem. I'd get to improve my spanish and meet many new, wonderful people. I think, maybe I should do it just because I am so afraid of it.

So, some random questions based on all this…

When, if you were, were you afraid on the camino? How do you deal with it?
Just how much do your feet hurt?
How difficult is it?
How long does it take before it gets easier? A week? Two weeks? Does it ever get easier?


Sorry about the long post. I just don’t know who else to talk to about this… no one seems to understand, and I get that, it is somewhat of a crazy idea, really...


Hilda
 

skilsaw

Veteran Member
atlanticheart said:
When, if you were, were you afraid on the camino? How do you deal with it?
Just how much do your feet hurt?
How difficult is it?
How long does it take before it gets easier? A week? Two weeks? Does it ever get easier?
Hilda

me afraid on the Camino? Never
My feet hurt about a 6 on a scale of 10.
Difficulty? 4 out of 10
The Camino is difficult for about a week, then your body and mind get used to it.

I hope you have somebody close who you trust that can hear your desire and help you decide.

Good Luck,
David, Victoria, Canada
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Dear Hilda, be open to your fear, yet at the same time get into your power as a person, it is lurking there otherwise you would not be thinking of doing this. You could look into doing this as a guided tour, at least for the first bit, then you know you have company and support and your luggage taken care of. You might learn some coping mechanisms like breathing exercises, meditation, yoga exercises, cognitive behavioural strategies before you leave. Feet hurt, but one gets used to it and I found the first few hours were fine, after 23 km or so mine hurt and I glad when I can stop. The first Camino was the hardest, because I did not know my body and I panicked over sore knees, sore feet etc. Now I know I get sore R knee every time over the first to or three days, I have to stop every few metres swing my knees and then carry on and the pain goes away. Now after 4 long distance walks, it has all become second nature. I just love the whole experience. It is one of the safest ways to have a trip. Just take it day by day, don't think about tomorrow, concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other and little by little you move towards your goal. Savour the landscape, fresh air, people and animals around you, enjoy the delicious and nourishing meals and experiences on the way. Leave it open how long you walk for, just take it day by day. Everyone has the odd down day or day where one questions motive, has had a bad night's sleep or got wet or cold or too hot, but usually those feelings pass and one is on the road again. Just try accept that feelings come and go. Gitti
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Another thought, what is the reason for hotel accommodation? You say you felt homesick. You might consider staying in albergues, hostals etc, because of the companionship. Soon the Camino becomes home and the pilgrims you meet over and over again a kind of family. There is a huge sense of companionship from what I have encountered. Also keep your distances small initially to get to know how to best manage yourself.Love, Gitti
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2014
Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
Camino Ingles (Ferrol) 2015
Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
Hilda,

when I walked the Camino Levante last year I was scared. The first week was really tough - if I could have come home without anyone noticing, I would. I had an upset stomach and also nausea because I was scared. I ate almost nothing for the first four or five days, which was a worry.

Before I left, I promised myself that I would only stop if a doctor told me I couldn't continue. It was useful for me to remember this.

I don't know if this helps at all, but I think many of us feel the same as you. The Camino was one of the hardest things I have done, but also one of the deepest, most important and most enjoyable.

I hope this helps,

Andy
 
David, Gitti and Andy, thanks for your replies and your support.

The reason I'm choosing hotels over albergues is because I don't like communal living and I'm very uncomfortable with it, and I need privacy. I'm an introvert and I need time on my own to recharge my batteries each day or I will become exhausted from the social aspect of the camino. And as it's a Holy Year, there will be even more people around, so it's important to me. Living in albergues would be one of the things I'm very uncomfortable with that I can make a little easier for me, by living at hotels. And, as I will have my bag sent ahead, I think the limited places at the albergues should be for those who carry their bags.

"The first Camino was the hardest, because I did not know my body and I panicked over sore knees, sore feet etc. " - I feel that this is something I would feel too. Because it's such an important thing that your body is in good condition for this journey, and it would be worrying if you started being in pain.

My feet hurting quite concerns me, because when I was in London on holiday last year I did a lot of walking, and by day three my feet hurt so bad I hobbled around. Every step was painful, and I also developed blisters, in spite of wearing shoes that were well broken in. Of course, I do develop blisters very easily... But, I'm not sure how many days like that I could manage, if my feet hurt that bad.

"The first week was really tough - if I could have come home without anyone noticing, I would. I had an upset stomach and also nausea because I was scared. I ate almost nothing for the first four or five days, which was a worry."
I'm so glad I'm not the only one feeling like this. I guess, usually when you worry about things like this, you think everyone else is better/stronger/braver than you. Could also be low self-esteem on my part. The food also worries me; both not being able to eat because of nausea and because I'm very picky. But, I suppose if you're hungry enough you'll eat anything.

I did go home, after just the first day on the camino, and I hated having to explain it to people. I was ashamed I couldn't make it. That I didn't even last a day.

Thanks,
Hilda
 

hannajo

Member
Hallo Hilda
I too for many years of my life was a prisoner to fear, you name it - I was afraid of it. When I was 32 I decided enough was enough. I read a book called Face Your Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers? It helped me get things in perspective. I am now 62, a widow of two years and embarking on my first Camino in May and you know what I am very afraid. I am afraid of being alone, of finding my way from Bilbao airport on my own to the bus station to get a bus to Burgos. I am afraid of checking into the hotel 'cause I hardlly speak a word of comprehensible Spanish. I am afraid of getting lost....I am afraid I may not find accomodation 'cause of it being Holy Year and everywhere will be booked out. I have gone through similar fears off and on for years but looking back I'd say that 95% of my fears never happened....surprise surprise they were all in my head. I believe that experience is the best teacher, that is why sometimes as the book says we have to face the fear and do it anyway. Courage is not the absence of fear - it is faith moving us forward despite our fear.

Have courage Hilda, you are not alone.....we can do this. The Camino awaits us both.

Blessings
Jo.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Dear Hilda,

Bless you for having the courage to even WANT to face your fear again. This shows great resolve, and I encourage you to try again. Setting goals for yourself that you know are realistic is a great step forward. If you KNOW you don't like communal living, then you can find private lodging for a price, and it's not always expensive. It can be even LESS costly if you can find a walking mate you can get along with and are willing to share lodging with. I will be happy to send you information on the privates that we stayed in, if you are interested. I did not want to get bedbugs, and so we often took a private room.

In almost any town you can go to the bar and ask if there are habitaciones in town... many people have a room they will rent you. The rooms are almost always cleaner than the refugios, and almost always have a shared or private bath, but when you share it's with one or two people, not 25.

Your feet. If your feet hurt, chances are it is because your shoes are too small and you're carrying too much weight. Try buying your shoes 1.5 sizes larger than you normally wear. Be sure you get a shoe that is FLEXIBLE but with a sturdy sole. I love New Balance Trail Shoes. Can you get them where you live? They have a huge toe box, so your toes can spread out when you walk and you don't get blisters. They do not need breaking in. You can buy them, and walk right out onto the Camino!

Try wearing 2 pair of socks. I don't remember if you did this. One pair should be a very thin liner, like we wore when we were children. The outer pair should be thicker, and many people like SmartWool, me included. They are cushioned in good places.

Buy COMPEED and carry it with you. The MINUTE you first start feeling a hot spot on your foot, STOP and put on the compeed. You never take it off. You wear it in the shower and keep it on until it falls off on its own. It will keep you from getting blisters.

Also, please consider buying a special gel insert made especially for trekking and hiking. Take the OLD insert out and put in the new, cushioned one. It will protect the soles of your feet from rocks and the constant slamming down onto the pavement. Here in the US they cost about $30. Not sure where you are from. New Balance sells them and you can cut them to fit your shoe.

Stop every 2 hours, sit down, take off your shoes, and give yourself a foot rub! Rest for at least 10 minutes before you put the shoes on and walk again.

If there is a fountain, put your feet into the ice water.

When you stop at night, soak your feet in COLD salt water. It really DOES help toughen them up.

Don't walk full stages. There is no law that says you must walk 20 kilometers every day! When I first start walking, I'm only able to do about 17.... that's my limit... and my feet stop working at 17 k... so I try to plan accordingly. If that means I only walk 12 k, then I only walk 12 that day! Better to ENJOY the walking than to torture yourself!

I met a young woman on my last Camino who was terribly overweight. She was walking to get herself in better physical condition, but because of her weight, she was only able to go about 10 kilometers each day in the beginning. By the time she go to Santiago 6 weeks later, she was walking regular 20 k stages and had dropped about 20 pounds! Great success. But if she found herself tired, she'd simply call a cab and take it to the next place. So what? She knew her limitations and followed her inner guide and she finished the Camino!

Next, REALLY take a good look at your pack. It should not weigh more than 10% of your body weight, pack included. You've probably read that over and over on this forum. The reason is because it is true. If you can afford to have a company carry your bags, then do it, especially if you're paying for lodging. There are so many items that you do not need that people pack.

It feels to me that you REALLY want to try this again. And if you WANT to, then you will. Please feel free to PM me if you just need a sounding board.

I'm praying for your success!
Annie
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Hello Hilda -

Bless you for your openness in sharing your fears with us. This proves you already are a woman of courage.

I have walked several caminos and constantly dream of them in anticipation for the next one. Some dreams are of reliving the wonderful days and nights on the Way, and other dreams are of the beginning of the camino where I am always hypervigilant about my feet - Were blisters starting? Did they hurt? Worrying about other creature comforts is also part of that beginning section.

The thing is, the worrying part sort of ended after the first week. After that, there is a natural rhythm that sort of takes over that doesn't involve a lot of thinking. Walking, eating, finding a bed, shopping for food - becomes a kind of reflex every day. I think this is what allows your mind and spirit to be open to the gifts of the camino without worrying about the chores of the day.

So I think just take care of everything you need for about the first week or so, but try to cultivate some relationships with other peregrinos as well. Even on days that you feel really crummy or sad, being with others will help you feel stronger.

You are bigger than your fears. Acknowledge them, but don't let them take you over. The camino, and other peregrinos will do the rest. I feel the same as Andy - the Camino is the hardest thing I've ever done, but I would never give it up for anything in the world. It did make me a better, stronger person. And it can for you too.

With warm, positive and supportive thoughts,

lynne
 

vinotinto

Active Member
atlanticheart said:
When, if you were, were you afraid on the camino? How do you deal with it?

Probably the first week or two. The folks I had started out with had left me behind because I couldn't keep up with them, so I felt a bit like a lonely loser. I had way too much stuff (over 20K in my pack), and my boots were too heavy as well. My feet were killing me so bad I could only walk about 10 or 12K a day, despite all the tricks I learned in the Marines. My lowest point was at the albergue at the front of Pamplona (Arre, I believe). The guy who ran it was kind of a jerk to me, despite my pain. I felt pretty bad at that point.

There were a couple of things that saved me. One was the realization that I had to start dumping off everything that I didn't need, no matter how much it cost me. I ended up shedding a couple of hundred dollars worth of stuff. I figured it was wise to bring everything I might need, but it ended up almost ruining my Camino. And since the Way was so important because it was the only period in my life where I might have the time to do it, I had to count the cost. Was it worth shedding expensive (and otherwise useful) items to finish the Way? In a word, yes.

Second was the break I took in Logrono. When I staggered into the city I immediately checked into a nice hotel for a couple of days. I then went to the Planeta Aqua outdoor store and got new lighter boots, a cool pair of socks, and a 2nd water bottle that served me well on the Meseta. The staff were quite helpful, and even suggested good places to eat. Logrono was a great place to rest, recuperate, and reevaluate how I was doing the Way.

Third were the many people who helped me keep going. The guy at Arre who took me out to dinner and paid for it. The woman who ran the albergue at Cizur Menor who let me in early, tended my blistered feet, and showed me that maxipads are great boot liners. Another woman who ran the albergue at Cirauqui who saw my pain and took care to see that I was OK. The Spanish woman who took me into her group and walked with me until the outskirts of Logrono. And so on.

atlanticheart said:
Just how much do your feet hurt?

I think the worst was right outside of Pamplona. I was tired and in pain, so I failed to read my guidebook right and got mixed up. I went back and forth on a hill trying to get my bearings, and my feet hurt so bad that I could barely walk. Each step took a concrete mental effort, I was frustrated and angry (cursing the name of Brierley), and exacted a toll that I had to ignore until I found a place for the night. Finally I took a time-out, studied the book, saw that the error was mine, and kept going until I dropped at the door of the Arre albergue. Cizur Menor and Logrono were two key areas where my foot issues were addressed, thus enabling me to continue.

atlanticheart said:
How difficult is it?

Is anything worthwhile easy? That said, you can make the Camino as hard or as easy as you want it to be. Perhaps I made it harder than necessary in order to test myself. Who can say what that means for you?

atlanticheart said:
How long does it take before it gets easier? A week? Two weeks? Does it ever get easier?

See the previous question. But I must say that it's a good thing to become, as we used to say in the Marines, "salty." I mailed about 2.5K of stuff to Santiago from Puente La Reina (where I also got my first foot/ankle support wrap). The great Aterpea albergue at Cirauqui helped me recover from a grueling long hot walk (got my 2nd foot/ankle wrap there), and finally things began to turn around for me after meeting the Spanish woman & her group in Estrella and walking with them to the outskirts of Logrono, where she & her friend bought me a meal and wished me well.

One cool thing: About two weeks before Santiago I noticed that my body could almost walk without my conscious effort, like my legs and hips did the work while I merely rode them. It's quite a feeling, and hope you will experience it someday. In the end, as with many things, the Camino is a battle that must be won or lost in your head and heart... :arrow:

Cheers,

VT
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I forgot to mention that on my first Camino, I took such a blessed break and checked into the Parador in Santo Domingo... I spent $350 for one night, and it was worth every cent!!!

Clean bed, huge breakfast, hot bath... it was my largest expense outside my airfare, and I'd do it again in a second!
 
Jo, Annie, Lynne and VT, thank you for your wonderful replies and for sharing your experiences.

I too for many years of my life was a prisoner to fear, you name it - I was afraid of it.
That's exactly what I feel and it's so frustrating, because I'm afraid of the things that would help me get over my fears as wll. I've read the book by Susan Jeffers, not sure yet how much it helped, but it has given me some insights that might prove useful in the future. If only it wasn't so hard to "face your fear and do it anyway".

I hope you have a wonderful pilgrimage, Jo, and when you come back you can let me know how much there really was to be afraid of. =)

Annie, I do have a pair of good walking boots, that so far have not given me blisters. Fingers crossed. But, they're not 1,5 sizes larger, and I've noticed that it's a little difficult fitting two pairs of socks in them, so I might have to get another pair. I've never heard of the New Balance Trail shoes, but we do have an outdoor store, so I'll go talk to them about footwear.
You can buy them, and walk right out onto the Camino!
That sounds almost too good to be true. =)
We sell insoles at work, and we have a good gel sole that I've been thinking about getting. I've been walking a lot lately and notice that when I'm walking on asphalt my heels start hurting. I'm just not sure if the gel soles have enough support for my arches.
It feels to me that you REALLY want to try this again. And if you WANT to, then you will. Please feel free to PM me if you just need a sounding board.
Thank you.

The thing is, the worrying part sort of ended after the first week. After that, there is a natural rhythm that sort of takes over that doesn't involve a lot of thinking.
I really hope so, because the worrying part is something I worry about, because I know just how bad I get when I'm really worried. What comes after the first week though, is part of why I want to do the camino. It sounds wonderful.

You are bigger than your fears. Acknowledge them, but don't let them take you over. The camino, and other peregrinos will do the rest. I feel the same as Andy - the Camino is the hardest thing I've ever done, but I would never give it up for anything in the world. It did make me a better, stronger person. And it can for you too.
That's what my mum keeps telling me. Just the other day she said: "If you hate being afraid all the time then why don't you do something about it? Why don't you fight it with every ounce of strength you have so you don't have to feel that way?" And she's right.
I know, that if I did the camino, it would be the best thing I've ever done for myself, and I know how much stronger it'd make me. I'm just hoping it won't be too difficult.

Is anything worthwhile easy?
Unfortunately, no. I guess, for me, it doesn't have to be easy so long as it's not too damn hard. Which is what I experienced when walking up to Orisson (although I only got as far as Hunto). Although, part of it was my own fault. I'd been too willing to believe it when people said it "wasn't as difficult as it looked", so I convinced myself I could breeze through it. Not just the first day, but every day, without having aching feet and hurting knees and being tired. When that dream scenario collapsed, I gave up pretty quickly.

In the end, as with many things, the Camino is a battle that must be won or lost in your head and heart...
True. I just need to build up the strength to actually win that battle. How, I don't quite know yet...

Thank you again for your replies, they've been very helpful.

Hilda
 

hannajo

Member
Yes Hilda...Thank you too for your openness and honesty...honesty takes much courage I find. thank you too Annie, Lynne and VT, your comments have helped me too. The reason I am starting at Burgos is because I felt too daunted about walking over the Pyrenees. Someone on the Forum way back suggested that Burgos was a good place to start as the Meseta that follows is just flat for days and days and it would give plenty time to build up strength for the next set of mountains/hills. At the time this sounded like a good idea for me but since then I have already become much stronger through training and my mind has become so much more stretched through reading the wonderful encouragements on the Forum I think now that I could probably have 'done' the Pyrenees after all. But too late now.....all plans in place.....next time, eh! Maybe Pamplona or Ronsavelles? maybe a better place to start Hilda.

Jo :)
 
Yes, this time I'm starting in Pamplona to avoid the Pyrenees. And, since I've already been to Roncesvalles I decided on Pamplona as a starting place instead.
Also, I've looked at flights, and the earliest I can get to Pamplona is 7.30PM, and the bus to Roncesvalles leaves at 6pm, meaning I'd have to wait 'till the next day to get there. And I think it's better for me not to have that extra travelling day in Spain to worry about the walk. I'll be worrying about it enough as it is. =)

From what I can tell there aren't too many mountains to climb from Pamplona and onwards to Burgos, aside from the Alto de Perdon and the Montes de Oca right before San Juan de Ortega (and lots of hills in between). Hopefully it wouldn't be too strenuous.

Hilda
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
It is topics like this one that make this forum really worthwhile. We all have fears of one sort or another and if people can help us overcome them then that is something that has been achieved.

Perhaps it is the fear of the unknown that is the greatest problem and if you organise for yourself a multi-day walk over a long weekend close to home you will not find the Camino much different just longer. I wish you well and hope you are able to take some wonderful photos.
 

Mountainman

El Croco loco
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Camino Frances
(StJ-Santiago) 2007, 2009
(StJ-Fisterra) 2011, 2012
Future:
Camino del Salvador 8/2014
Camino Primitivo 8/2014?
Camino del Norte 9/2014,
and hopefully many more yet unplanned
atlanticheart said:
Some on here might remember me from 2008, when I was planning my pilgrimage. I only got as far as Hunto before I gave up, and I’m still not sure I’ve forgiven myself for giving up so easily. But I got so scared. Ever since then, from time to time, I’ve felt the desire to walk the camino again but nothing has ever come of it. I’m simply terrified, yet I still long to do it. I can feel the pull of it.

Hi Hilda, what a great, open and honest question... This Camino is going to mean so much to you (as it already has), as you have and will again face your fears, which is something most people try to avoid for their whole life. So you have my respect!

So, some random questions based on all this…

When, if you were, were you afraid on the camino? How do you deal with it?
Just how much do your feet hurt?
How difficult is it?
How long does it take before it gets easier? A week? Two weeks? Does it ever get easier?
Hilda
I was quite scared on my (first) Camino, but in a totally different spectrum. The Camino placed this beautiful creature on my path, whom I was afraid of losing, so I tried and succeeded to keep up with her for my entire Camino. Which brings me to your next question, it lead me to have about 30 blisters all the way, which I give about a 8-8,5 on a painscale of 10 :mrgreen:

Your third question is very personal. For some, the difficulty is physical, for others it is emotional, mental, etc etc. From what you describe, you will be facing your fears, which is by no means easy, but very powerful if you find out you have the strengt for it!

And your last question... I think it gets easier when you allow yourself for it to get easier, it is only difficult if you make it difficult. Physically, my second Camino it was relatively easy all the way (though harder at the end because of exhaustion, walking to long distances each day as I had the strength for it), just as it was hard all the way my first Camino...

Again, my deepest respect for you, I hope you go and do it, and I am more then interested to read about your experiences, if you feel like sharing them!
 
William and Mountainman, thanks for your replies.
Yes, fear of the unknown is certainly a big problem.

For me, the difficulty will be both physical and mental, though I imagine the mental bit will be the toughest. I’m not yet sure if I have the mental strength to deal with all my fears.

and I am more then interested to read about your experiences, if you feel like sharing them!
If I do decide to do it, I’ll definitely share my experiences.

Thank you again,
Hilda
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
"When, if you were, were you afraid on the camino? How do you deal with it?
Just how much do your feet hurt?
How difficult is it?
How long does it take before it gets easier? A week? Two weeks? Does it ever get easier?"

Hi Hilda, Thank you for this post one forgets in all the post camino excitement just how much a part fear and anxiety played in the journey (well mine anyway)
I was afraid of the Pyrenees.
I was afraid I'd get lost- too afraid to trust the markers and myself.
I was afraid of the weather -Snow, icy rain too little or too much sun.
I was afraid of the strain it might put on a valued friendship and of what might happen then.
I was afraid I wouldn't have a real 'Camino experience'
I was afraid of what that would be.
I was afraid of bedbugs and mosquitoes (and initially dogs)
I was afraid of the entry into Burgos and Leon, of the Meseta, of the climbs up to Alto del Perdon, Foncebadon and O'Cebreiro.
I was afraid my gear wouldn't work.
I was afraid of my knees and feet getting knackered...........

My feet hurt a bit whenever I started walking but after a bit they'd get numb-Camino analgesic?

It's not that it's difficult its just that it's not easy. But it's 'not easy' in a way that seems, for want of a better word, 'natural' (I was going to say "like childbirth" but decided not to got there :shock:)

We were unfit and I was overweight so it never 'got easier' as such. But we did learn that when we took the energy we put into bitching and worrying and put into the next simple action/task-like take next step, drink more water or tend to blister on big toe- instead that made things 'flow' a bit better. Frances 'got this' much faster than I did so I needed a couple of revision sessions en route...which I got .
The Camino is like a lens that re-focuses any anxiety, fears and all your resources onto the simple equation of 'Walking, eating,(praying?) sleeping', and one can't over complicate that no matter how hard one tries (I tried pretty hard :oops: ). It sabotages complexity and refuses to be 'managed' by ones hopes or fears.
Anyway Hilda I think you are 'Bravey McBrave of McBrave street' for sharing your story, being so open with your fears and above all by having another 'go'.
Nell
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
Dear Hilda,
Much of what i would want to say has been said. It sounds as though you are over the big fear - simply facing up to it. Bravery is not blithely going ahead! Bravery is knowing what is coming and facing it anyway!!
Have you though of joining a group? Although that may not be your scene. In the U.K. I have been in touch with these good folk on behalf of someone else, and they sound very supportive. There may be something similar in Sweden??
http://www.pilgrims-to-santiago.com/
Whatever you decide may you have strength and courage to walk in the Way of Life.

Every Blessing
Terry
 

Ajda

Member
When i read your post, i saw me in it.

Last year i walk my first Camino. It was the best time of my life. But... Before (and sometimes on Camino) it was really hard.

I was afraid of flight.
I was afraid of being alone.
I was afraid I'll go to the wrong way.
I was afraid not to find yellow arrows.
I was afraid not to find albergue.
I was afraid of people (What if somebody hurt me? Who will help me?)
I was afraid of sun.
I was afraid of bulls.
I was afraid of pain.
I was afraid I will not reach Santiago.
I was afraid of Meseta (i didnt sleep two days before Meseta, it was night mare for me - but now - its the most beautiful place on Camino)
Acctually, i was afraid of everything.


Sometimes it was really horrible before my Camino. I think i didn't sleep for a month. It seemed to me like I jumped into the abyss and i'll die.

But i didn't. I made it all the way to Santiago.

And now - at home - when i'm afraid of something (belive mi its a lot of think i'm afraid of) i just said: "Ok, i'm afraid - so i need to do this. Just because of fear. I need to deal with it. And camino was first step... A BIG, really BIG step. And it's worth.

I think you really need to do this again. Maybe not alone.
 

pal

Member
You have received a lot of good advice from forum members, but may I add another aspect? Have you read The Secret? The premise is that what you project into the world is what you get more of. For instance, if I worry about all my bills, I get more bills. However, if I imagine and "feel" that I have plenty of resources to meet my financial needs, I have more abundance. So to apply this to your situation, worry is wasted energy. What you worry about you get more of. (Not to be confused with adequately preparing for the trip.) What if you imagine how wonderful this trip will be, that you will always recognize a hot spot on your foot in time to prevent further damage, you will always find a place to sleep without stressing about it, you will learn from each challenge, it will be the best adventure you have ever had? Rather than imaging how your feet will hurt, how you need to be away from people, how tired you will be, etc. In life/on the trail we encounter situations that we simply can't change, but we can change how we react to them. When facing unpleasant situations, I always ask myself, "what is there for me to learn from this?" You have already taken the first step toward a new experience. Walk in peace.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
If and when walking I can only hope meeting people in the same spirit and with the same gentle attitude as you guys here.
Heartwarming and generous!
 
But we did learn that when we took the energy we put into bitching and worrying and put into the next simple action/task-like take next step, drink more water or tend to blister on big toe- instead that made things 'flow' a bit better.
Yes, I think it's probably very important to learn to turn your negative feelings and your worrying into something more positive.

Terry, I haven't found anything like that when I've been researching the Camino, and I've done a lot of research. But on the other hand, I've never been looking for it. It's worth looking into.

Ajda, I think you're very brave for having faced your fears and conquered them so well on the camino, especially since it sounds like you are just like me, afraid of pretty much everything. I know how tough it is.

Pal, yes, I have been thinking about this. Haven't actually read The Secret, but I saw an inspiring documentary on affirmations with Louise L. Hay. And if I do decide to go I was planning on doing affirmations every day until I leave (and while on the camino of course), with positive thoughts about the Camino. It seemed to be the same thing as the secret; what you put out there you get back.

What I find a little tricky is how to keep up with the affirmations and yet still prepare for the possible negative things (blisters, painful feet, injuries, getting lost...) that might happen. Because it seems naive almost to say that I'm on a wonderful journey, and my body is healthy, etc. Because last time I tried doing the camino, I made myself think it was going to be easy, which it wasn't. So, basically, I'm afraid of setting myself up for failure again by just focusing on the positive...

Sabine, I couldn't agree more.

Thank you all for your input. It’s good to know I’m not the only one with lots of fears. =)

Hilda
 

JohnT

New Member
Hi Hilda,

Like you I am full of fear, well why shouldn't we be when we are going to do something strange, something well out of our comfort zone. But the Camino has got under my skin for several years now and I can't get rid of the itch.

So I'm off to scratch that itch.

In training my feet often hurt but so far with care, good boots and two pairs of good socks all the time it soon stops hurting; steadily I am building up strength to start in May.

Spending a lot of time reading this forum, picking up good tips and making a list of them. How to deal with sore feet, blisters, upset tummy etc etc. this is probably the best resource there is for the Camino.

Also like you I want a bit of my own personal space so have booked hotels along the route, but I still want to meet and walk with fellow pilgrims. Thought a lot about how much to walk each day; talked to a pal who did part of the Camino a few years ago and asked if he had rest days and if so what he did on those days - went for a walk he said; so for me some short days mixed in with longer days, but none too long 'till later on, don't want to crack up at the start.

Get in there and enjoy it girl and you will. :)

Well I hope I will. :D

Buen Camino

John T
 

JoJoCamino

Jojo
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago de Compostela - 2008
St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela - 2009
Leon to Santiago de Compostela - 2011
Santiago to Finisterre - 2011
Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela - 2012
Porto to Santiago de Compostela - 2015
To do soon, hopefully!!:
Camino Ingles - (2016?)
Leon to Santiago de Compostela - (2016?)
I have posted a comment to you on facebook. I did a 'trial' run - with a friend - in 2008 just walking from Sarria to Santiago to see what to do and what it was like. Since it was only a week I was able to 'press gang' someone to come with me. It was good and when I had a difficult day I had someone to coax me along.
Last year I walked from SJPP to Santiago. I was nervous. In the end I asked my cousin if he would walk with me for the first week. By doing that I was helped through the first part - building up stamina and meeting friends. When he left I realised I would never actually be 'on my own' and met many amazing people. I did have a couple of difficult days - but somehow it just makes you stronger. You will probably feel better walking from Roncesvalles - and then maybe one day you will do it again from SJPP - or do another route. I am sure you will go again and again and again ......
It is strange how you gain inner strength but you will. Buen Camino. Jo
 

rioja routard

Active Member
This is totally amazing but I have just watched the film 'THE SECRET' went on Facebook and saw a
post from Ivar linking to this thread. I went on it and was the very issue that The Secret had been dealing with. Watch it, awesome. You will quickly realise how negative fear is.
 

Sagalouts

RIP 2015
Hi Hilda
please forgive me if I don't join in this group hug,it never fails to move me the strength of the people on this forum-the warmth and depth and understanding they show both here and on the Camino itself.
last year in my head I never thought or planned beyond that first day out of SJPP,I feared I would die of a heart attack but hey it didn't happen-but in my mind I died a hundred times in the weeks beforehand,but that's normal and that first day led to the second-each one a great victory.
this gives me a very slight insight into what its like being you-and it seems you keep looking at the big picture the grand journey which can only lead to failure-go instead for the small victories day by day.start from sjpp once more, you know what its like you gave up before the day was out 6/7Km up the road,now all you have to do is walk 10 clicks to Orisson and a great victory can be celebrated-book in there for a few days if need be and take photographs of all the people dealing with what you and to a lesser extent all of us who have walked that road have had to deal with-you could go home there and then having done more than you did 2 years ago and feeling good-or you could go on for just one more day and Everest can be conquered.
I'm sure that talking and planning makes us all feel good but its only by putting one foot in front of the other that the battles are won.
Ian
 

mikepreston

New Member
These responses are amazing, encouraging and so informative!! Deep down I too really want to experience this wonderful journey but have been hesitant and fearful for the self same reasons. Which Camino? For how long? Will I get lost? End up with no place to sleep? I too need "my own space" at times, whilst at other times I love company!! I have only been part of this forum for a few days and already my confidence is building and my knowledge of what to expect is growing daily!! Hopefully we may meet up very soon!! Many thanks to you all!!
 

skilsaw

Veteran Member
This thread of comments shows the outpouring of compassion, understanding and caring to a future pilgrim from those that have been there.

It is beautiful.

I love this part of the Camino.

David, Victoria, Canada.
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
atlanticheart said:
What I find a little tricky is how to keep up with the affirmations and yet still prepare for the possible negative things (blisters, painful feet, injuries, getting lost...) that might happen. Because it seems naive almost to say that I'm on a wonderful journey, and my body is healthy, etc. Because last time I tried doing the camino, I made myself think it was going to be easy, which it wasn't. So, basically, I'm afraid of setting myself up for failure again by just focusing on the positive...

Hilda

Do not imagine the positive things that may occur and do not imagine the negative things that may occur. I know this is very difficult for creative people who can imagine almost anything but whatever you imagine it almost certainly will not be what happens.

As someone has already said when you have your mind in the wake-walk-eat-(pray)-sleep mode and all you have to think about is your next step, it is almost meditation. That is what makes the last few days and the end of the journey so difficult.

Buen Camino
William
 

alipilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Listed in my signature
When I was walking and I was bored, tired, cold, depressed, frustrated, or scared I always tried to stop myself and think: I only need to get thru ' right now' and I'd think back on so many incidents in my life where I thought: 'how can I possibly do this / or when will this end?' but I obviously did somehow because here I was. In bad moments, you only need to live 5 minutes at a time. If you're walking and your feet are tired, make yourself a goal: in 5 more minutes I will stop, or look ahead and say: when I get to that tree I'll take a break. If you are sad or frustrated or tired of walking, try to turn your mind to something that gives you pleasure: for me it was redecorating my house/garden, or planning what I would do if I won the lottery - anything that was far removed from what I was doing and I ended up strolling along without paying attention to my feet or how much longer I had to make it to my destination. I walked in Spring, and no matter what, nothing could stop the sight of a bright red poppy flower from cheering me up. They became my good luck charm. Every time I saw one, it brightened my mood.

My feet hurt. Yes. And not from blisters. Just from walking day in and day out. Not all the time. At the end of the day, during the day, or first thing in the morning when they first touch the ground, and you have to walk a bit like a penguin for a while until they loosen up. I just don't think the human foot is used walking all day long any more and it's a shock to the system. It doesn't mean that it's debilitating. There's a difference between 'hurt' and 'pain' and that's important to realize. You have to know what you bear, and what is too much.

Things might be difficult, but that doesn't mean they aren't worthwhile. You just need to look for what is 'the bright side' in everything.

If you really want to do it, you CAN make it happen. Good luck.
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Yes, Aliplgrm - you have nailed it. It's the short term goals that make success. And I mean SHORT TERM goals. When we were walking the Camino Ingles last spring, it was about 38 degrees plus with huge humidity and we were climbing what seemed to be impossibly steep trails through very dense and claustrophobic forests. All day we said " OK, we'll walk 30 steps and then stop" or "We will walk to the next tree in the shade". So I guess what I'm trying to get across is that you need a goal for the day, but you need little tiny goals that you can accomplish and celebrate as you go along.So if you do your whole day, no matter where you are,by making these little goals (oh, I know they look silly to many of you)_, you will be able to carry on and accomplish your ultimate goal.

And I might add - don't spend a lot of time thinking about your fears - I agree with Ian - just get on with it after all. Don't spend any more time agonizing. You want to do it, so just start walking, and BUEN CAMINO!!

lynne
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
And here's my final thought on this dilemma - very common among all of us. It speaks to getting into that automatic walking towards the end of your camino where you have the luxury of meditation.

Do everything with a mind that lets go. Do not expect any praise or reward.
If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.
If you let go completely, you will know complete peace and freedom. Your struggles with the world will have come to an end-

achaan chah


lynne
 

blossom

New Member
Hi Hila

I am very much like you, I worry about everything. I am not keen on storms, dogs, or being in an isolated place (which is crazy as that is what the camino is about). I do like to cycle through villages etc. ie do it in a way that I can cope with and hope that does not spoil my husbands journey. I like to know if there is shelter at various points especially cycling over the montains, and I do take a dog dazer. So basically I am saying I try and cover my fears with back up. Most people dont understand this as they say "dont worry" but I wonder what worries/fears these people may have. Perhaps they havent done anything that tests there fears. At least you and I are testing ours!!!

I am reading Lone Traveller, by Anne Mustoe - it is very inspiring - but again I would love to cycle from Townsville to Darwin, but again in a way that I can cope with - which is not the same as Anne's, but nevertheless would still be a great achievement - and again why do we feel we have to put our selves through situations we are not confortable with. I have done these in past and really don't want to any more.

Let me know how you get on .

Very best wishes to you.

Blossom
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
The talk about dogs on the Camino are overkill... you could tell just as many stories about people getting hit by cars in your town... almost none.

I have walked many times and have never been chased by a dog.

Once, a dog barked at me, and I took the advice from this forum to stop, bend down and pick up a rock, and that little bugger couldn't run away fast enough!

It will be fine.
Just go.
 
William Marques said:
Do not imagine the positive things that may occur and do not imagine the negative things that may occur. I know this is very difficult for creative people who can imagine almost anything but whatever you imagine it almost certainly will not be what happens.
Yes, that is extremely difficult for me. I like to picture every scenario a billion times before I do something. And you're right, what you imagine is sure not to happen.

I think the small goals are very important, and I'd forgotten about that. I kept thinking about all 800km of it, and that is quite overwhelming. But, if I can break it down into small goals, maybe it'll work. Guess I'll find out in September, if I do decide to go. =)

Hilda
 

benandsam

Member
Once you start it will get easier, if you have realistic goals for each day and get no injuries, the communal good feeling and your determination will make it all worthwhile and you will reach your targets.
I have hotels/pensiones/albergues booked so there is no room for error with me but if you are staying in hostels all along the way just stop when you have had your daily fill
There is no age limit or fitness limit tot he camino , do what you are happy to do within your boundaries
good luck to everybody who are walking this year
 

tonyvolpe

New Member
Atlanticheart -

Someone above said get some shoes one and a half sizes larger than those you normally wear. I think that is VERY BAD ADVICE. Sorry, but it just is. Loose shoes will move on your feet and rub the skin. The potential for blisters with large shoes is very high. Of course tight shoes would be even worse, but no one would suggest that of course. Get your normal size shoes and wear two thin pairs of cotton socks. Wash them EVERY day and make sure they are dry before you wear them again. Make sure you wear your boots for a good many miles before you begin your camino. I now wear modern, mid priced fabric boots because they are light and comfortable. I walk eight miles every day without any problem and stepping up to a longer distance is not hard once you get a basic level of fitness.

Don't try to carry too much. You can buy everything you might need so DON'T ENCUMBER YOURSELF WITH LOTS OF BAGGAGE. Keep EVERYTHING down to 10 kg max and you will float along. If you are a heavy person yourself, consider putting your baggage on a small trailer and pulling it along with you. Last time I went on camino, I carried my bag and another person's on a small bicycle. I just pushed it all along as I walked because the other person was not really strong enough to carry their bag. I was rather surprised about how easily this worked out. Wheeling is a good alternative if a person is more aged or infirm. I saw a couple walking in 2008 and the man was pulling all the baggage for both of them on a home made trailer built on a pair of wheels from a golf trolley.

I think it is important to prepare yourself physically to reduce the misery of over exhaustion. If you have the time, start off walking three miles a day five days a week and after each week, increase the distance by another mile a day that in about seven weeks you are walking ten miles. From there, it is easy to go to twelve or thirteen miles on the camino.

As for your fears, I am probably not qualified to help you much. All I can say is that I have felt lost and vulnerable (not speaking more than about five words of Spanish) as I travelled to the starting points of my various short camino trips. However, I have found the Spanish people to be wonderfully helpful and generous with their time in helping me find my way to the pilgrim trail. Once I got there onto the camino, I felt completely at home. The locals could not have been more helpful, and everything is there for your needs - as long as they are simple needs, and of course, what else is the camino about?

I am not really a religious person at all, but once when I was on a long and pretty dangerous motorcycle journey abroad, when I got lost and worried or felt threatened by dangerous traffic or mechanical troubles that threatened to leave me stuck miles from anywhere in darkness or bad weather, I made a little prayer, over and over. It was this: 'Look Lord - here I am.' I found this very reassuring, which is a bit embarrassing for me to say now, because I am not religious at all. Maybe it will help you too.

Good luck, and remember, we are all the same. We all live and we all die. The difference is what we do in between, and I emphasise the DO. Why let undefined fears stop you DOING something you want to do?

Another thing I think of when I feel intimidated or scared, or if I want to back out of something that is hard, I remember that my grandfather was a young soldier at the Battle of the Somme in WW1. Like thousands of other young men in July 1916, he was given a rifle and a handful of ammunition and sent to assault a massively defended enemy line. He walked a mile across open ground into terrible machine gun fire and was shot through the chest on the way. He survived amazingly, but took five years to recover from infections that he received in his wounds in those pre-antibiotic days. What have I ever had to face that was as bad as that? Nothing is the answer to that. My problems are tiny by comparison. He'd have thought the camino was a holiday, I think, and in comparison it really is.

Best wishes and buen camino.
 

tonyvolpe

New Member
benandsam said:
Once you start it will get easier, if you have realistic goals for each day and get no injuries, the communal good feeling and your determination will make it all worthwhile and you will reach your targets.
I have hotels/pensiones/albergues booked so there is no room for error with me but if you are staying in hostels all along the way just stop when you have had your daily fill
There is no age limit or fitness limit tot he camino , do what you are happy to do within your boundaries
good luck to everybody who are walking this year

Some time ago I realised that the present is the only reality we have. The past is gone, and the future does not exist. So we have 'the now' and we should be content in it and enjoy what it brings.Mostly it is good, and when it is not, it gives us a task to do - to make it better. Mostly, everything we meet can be solved, somehow.

This is a picture which helps me to remember this.



Like this path, time stretches behind us and also forward into the future, but the only reality is the here and now.
 
It may seem like a little thing or an oversimplification but, when I am approaching something that is intimidating me or scaring me I sing the song Be Not Afraid to myself. I always sing until I reach the line, "Know that I am with you through it all." That gives me strength and I know I can do whatever it is even if I am still nervous, God is with me.

Louise
ctlou
CT - USA
 

dmmorris

Member
Dear Hilda,

Hello and thank you! Thank you for being so raw in your emotions of fear. I too am feeling scared. I plan to attempt my first camino in mid to late June. My fears are a bit different but real nevertheless. I truly believe that we will be better people, and women at peace, if we face these fears head on. I trust and believe with all my heart that what we're hearing from other pilgrims will be a life changing experience for us. So I too, having never done this, do encourage you to yield to the pull you are feeling to return to the camino! I too have been feeling pulled since reading my first camino book last year and finished a second just recently.

I love to travel yet fear how to travel on plane, bus, and train with a backpack as I plan on also visiting family/friends in France and Italy for a total trip of 8 weeks with the goal of no more than 5 weeks on the camino. I'm hoping to become "one" with my backpack because I can just hear europeans saying, "Surely, that clumsy idiot must be an American! They are soooo annoying!" (Of course, I've heard much worse about Americans in my travels)

I fear failing to finish. I'm not typically a quitter but the reality is that I'm overweight and out of shape. Reading all of the supportive and encouraging responses you have gotten (and some from my post about feeling "nervous") has lifted my spirits. I'm feeling more hopeful now with all the advice about taking the journey one step at a time, one day at a time, marching to the beat of our own drum rather than the typical expectation... which now I'm beginning to question, was there ever a "norm?" We can do this at our own pace Hilda! Yes? (I'm practicing the message from those who said to send out positive thoughts to the universe!)

On the other hand, if I don't make it, I fear having to face my family, friends, and the few colleagues I've shared this intended trip with... Which then makes me fear facing a "vanity" which I didn't consider I had. It's interesting how one thought just leads to another and then another and so forth! It's bad enough to be overweight and out of shape but I can just hear my Italian mom (whom I love, adore, and is my best friend) saying, "Deniiiise... if you a were a notta so overweighta and drinka so much wina, and youa still jog anda bika, you maybe coulda hava made dis walka!?"

Another fear for me is that of having to really "look at myself in the mirror." Pilgrims talk about all the time we have alone to think. All my life I've been accused of "over thinking" things. What the hell is going to happen to me now with even more think time? As Hape said, I hope to find myself and rediscover my relationship with God.

As mentioned before, this forum is a great place and pilgrims offer a wealth of information. I think many of us are finding a wealth that goes deeper beyond the physical. I wish you the best and will be sending positive thoughts and prayers your way that you WILL answer the calling to your spirit. You will!! Let me know if you change your mind and decide to walk in June! :)

Ciao~ Denise
 

dmmorris

Member
Dearest Hilda,

Plato once asked (my paraphrase):

"Are people good because they want to be good or because they fear being caught if doing bad?"

This is a question I solicited from my 6th graders recently as we held a socratic seminar to delve into the discussion. My point is that...

Although I may sound like I'm off the objective here, your honesty of your many fears has produced a numerous amount of responses soliciting a wealth of empathy, sympathy, advice, and encouragement. Speaking for myself (and I'm assuming you'd agree), I'm feeling a great sense of HOPE IN HUMANITY because look at all these experienced pilgrims that are offering their time and care to see to it that a stranger finds peace and joy along the camino, or at least having tried the camino. How can one not be filled with gratitude at such an outpouring, yes?

I pray that all these posts will encourage you to face your fears and go for it!

Meanwhile, thank you for opening such a topic because I plan to walk in June and all these responses have inspired me more than you could ever imagine. I feel inspired and jazzed up and hope you are feeling a renewed strength and confidence too!

Peace be with you~ Denise
 

flamidwyfe

New Member
Hilda... the midwife in me says to PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES AND JUST DO IT!

The mother in me says YOU CAN DO THIS... HAVE FAITH!

I think accomplishing this walk would be excellent for your emotional and physical health. Don't think about it, just make the plans, pack your bag and go!

Sandi
 
Thank you all for your wonderful support and advice.

I truly believe that we will be better people, and women at peace, if we face these fears head on.
So do I, but I am very afraid of failing to finish it, just like you. And I’ve already failed once before and I’m not sure what failing again would do to my already low self-esteem.

All my life I've been accused of "over thinking" things. What the hell is going to happen to me now with even more think time?
Same thing for me. I just hope it helps me find some inner peace, and helps me find myself. I want to figure out what I want in life, because right now I don’t have a clue.


Hilda
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
tonyvolpe said:
Some time ago I realised that the present is the only reality we have. The past is gone, and the future does not exist. So we have 'the now' and we should be content in it and enjoy what it brings.Mostly it is good, and when it is not, it gives us a task to do - to make it better. Mostly, everything we meet can be solved, somehow.

So important to remember. Thanks Tony!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
An Angel story about French people hating Americans

Denise, I just want to respond to your comment about clumsy Americans.

On the contrary, my experience was that people along the Camino from most countries really did enjoy talking to Americans! They treated us kindly and with great respect. Many voiced their desire to visit our country some day.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but I met angels and devils from all countries, mostly angels :)

They were mostly curious about our government. They would ask, "How is it that almost every pilgrim we meet does not approve of the Bush administration and his war, but he's still your President?" Not easy to give Government 101 courses on the Way.

In France, Joe took a walk one evening without me because I was feeling poor.
I asked him to call if he'd be past 11 pm.

About 10:30 the phone rang.
It was a woman with a French accent telling me she had "kidnapped my husband."

Well, he wasn't my husband, but close enough.

Long story short, there was tall, lanky Joe in zipped off shorts and a tee=shirt standing on the steps of a Cathedral from where he heard heavenly music. A big Rolls Royce pulls up and a very well-dressed, jeweled woman gets out. She eyeballs him, then boldly walks up and says, "Are you an American?"

This was RIGHT after the 911/war began and people had advised us NOT to go to France.
But Joe, being Joe, smiled and said, "I sure am!"

She grinned and gave him a bear hug, this tiny little bejeweled lady!
Then, with tears in her eyes, she told him the story of how the American soldiers had saved the life of her family during the War.

She then invited him to join her inside, where there was a black-tie affair going on.
Joe looked down at his attire, and she waved her hand in the air, and insisted he be her guest.

He had a lovely time.
A Rolls Royce delivered him to our inexpensive alburgue.
THIS french lady LOVED Americans and showed her appreciation by wining and dining him to the tee!
 

dmmorris

Member
Hello Again Hilda,

Obviously we are both fearing "failure." However, from all the replies I've read on your post, along with some private ones I've received, I KNOW we can do this!!!

One person commented something like this, "Who said there had to be any law about how far one walks per day? Or whether or not you may need to rest a couple of days, or may want to "cheat" and skip a stage or two? Just take it one step at a time, one day at a time, and do what you can do, even if it means not making it to Santiago. Just do what you can and enjoy it along the way!"

Now, I don't recall if all of that came from one person or if I combined advice from a few pilgrims... nevertheless, it was just what the doctor ordered! And it probably seems silly that I wasn't thinking like that to begin with! I just assumed that I had to walk the camino in what seems the expected average amount of kilometers per day. I also assumed that I HAD to sleep in hostels/refugios, etc. but know I have internalized that I can do this however the heck I want! If I only walk 10k and sleep in a hotel, great. If I walk 20k and sleep in a hostel, great as well!

We have options that should be dictated only by our bodies, mind, and spirit. So Hilda, we CAN do this! Trust me, it's not like a I don't hear that tiny little voice saying, "Yeah, sure. Just wait till you get there! Ha!" But I'm fighting that negative voice with all my might because I don't want to be robbed of this opportunity. If that negative voice gets too loud, I will simply go back and re-read all the great advice you have gotten from pilgrims worldwide who've been nothing less than awe-inspiring (and humorous to boot).

I can see for you that it is much more intimidating because you tried it once already. But how does that proverb go? "Failure is not in falling but in refusing to get back up." So, you fell off the horse, now it's time to get back on ride that pony!

See... here I am trying to encourage you and that little voice is whispering "who the hell are you to give advice?!?" So, I'm off to go re-read some of those posts and find that positive place again! Shall we?

Ciao~ Denise
 

dmmorris

Member
Hey Annie~

Thanks for the upbeat "angel" story. I was in Europe in 2004 and 2006 and Mexico in 2005 and it wasn't so much that people were anti-American as it was anti-American government or anti-Bush due to the Iraq war. I was really tempted to pretend to be a Canadian!

However, I did befriend a gal from Stockholm while in Mexico for 3 weeks and she DID have a bad taste in her mouth for what she called "arrogant, ignorant, and obnoxious" Americans. She warmed up to me and we've been friends ever since... me going there, she here, and meeting in Italy.

Thanks also for all the good info on PM. I plan to print it out and review it regularly between now and June!!

Ciao~ Denise
 

FilmTurtle

New Member
This has been such a helpful thread. I am so glad Hilda decided to be open about this ("raw" was the word someone used).

Fear! I have had buckets of it. I am from Los Angeles and like a previous poster (Denise, I think) I am leaving for Europe for several weeks beforehand to work. I will be gone nearly three months and have never been abroad this long (nor do I speak more than a few words of Spanish). I am a freelance writer and this means I am always short of money. Lack of money has been a BIG fear as I planned this trip. I live alone and have had to figure out how to pay for my rent and bills while I am on the Camino as well as my airfare and the cost of my equipment and what if I need to stay in a hotel and my card is not accepted, etc. etc.

I could go on and on about my fears and concerns about money and having a place to stay. Right now, I still have not worked out a place to stay in Pamplona or in Compostela when I finish the Camino and I start my walk on Monday, May 3 from SJPdP.

I am also overweight and out of shape and this has led to another whole series of medical concerns. I have been working very hard to come up with new things to stress over.

However, I have had several people tell me lately that I am over-preparing. The Camino will provide. I love this idea and I am trying to accept it into my heart, but I am a worrier and a planner by nature. It has not been easy. I feel like I am already receiving my Camino lessons.

I have been telling myself, over and over, that I will begin walking from SJPdP on May 3, come hell or high water or bankruptcy, and that is the end of that. I am almost ready to believe it.

Regards,
Ben
Los Angeles
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Hey Ben -

I think you will learn a great deal from reading these threads, so spend some time going through all the information and advice.

You will still worry. You will still be overweight. You will still need to make adequate preparations and make allowances for a Plan B. You will still need to train. You will have the money you have.

At the end of it all, don't waste your energy on worry. Once you have done all you can, try to use your time just reading and dreaming and writing about what it is going to be like on the Way. On the best, most important adventure of your life.

Buen camino.

lynne
 

FilmTurtle

New Member
lynnejohn said:
Hey Ben -

I think you will learn a great deal from reading these threads, so spend some time going through all the information and advice.

You will still worry. You will still be overweight. You will still need to make adequate preparations and make allowances for a Plan B. You will still need to train. You will have the money you have.

At the end of it all, don't waste your energy on worry. Once you have done all you can, try to use your time just reading and dreaming and writing about what it is going to be like on the Way. On the best, most important adventure of your life.

Buen camino.

lynne

Lynne -- Thanks for the encouragement. Yes, I have spent most of the day reading through the threads here. Somehow I overlooked this board until just three weeks before my Camino trek... Go figure! There is a great wealth here.

Funny thing about fear/worry: I never used to be this way. One of the reasons I am doing the Camino is because I am turning 40 and I want to get back to that person I lost somewhere along the way. I hope to find him on the Camino.

I am just trusting that I will figure things out as needed. I go through bouts of severe anxiety, it passes. Onward.

Regards, and thanks again,
Ben
Los Angeles
 

dmmorris

Member
Hi Ben,

Lynne offers great advice!!!

Wow, 3 weeks to go? Yikes, I'll bet you're full of both fear and excitement at the same time. You will have to let us know how it goes for you!

It's really strange because this forum has become quite addictive to me. I'm not a big Facebook fan but now can understand how people get so "hooked." We are moving into unkown territory (and yet not so unkown when we read what pilgrims share with us) and so we are hungering and thirsting for as much knowledge as possible.... along with positive energy and encouragement and support!

I like how Lynne and others have tried to assure us the value of keeping this simple. I need to hear things like don't over plan or over think this- just do it and enjoy. I hate when I take simple things and complicate them.... arrggghhhh....

I'm so excited for you! As they say... Buen Camino~ Denise
 

dmmorris

Member
ps-

Ben.... don't know if you intended to be funny or not but meant to share also that you gave me quite a good chuckle when you said you were "working hard to find one more thing to stress about" and when you said "come hell, or highwater, or bankruptcy!" (Again, I liked what Lynne had to say.)

You are going to be just fine! I'm so thankful Hilda opened this up... also- you'll be amazed too at the people who will send you a PM for a more intimate "I feel your pain" and "yes, we can do this!"

Ciao~ Denise
 

FilmTurtle

New Member
dmmorris said:
Hi Ben,

Lynne offers great advice!!!

Wow, 3 weeks to go? Yikes, I'll bet you're full of both fear and excitement at the same time. You will have to let us know how it goes for you!

It's really strange because this forum has become quite addictive to me. I'm not a big Facebook fan but now can understand how people get so "hooked." We are moving into unkown territory (and yet not so unkown when we read what pilgrims share with us) and so we are hungering and thirsting for as much knowledge as possible.... along with positive energy and encouragement and support!

I like how Lynne and others have tried to assure us the value of keeping this simple. I need to hear things like don't over plan or over think this- just do it and enjoy. I hate when I take simple things and complicate them.... arrggghhhh....

I'm so excited for you! As they say... Buen Camino~ Denise

Hi Denise -- Thank you for the kind words. (Yes, I was making a joke at my own expense about working to find new things to stress over.)

More and more lately I have been having Camino veterans tell me (or I have been reading the same general advice) that I am over-preparing, or to avoid the danger of over-preparing and to just keep things simple. So I am working on that...but not doing a very good job of it, frankly.

I think I'm overdoing it because this is just brand-new territory and I have no damn idea what to expect. So it's a good lesson in just letting go and letting God. (I'm not particularly religious but my grandmother used to say that all the time and I feel like it applies.)

Cheers,
Ben
Los Angeles
 

Canuck

Veteran wanderer
Camino(s) past & future
?
Piligrimin said:
...you gave me a good reason to rejoin this Forum...

Hi there stranger, long time no see.

Welcome back! and don't be afraid to speak your mind. Not everyone disagreed with you.

Cheers,
Jean-Marc
 
Hilda, with your brave post that began this thread, you gave me a good reason to rejoin this Forum, and it is due to you that I have returned here.
Pilgrimin, I’m glad I could help you overcome the fear of re-joining this forum simply by sharing my many fears.


And it probably seems silly that I wasn't thinking like that to begin with! I just assumed that I had to walk the camino in what seems the expected average amount of kilometers per day. I also assumed that I HAD to sleep in hostels/refugios, etc.
Denise, this is for some reason what I believed when I planned my first pilgrimage too. And I have no idea why. But, even now that I’ve been thinking about this possible pilgrimage, I have been thinking in 25km/day stages. I’ve finally started planning in 16-20km stages, and I think I’d be more comfortable with that. In my new plan, I don’t walk over 25km a single day. I would actually prefer to walk a maximum of 20km/day, but some days would have to be slightly longer, on account of me wanting to stay exclusively at hotels/casa rurales..etc.

Does anyone know how far in advance one would have to book accommodation along the way in mid-September to late October this year? A week? Two weeks? A month?

Oh, and another fear of mine: snakes. Are there many along the way?

Hilda
 

dmmorris

Member
Hello Hilda & Piligrimin,

I tried to respond twice last night and it appears nothing went through... I asked myself, "Did I not click the right button or did I just over indulge in Cabernet?"

My point? Forgive me if this message, although written differently each time, keeps reappearing!

Once again Hilda, you've hit a "fear" nerve in many of us and what a relief to see so many of us sharing in the same fear. However, I found myself wanting to offer you advice when maybe I shouldn't because I've never done the camino before... and this topic lead to a heated discussion with my boyfriend and I last night... but at the risk of offending you, or anyone for that matter, I would highly encourage you to re-read the threads on your post and consider again what we are hearing...

You shared that you tried and failed after one day. I'm soooooo afraid of the same myself! But because of the advice offered, I'm giving myself permission to go only as far as my body tells me... even if only 5 or 10k! And... I plan on doing so the first few days or even the first week if it means I don't have to bail out. It sounds like our bodies adjust after a few days or the first week and before we know it, our legs do the walking while our upper body just follows (don't remember who shared that one- John??) and before we know it, 25k is the norm!

Therefore, I would like to invite you to be gentle to yourself and not place a minimum or maximum amount of kilometers but simply listen to your body and breathe in the camino. It sounds like we both have similar objectives and therefore, let us not be robbed of attaining our goal, si? I understand we have different fears, but fear is fear, period. I have found myself repeating over and over the midwife who said, "Put on your BIG girl panties." Hilda, another pilgrim said, "You don't choose the camino, it chooses you." (Lynne?) You are being pulled back- follow the advice given of taking it one step at a time, one day at a time, one trip at a time. Girl... it's Your camino... no one else's. This is a spiritual journey for us, not an athletic conquest, si? Meditate and find peace in your contemplations.

Compassionately ~ Denise

Piligrimin-

I'm thrilled for you that Hilda's post has opened a door you once closed. I have no idea as to the silly posts you feel caused you to take a hiatus from the Forum but I feel I can connect in the sense that I sometimes regret what I write. I am free spirited, fun loving, compassionate, but unfortunately can be quite hot headed and way too emotional!!

I was pleased to see you not only rejoin but then today, see you are getting quite the welcome back party!

I have no idea as to your loss of certainty or hope or faith in this last year but having gone through a divorce 2 years ago after 25 yrs. of marriage, can relate to uncertainty myself. I will be sending positive thoughts your way and a prayer too.

Blessings~ Denise
 
Denise,
I know that you are right, and that everyone else here is right too for that matter. And I want more than anything to be able to walk the camino. It’s just I live my life trying to avoid anything that makes me uncomfortable and afraid, which sounds just about as boring as it is. And it’s one of the reasons I feel doing the camino would be so good for me. But, I’m so very used to avoiding life, that it makes me feel very frightened.
"Put on your BIG girl panties and just do it" is really very good advice, and just what I need to do, as it’s the very thing I’m avoiding in my life right now, and that I’ve always avoided doing.

I’m still having trouble committing to this, but I’m working on my self-esteem, and I’m out walking to see if I feel I can do it. And I will make up my mind, by the end of May. Until then, I’ll just worry a bit more =) and make more plans and read more posts on the forum so I’m as prepared as I’ll ever be.

Thanks again to everyone for your help and support.

Hilda
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Hi, especially to Ben and Hilda,

I've found a good, little way of helping to overcome fears/fear of life/ etc . . . to start small. I think of something smaller that I'm afraid of (eg patting a dog, talking to someone, public speaking, anything), acknowledge the fear, then make myself go ahead and do that thing. The overcoming of that particular fear, makes me feel great and my confidence builds. Then I attack a bigger fear.

One of my fears, public speaking, I worked on by forcing myself to speak at my daughter's wedding. That was terrifying but amazing. Felt so good. Then once I'd completed the first day's walk on our first camino, I felt I could do anything, I knew I could do the camino.

There will always be challenges on the trek. In fact, I feel it's the challenges and the conquering of, that ultimately give the the most meaning and satisfaction to walking any camino. Like life really.

Ben, you may find your old self on camino, but probably you'll find a different, stronger self.
All the best. Enjoy the journey.
Buen camino
Carole
Australia
 

dmmorris

Member
Hi Hilda,

Good for you that you are walking! Remember how pilgrims said to go at your own pace... do what's best for you? Well, maybe the same should apply in regards to when you return to Spain. Avoid limitations such as..."waiting until May to decide..." It was my teaching partner that pushed me to buy my airline tickets because she knew that once I did, I was committed.

Just go when it feels right for you but don't limit yourself to how much time of prep you need or how much self-esteem you need to build because I'm thinking we are going to be different people in some facet or another once we go and DO this. I'm so excited that the scales are beginning to tip in favor of positive change versus fear.

Be nice to yourself and take it one fear at a time, one day a time! =)

Ciao ~ Denise
 

FilmTurtle

New Member
CaroleH said:
Hi, especially to Ben and Hilda,

I've found a good, little way of helping to overcome fears/fear of life/ etc . . . to start small. I think of something smaller that I'm afraid of (eg patting a dog, talking to someone, public speaking, anything), acknowledge the fear, then make myself go ahead and do that thing. The overcoming of that particular fear, makes me feel great and my confidence builds. Then I attack a bigger fear.

One of my fears, public speaking, I worked on by forcing myself to speak at my daughter's wedding. That was terrifying but amazing. Felt so good. Then once I'd completed the first day's walk on our first camino, I felt I could do anything, I knew I could do the camino.

There will always be challenges on the trek. In fact, I feel it's the challenges and the conquering of, that ultimately give the the most meaning and satisfaction to walking any camino. Like life really.

Ben, you may find your old self on camino, but probably you'll find a different, stronger self.
All the best. Enjoy the journey.
Buen camino
Carole
Australia

Carole -- Thank you for the words of support. This Camino preparation has really kicked up a lot of anxiety related to money, old fears and new ones. I am just moving through them and moving on to the next one, as you suggest. I was supposed to travel on Sunday to Central Europe, via London Heathrow, to work for several weeks before setting off for Spain, and now we are all dealing with this cranky Icelandic volcano disrupting travel plans. I promise, some of my money fears feel pretty huge to me, but I had nothing to do with the volcano...

Cheers,
Ben
Los Angeles
 

dmmorris

Member
Hey Hilda and Ben,

Wanted to send you a PM but haven't figured that out yet... (unless I've been sent one first) nor how to attach a link... will have to check into this later. And Ben, I forgot you were heading for work BEFORE the camino... hope you aren't stuck in an airport for a few days waiting to fly but rather were still at home getting prepped to go before the eruption turned things upside down! FYI- your humor will get you through anything, I'm sure!

Meanwhile, got an email from a friend a I use to ride horses with (been over 5 years) and she attached a video of a gal riding in a horse competition with NO bridle/reins or saddle. The ride was dedicated to her dad who had just passed away but had taught her to "TRY NEW THINGS." I couldn't help but think of this "fear" thread. The gal performs to the music of Tim McGraw's, "Live Like You Were Dying." Get your kleenex out and be ready to move mountains... ha! (You don't have to ride a horse to appreciate this.)

This video and message also made me think of the film, "Bucket List." May we be so inspired to live like we are dying! If interested, go to Youtube.com and search for Stacy Westfall's Championship Run 2006. I guarantee you will be inspired!

Ciao~ Denise
 

FilmTurtle

New Member
Hi Denise -- As of Friday evening, I am still in Los Angeles packing and keeping an eye on this volcano throwing a temper tantrum. Most flights through the weekend into London Heathrow have been canceled, but as it turns out a few flights from the U.S. have been re-routed into Scotland and passengers then bused into London. So I might get in the air as scheduled after all. We'll see. I imagine the airport will be a sea of delight. But I am not going to let a little bit of dust stop me from getting to Spain.

Cheers,
Ben
Los Angeles
 

dmmorris

Member
Hi Ben!

I noticed after yesterday's post that you weren't flying out until Sunday. However, sounds you may now be re-routed to Scotland. I heard Ireland was open but didn't realize Scotland was. At least in Europe many people travel by train... that's a plus. Although you'll have to cross the sea, at least you still have 2 weeks to go or so, si? I am soooo excited for you!!! Positive thinking... + + +

So Ben, I'm curious to ask why you chose the Frances Route at this time of year? Choosing a route was such a circular task for me (time of year/level of difficulty/ country and language/ etc. ). The one I'm taking wasn't the one I had intended to do... but it's going to be wonderful!

If you ever have time, I hope you'll watch that video I referred to. I couldn't help but think of people on this thread like Hilda (fearful of almost everything), you (mostly afraid in areas of finance) and me (mostly afraid of failing). I don't remember who the pilgrim was, but he mentioned something like the past was gone, the future doesn't exist, so the only reality we have is the present.

Let's live like today is our last!

May you have safety and success in tomorrow's travels as well as on the camino~ Denise
 

Coquelicot

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from SJPDP (May-June 2010)
Hello :D I am Marianna, form Montreal (Canada), and I'll start walking the Camino Frances from SJPP on May 19th. I am introducing myself via this thread because, even though I have been reading and learning for months now, thanks to this forum, funnily, I was afraid to post anything!

I want to join all those who answered you, Hilda, and wish you courage in overcoming your fears, fears that are common to most of us.

I want to tell you my fears because maybe writing about them will help overcome them...

I am afraid that I idealized the camino and will not enjoy myself. I want to walk the camino to have time to think about who I am and for simply being in nature, but am afraid that because of the Holy Year there will be too much agitation and people surrounding me and I wont be able to relax.

I also want to walk the camino to gain confidence because I feel that I am, as Russians say, an "indoor plant"; a person who does not experience the world. One way to experience the world is to interact with its inhabitants :) However, I always tend to alienate myself from everyone. I am afraid that this is what I will do on the camino...I won't be able to open myself to other people and will stay hidden in my shell, having the illusion that I am seeing and experiencing something, while I'll be doing the same thing I usually do.

I am also afraid of dogs, bedbugs, thunderstorms, of not being fit enough and the rest!

I am afraid of being stressed, afraid of not finding a bed, rushing through the stages..

Oh yes! I am afraid of being irrational or of doing stupid mistakes. Like for example thinking that the bus arrives at 5pm while it arrives at 15:00 pm ...that sort of thing... :roll:

I am also afraid of being too proud after I finish the camino, and of building my confidence on that...but I guess that's natural :) I am not a saint.

Yes..writing does help...I feel confident already, but I'll still post this to overcome my first fear :)

Thank you for keeping this forum alive, Marianna.
 

dmmorris

Member
OK- so I'm a bit embarrassed that I am on this forum so frequently... but I'm just so pumped about walking the camino that I can barely sleep!

For Hilda (and others like me) struggling with fear, I just got another book by Joyce Rupp titled, "Walk In A Relaxed Manner." I haven't read it yet but I did peruse through photos and she includes a photo and inspirational piece at the beginning of each of her chapters. They all seem to have a purpose and so thought I'd share a few that might tie into our fears:

Ch6: "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of humankind as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing at all." ~ Helen Keller

Ch7: "If I'm slavishly attached to the previous moment or if I'm already living tomorrow's moments, then I am not free for the moment of the eternal now." ~ Marcina Wiederkehr

Ch19: "What would it be like to open our hearts to fear, to befriend it with wonder, as one would a deer in the forest?" ~Dawna Markova

Ch25: "Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside dreams. Who looks inside awakens." ~ C. G. Jung

I'm off to read what sounds a great Camino Memoir... can't wait to make connections between Rupp's chosen quotes and how they related to her Camino experience ~ Denise
 
@Ben

Re monthly payments of bills. Prior to leaving for my camino, I had set standing instructions via Internet banking (recurring bank transfers, and bill payments). This allows for undisrupted payments to cover the minimum payments, and for rental, phone, water and electricity bills.

More importantly I set up a min sum being paid to my credit card. This is to ensure if I should run out of cash and need to use my credit card, it will not be rejected because of a late payment.

This also allows me to monitor all transactions via the net as I travel from place to place. Net is very accessible on the camino. That said, I am very careful about accessing my banking accounts using the PC available to the public.

I would advice purchasing a local sim card, and if possible accessing your internet bank accounts with your mobile. Cheap, and convenient.

Remember, just one foot in front the other. And foot by foot, you will arrive at wherever you arrive.

All the best
Rebecca
 

elsee27

New Member
Hi Hilda

I hope you manage to do the camino at some point.. This is the first time i have posted on the board and its obvious your not alone with your concerns!!

I walked part of the way last year for 15 days and was felt like the most scared person on the planet .. felt totaly out of my depth and spent the first few days practically crippled with anxiety and counting down the days untill i could get home.

Luckily i stayed and i ended up having on of the best experiences ever although at times it can be tough.. The though of the albergues terrified me but by the end of the fortnight we always tried them first..

(Dont put too much pressure on yourself easier said than done i know!)After spending the first few days desperate to return home i spent the follwing year wondering when i can go back which is something i still cant believe :)

Good luck with everything

Buen camino when it comes !!x
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Fear is normal and natural. You´re taking on a challenge most people won´t even consider, and facing weeks of Unknowns. And even well into it you will still be dealing with it... will there be a cash machine at the next town? Will that dog bite me? Will anyone in this place speak English? Will I be bored/hurt myself, or boring/hurtful to others? And you might well get sick, or stuck, or broke. But you´ll also become better, and un-stuck, and someone will spot you some Euros.
You might not make it all the way. Even so, I´ll bet the farm you´re going to survive. You´re going to find your limits, and you might just find out you are much stronger than you ever imagined.

Relax. Trust. It´s going to be great. And nothing like you imagined it before.

Rebekah
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Hi Elsee,
First post . . . . well done. Isn't it the BEST feeling to persevere, in spite of the fears, and to walk your camino, to sit back, exhausted, at the end of the first day, then at end of each and every day, to look at the map and see where you've walked. I was blown away every time. Could hardly believe it . . . and it felt so good. :D

Buen camino.
Carole.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Maybe some of what we call 'fear' is due to the fact that we know many things are going to be out of our control as we walk, and we really are not sure if we are going to 'make it'. We are so used to the illusion, much of the time, that our lives are under our control...

I know that as I walked up the hill out of Le Puy, I had a mixture of absolute joy and terrible nervous anticipation within me. I knew I was absolutely in the 'right place'- and that walking for an extended period in the outdoors was just what I wanted to do. But I had no idea how I was going to manage walking on my own, without a companion, with a pack that already seemed too heavy, with no place booked to spend that first night, whether I would slip and break my ankle in the very early days and need to catch a plane home.... I wasn't even sure if I was going to make it up the first steep hill....

I guess one of the best things about getting out there and walking so far is that you are soon too tired to worry about all those things. Sil talks about getting in the zen zone.... You just keep putting one foot in front of the other....

I know that somewhere in my early days, when my feet felt very tender, I realised I would never make it if I kept thinking about my sore feet, and I made a conscious decision to think about all the things I was thankful for as I walked- the sunlight on the flowers, the spring leaves, the beautiful stone buildings I passed, the smile of the person who served me a hot chocolate...
Margaret
 

FilmTurtle

New Member
This thread has continued to be a source of great support and encouragement.

@Denise -- I chose this time of year to walk the Camino because I am turning 40 on June 6, so I timed the walk to finish on that date. I also realized that my 10th, 20th and 30th birthdays weren't particularly celebratory, so I wanted to also break that cycle.

@Rebecca -- Thank you for the advice. The issue hasn't been HOW to pay the bills but making sure I actually had the money in the bank to make sure those automatic payments are covered. It's been a source of some anxiety.

Anyway, after a week's delay due to the Icelandic volcano's hissy fit, I am flying out to Heathrow tonight. I work all week, then travel Barcelona>Pamplona>SJPdP next weekend, to start walking on Monday, May 3. I'm taking the overnight train from Barcelona, have a room booked for Pamplona, and a taxi booked next Sunday to ferry me to SJPdP. I don't have a room booked that night, but I will just wing it. Everything available was miles out of town or too expensive. Onward!

Regards,
Ben
Los Angeles
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
All the best Ben. You are on the way. Enjoy it all and let us know how you are getting on along the way, just now and then. If you get the chance. It will be great. Just don't forget to breathe.

Buen camino. :D
Carole
 

dmmorris

Member
Ben,

I hope you had a comfortable and uneventful flight to England... ha!

I can't believe you will be starting in less than a week! I'm so excited for you!! I'm just grateful I have 7 weeks to try and get more hiking/walking in... and still shopping for backpack and shoes at this time along with the smaller bare necessities.

Looking forward to hearing from you along the way if possible. I personally think I will only email family/friends once per week from an internet cafe to assure them that all is well.

As you say, "Onward....!"

Best wishes and may you find what you are looking for... or perhaps what you need~ Denise

ps- Hilda... hope you are still reading and contemplating and thinking positive my dear!!
 
Carole, I too fear public speaking, so I realize how difficult that must have been for you. And I’m sure your daughter appreciated it a little more just because of it. =)

Marianna, “I am afraid that I idealized the camino and will not enjoy myself”, I too am afraid of this. Having wanted to walk it for so many years, I’ve built up an idea of what it will be like. And I know that it’s not good to do that, but it’s also very hard to get rid of your expectations… “I am also afraid of being too proud after I finish the camino, and of building my confidence on that...” Me too, although I think it’s a good thing to build your confidence on. It is after all a challenge, and if you manage, then why shouldn’t you build your confidence on it?

Elsee, thank you. “Crippled with anxiety and counting down the days until I could get home” sounds exactly like me on my first try. And it’s what I’m afraid will happen again. Guess I must find a good way to deal with my anxiety.

Rebekah, thank you. “and you might just find out you are much stronger than you ever imagined.” That’s what I’m hoping for. =)

Margaret, what you said about fear is so true. I think mainly it is that you worry about not being able to handle the things that might come up, and for me this fear is probably due to low self-esteem and that’s why I don’t trust myself.
Thinking about all the things you are grateful for sounds like a wonderful idea, and something that will likely enrich the entire camino.

Denise,
That video really is inspiring, and as I horseback ride, I realize just how difficult it is to ride like that.
“ps- Hilda... hope you are still reading and contemplating and thinking positive my dear!!”
Yes, still reading and contemplating, and thinking positive thought most of the time. Unfortunately some negative ones inevitably creep in.
 

dmmorris

Member
Hello Hilda,

I continue to be inspired by the wisdom and encouragement of ALL past pilgrims. I'm also inspired by the "soon-to--be" pilgrims as well because we are living in the unknown... and yet, not so unknown because of those who have walked before us.

I hear what you are saying since you've been there once already and feel you failed... but if you listen to what the pilgrims say... you DID take your first step! You also just shared that you ride horses... have you ever fallen or been bucked off? Then girl, you know when that happens, as much as we might fear it, we have to get back on! My worst incident was a broken rib and 2 days later I was up in the mountains and had to trade my wild boy for my friends tamer mare as I was in too much pain to ride Charlie for the weekend! And to be totally honest, I was on good drugs but had some "fear" whether my young gelding would get a wild hair and I wouldn't be up to it!!

Anyhow, excitement for the Camino grows within me every day. However, those little darts of doubt knock on my door as well. But I am forcing myself to try and think positive about the matter. Again, I will take it very slow and pace myself according to how my body speaks to me especially in my first week. I have read about how some folks do little training before they embark on the journey. I know that I must have some mileage under my belt or I will never make it. I have only about 5 weeks left to prepare but am committed to do so. I have found great solace and energy already in my hikes as of late. This goal has forced me to get back outside in fresh air and appreciate God's creation. I'm loving it and I wish I could just reach out and touch you and let my energy ignite you. But you know what? Even if you are not ready at this time, I'm visioning for you a confidence that over time, reading and contemplating the wisdom of pilgrims, you will gain a sense of confidence to return and successfully achieve your dream of journeying the Camino.

Hang in there and THINK POSITIVE~Denise
 

benandsam

Member
I read a lot of posts and some relate to me and some dont, FEAR related to me today.

I was on the sofa with my boxer dog SAM this morning and thought about himSAM going to kennels today for 26 days while im walking the camino.
I have had some family trauma of late and the thought of SAM being in kennels for 26 days while im away frightened me, what if something happens me, the poor guy will miss me. I start my camino on tuesday may 4th and i was wishing it was over and i was home with SAM
Scary
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF: '06: SJPP -> San. '10 - '11: Pamplona -> Finisterre '12: Ponferrada -> San. CN: '12: Irun -> San
Hi Hilda
I just joined this group and after browsing all the topics this one (entitled "fear") caught my eye. I am very impressed with your honesty as well as the responses! It was humbling to read.
I know tossing about quotes might be cliche, but I have one that I think is rather suitable. "Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared." Edward Vernon Rickenbacker.
I was afraid on my first camino (July/August 2006). But I knew that I had to submit to the path, to the way and let it (and life) just pull me along and direct me. It was, in all honesty, a very zen time in my life. I am scared now as I plan my next walk (July/August) but it is this fear that propels me. Trust in yourself and your strengths not your weaknesses. Trust in your ability and power not your shortcomings. Trust in your fellow pilgrims and the Spanish (they are lovely people!). Move one leg and then the next... :)
I hope this rant helps in just some small way!
ENDS
 

dmmorris

Member
Dear ENDS,

I do pray your post helps Hilda, it's absolutely inspiring! And one thing I've discovered is that... one KNOWS when the time is right.... when you are surely being called/pulled to the Camino!

Your last words of wisdom also made me think that it is that type of positive thinking I want to keep in mind should I seek a job change in my future... focus on strengths, not weaknesses... focus on our positives, not our negatives!

Grazie~ Denise
 

pat.holland

Member
Camino(s) past & future
C F 2007-10, Le Puy St. Jean 2011-13, C P 2015 Via F 2016-7
I think we can be stronger about starting the Camino if we think, not about failure or being as strong as other pilgrims or what people will think of us if we do fail or what might happen at home if we leave etc etc

but about why we are doing it. I know that for many of us there are several reasons, some clear, some under the surfact, some sensed only.

But if we can say to ourselves
'What am I looking for in the Camino?'
'What changes do I want to make during the Camino?'
'Where do I want to be as a person after the Camino'
then maybe those whispering doubts will be easier to resist, to dismiss.

Questions like these might take some time, maybe the whole Camino to answer but then that is the great value of the Camino, a contemplative space in which to think (and to have fun, companionship etc as well of course)

It might also be, as I read somewhere a German pilgrim said, that he went on the Camino not to find the answer but the question !
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF: '06: SJPP -> San. '10 - '11: Pamplona -> Finisterre '12: Ponferrada -> San. CN: '12: Irun -> San
" It might also be, as I read somewhere a German pilgrim said, that he went on the Camino not to find the answer but the question !"

Oh, I like this a lot! Thank you for sharing!
 

FilmTurtle

New Member
Hello, all -- I wanted to chime in here on this particular thread. Today was Day 12 of my Camino hike. I am currently in Belorado, Spain. I have been posting to the "Live from the Camino" thread elsewhere, if anyone is interested.

But I wanted to post here on this thread because of a lovely experience: Two night ago, in the albergue in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, I was having a very frank discussion with a pilgrim from New Zealand and she "recognized" me from this very forum and this thread in particular!

She had never posted here (hello, if you are reading this soon!) but specifically mentioned how this discussion about fear was helpful before she started off from her comfortable home so far away. Small, small world!

Cheers.
 

dmmorris

Member
Benandsam.... what a bummer! So sorry about your injury! But I'll bet up until then you gained quite an experience?? Do you want to return??

Filmturtle... thanks for the update. I tried to go to "Live From the Camino" and there were 59 pages. Any advice on how to go to your link more efficiently? Forgive my laziness in perusing 59 pages... ha!

Hope that you are being enlightened and pray you will not meet the same fate as Benandsam above with the rain and mud!

Experienced pilgrims... is there much rain and mud in June and July?

Ciao e grazie~ Denise
 

FilmTurtle

New Member
Denise -- I think it is a fairly simple process to jump right to the end of a long thread. You just have to look for the link to the most recent page (unless I misunderstood you).

As for weather, from May 3 through about May 17 (at post time it is May 20), I experienced almost constant rain, mud, wind and cold. This week has been sunny and temperate, not too hot. This has been the longest stretch without rain or cold in nearly three weeks. I would definitely recommend you pay close attention to weather reports.

Cheers.
 

Pacharan

Member
At the risk of incurring the wrath of sprinter62 :D I will add my small contribution. I don't read self-help books or suchlike (being a grumpy old cynic), so this is just my personal experience.

Prior to attempting the camino:
Problem 1: I am rather a control freak so had lots of general anxiety about general preparation and information for the camino. Solution : I spent a lot of time on here and had great help from the Confraternity of St James in London.
Problem 2 : Back, knee, hip problems. Solution : training programme and good physio, stretching properly throughout camino. Take rest days when you need to and factor these into your timetable.
Problem 3 : I had a very specific and debilitating fear of heights (panic attacks etc). Solution : I reluctantly sought help from a hypnotherapist and was amazed at the results.
Problem 4 : I like my privacy and was concerned that I would not cope in the refugios. Solution: I stayed at B&Bs in England with shared facilities and communal meals to get a little flavour of what I would encounter on camino.

On camino? I had no problem with heights at all. My knees were a bit of a nuisance on cambered tarmac but not enough to stop me walking. I did have to seriously learn some patience and tolerance in the refugios (after a major meltdown with a washing machine in Estella :shock: ) and I didn't enjoy meeting Mr Bedbug and his family. And of course I had to accept I had limited control over each day i.e. weather, food available, where to sleep etc.

My suggestions? Identify your greatest fears and try to alleviate/test them before you go on camino. This will give you confidence before you go. It's just like testing your kit or fitness.

And most importantly, however much you prepare, the camino will not be what you expect. Just try to go with the flow and enjoy the experience - even a non-religious hardbitten old miseryguts like me can come home with fantastic memories and a slightly more relaxed approach to the difficulties life throws up.
Although I am still learning :D and that's the best bit of all; you never quite finish your camino, whether you get to Santiago or not.
 

dmmorris

Member
Filmturtle,

When I "searched" under "Live from the Camino" it brought up 1474 matches embedded in 59 pages of blogging or threads.... or whatever these pages are called in tech language... ha! Does this clear up my confusion? I don't want to have to go through 59 pages to look for your updates. =) So if anyone can help out here, that'd be great!! Also, how long do you plan to walk again???

Pacharan,

You don't sound so "miseryguts" to me!! Thanks for the "sound" advice. It's especially welcome since I too have bad knees and lower back... was fit all my life until about 4 yrs. ago... hope the Camino kicks me back into gear physically, spiritually, and emotionally! Tee hee....

Grazie~ Denise
 

dmmorris

Member
Piligrimin,

I once heard that "the writer intends while the reader interprets".... not sure how to interpret what you are saying... have a few ideas swirling in my mind...

Grazie~ Denise
 
Okay, this is scary (!) but I've actually booked a flight to Pamplona for September 8th; will start walking the day after. I will be walking for a week, which will take me to Logroño, and then I'll decide if I'm done or if I want to continue. But, I've decided I must walk for a week. Otherwise I might quit, like last time.

I'll be walking slowly, with just 4kg in my backpack, including food and water. I'll be sending a bag ahead every day, and I'll be living exclusively in hotels, casa rurales etc. I realise this doesn't make me a "true" pilgrim, but I've stopped caring about that. Last time I cared a little too much about that; didn't allow myself to cheat at all. Now, if I feel too tired, I'll allow myself to take a taxi to the next town.

I wanted to thank all of you so much for your encouragement. It means a lot to me. And I'll most likely take your posts with me, either printed or on my iPod Touch, just in case I ever feel like giving up... =)


Hilda
 

elsee27

New Member
Good luck hilda!!

I was back again in May from st jean to Logrono .. was very tough as bad weather but i knew id be ok! I think this will be great for you.. just remember ...one foot in front of the other

Buen camino :D
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Good luck Hilda, I am thrilled for you. Fear is normal, we all experience it. You are well organised and you will succeed. All the best. Carole
 

gregdedman

Active Member
Hilda,

We are born with just two fears, Falling and loud noises.
Everything else is learnt as we go through our lives.
If you are scared of spiders, you may have watched as a young child, your mother or father scream at a spider, so you scream now too.

If we can learn to fear something, we are able to unlearn it too.

The place you find yourself right now is at a crossroads in your life.
You realise these fears, and you are saying 'NO!' and facing their deceptive ways.

The camino is about simplicity, not just of the body, but also of the mind.
Walk the way in whatever way you feel most comfortable, but keep saying 'NO!'.

When an obstacle appears in front of you say 'NO!', 'I WILL CONTINUE'.
When the rain is falling, look up, let the drops kiss your face, breath a huge breath and smile :D
When you feel a blister on a toe, stop at a stream. Take off your shoe and bathe it for a time.
When you cannot speak Spanish, point!
When you are tired, rest.
When you are lost, you will find your way when you breathe and think.
Don't be afraid to cry, don't be afraid of whats coming next, don't be afraid of others, don't be afraid of stopping because it is YOU who is in control.

Set yourself little targets, whatever feels more achievable to you.
From Pamplona, you follow the friendly yellow arrows and set yourself the target of a coffee break in 2 hours time. Stop, 'CHEERS' yourself for smashing your target, then set another.
If you do this, you will find that after day one, you have 10 sucesses and maybe one loss, a blister on your little toe. But don't forget, YOU can tend to this easily. It cannot stop you.

It will be important to set small targets, easy, bitesize, camino targets. Easily digestble, yummy tasting, tummy filling targets.

Please don't fear people. I'm walking my second Camino in November because the people I found on the Camino are some of the most wonderful human beings I have ever met.
The people and their kindness are, for me, what makes the Camino so special.

Most obstacles you are likely to face on the Camino, you have the power to move past.
You seem to have a power inside you that is stronger than most....the power to persevere and that I know will take you to your goal.

I remember from day 1, a saying that went around my head all the time.

'THERE IS NO WAY IM NOT GOING TO DO THIS!'

It will be the best thing you will ever do Hilda, I promise. In fact, for you, you stand to gain so much more than most, demolishing all those fears will give you a double helping of achievement.

I used to climb mountains with guests as part of my work and when they got scared I sat and spoke with them.
With time, space, breath and a guiding hand, they could explore that buffer between comfort and the unknown.
There will ALWAYS be time,
There will ALWAYS be space,
There will ALWAYS be breath in your lungs,
There will ALWAYS, ALWAYS be a guiding hand for you.

Just remember, 2 fears we have, the rest is learnt.
Its your time to unlearn those that hold you back.

May I wish you a warm BUEN CAMINO HILDA!!

Greg
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Hilda, I think you are a 'real pilgrim' and trust that you will not feel a 'cheat'. You are being honest, with yourself and others.
Being a pilgrim, surely, is the attitude in which you walk - (is it as pilgrimage, or for a long walk?) - more than the 'how' or how far you can get in a day, or in any one year.
Cheating is pretending to have walked unaided etc....

May God bless your walking and preparations.
Isaiah 40 v 28-31; particularly v31.
Buen Camino
Tia Valeria
 
Elsee, Carole, Greg & Valerie,
Thank you for your continued encouragement and enthusiasm!

I hope I can remember that it's all as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. =) Guess I'll have to write it down, just in case :wink:


Hilda
 

cilento

Member
I wanted to revive this thread because I found it so interesting to read everyone's responses on this topic.

What Margaret wrote about being grateful reminded me of something from my own experience. I thought I would share something that truly helped me to overcome fear on my first camino in '07.

I decided before I left that I would dedicate each day (I did 33) to someone or a group of people who made an impact on my life. I chose a different person each day to focus on and I concentrated on the gifts that they brought to my life. I thought about the life of the person being honored and the lessons they taught me, and I tried to find ways to honor them by making connections to the segment of the camino on which I was walking for that day. I dedicated segments to family members, friends, mentors, teachers and students that I have had. The most powerful days were those dedicated to people who have passed on. The first day, crossing the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles, was dedicated to my dad who passed away in '99. It was a difficult day, taking more than 12 hours for this novice hiker, but I felt his presence every step of the way.

The reason it relates to fear is that each day I felt focused and determined. I felt comforted by the thoughts of important people in my life, and I renewed my conviction each morning to make the day special.

Interestingly, as much as this helped me to get through that first camino, I did not make these dedications on my second one.
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
That's lovely Cilento, a truly lovely thing to do, and I know it can certainly help overcome fear by "doing something for someone else". I can really relate to your dedications because for my second camino I dedicated it to my children, carrying some little thing they gave me. My daughter's little wish "note" I deposited in Santiago Cathedral, and my son's small rock (never again. . . bit weighty) at Finisterre, and I had my own 'wishes' for each of them; repeating these along the way, like a mantra, as times got hard, and do you know all my wishes for them came true in some form in the following year. My daughter's was to get out of her Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, so they were BIG things, not trivial, and I forgot my pain and fear often in the process of thinking about them.

Buen camino. Carole
 

sus-anna

New Member
Hi!
Just saw this thread, I was away when it started.
I walked Via de la Plata in March, with no map, no guide book, my first camino, knew nothing.
Then I was frightened beacuse I had to leave all my things behind and carry so little.
As I walked I realized every day had its own torment. I had a "pain in my feet" day.
My not find the albergue day. The rain day. The hungry day. No money day. But at the end of every day day, I survived, and I was thinking it was stupid to worry. When I worried I saw nothing else. It occupied all my mind.
I realized beeing frightened was something I had to live with. I was afraid I could not deal with things. But I could! And there was always people there to help me. All I had to do was to ask for help, and learn to trust that other people will help you:)

Now I'm off again, starting from Lisbon. And this time I'm afraid of not finding somewhere to sleep. That's the worst of everything! Perhaps I must sleep outdoors one night and survive that, to know that's not the end of the world:)
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Well done, Sus-Anna, and all the best for a wonderful camino. May any fears and worries be conquered. May you meet many beautiful people along the way, and have many lovely camino moments. Am sure you'll be open to them.

Love to hear about the Portugues camino from Lisbon, having done only Porto - Santiago.
Bom caminho. Carole :D
 

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