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Finding unexpected freedom on Camino

Phoenix

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2014, CF: partial
2016, CF
2018, CF: partial
2019, CP
I didn't realize it until I had walked for 10+ days, but not getting behind the wheel of an auto for a long period removed an enormous chunk of stress from my life (it seems many drivers where I live are wannabe assassins trying to take out as many people as possible). It has become one of my favorite things I look forward to about walking another Camino.

What newfound freedom did you find; especially one(s) you want to hang onto after Camino?
 
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André Walker

Never losing my way: always standing on it
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
A more relaxed way of doing things: like living in a lower gear.

In Holland we’re used to doing things in the most efficient way (“time is money”). So was I. So, on the second day of my first Camino I walked into a bar and ordered a café con leche. When the barman brought it, I wanted to give him some coins while asking him how much it was. He ignored my hand, looked me in my eyes and said: “Why don’t you sit down and enjoy your coffee first”.

What an eyeopener that was. A hole in one. Struck by lightning. Twice.

This was an excellent lesson he gave me. I benefitted from this experience not only the rest of the Camino, but also in everyday life. Even now, 10 years later.

What a difference a seemingly small thing can make.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
For me finding unexpected freedom is the spirit of the camino.

During past years there were timeless stretches which seemed to be in another world. Gone were the hordes of camera-clicking tourists and/or pilgrims as well as any urbane atmosphere with a bar at every corner. All was reduced to simple basics; I was alone on a seemingly endless gravel path beneath the vast dome of an immense sky. The only sound was the companionable crunch of my boots and perhaps distant birdsong.

Happily while tramping along and alone I often sensed that special moment when everything 'clicked' realizing that this was, indeed, my way and that all was and would be good. ...Perhaps such secular transcendence felt while walking might be akin to what runners call 'the zone'. Your body can handle the task while your spirit glows with the effort. Neither easy, nor impossible; all simply is. ...Thus, thankfully you continue.

I first began to walk the CF when I was 65.
Now at 82 age and time have taken their toll but hopefully my personal memories will endure. Physically I may not be there, but sentimentally I will always "wear" my pilgrim shell. And whenever this life may end it is reassuring to hope that the freedom of this beloved spiritual route will continue throughout the centuries to come.
 
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Phoenix

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2014, CF: partial
2016, CF
2018, CF: partial
2019, CP
For me finding unexpected freedom is the spirit of the camino.

During past years there were timeless stretches which seemed to be in another world. Gone were the hordes of camera-clicking tourists and/or pilgrims as well as any urbane atmosphere with a bar at every corner. All was reduced to simple basics; I was alone on a seemingly endless gravel path beneath the vast dome of an immense sky. The only sound was the companionable crunch of my boots and perhaps distant birdsong.

Happily while tramping along and alone I often sensed that special moment when everything 'clicked' realizing that this was, indeed, my way and that all was and would be good. ...Perhaps such secular transcendence felt while walking might be akin to what runners call 'the zone'. Your body can handle the task while your spirit glows with the effort. Neither easy, nor impossible; all simply is. ...Thus, thankfully you continue.

I first began to walk the CF when I was 65.
Now at 82 age and time have taken their toll but hopefully my personal memories will endure. Physically I may not be there, but sentimentally I will always "wear" my pilgrim shell. And whenever this life may end it is reassuring to hope that the freedom of this beloved spiritual route will continue throughout the centuries to come.
Beautiful post; it resonates in many ways.

A few years before the first Camino, my wife and I began a winnowing of our lives after our youngest left home. We looked around and wondered why we had carried so much stuff across the country and through multiple moves (mostly material things we accumulated for our sons). We pared down considerably, becoming minimalists to a degree. The minimalist mentality carried over to the Camino experience and further honed it.

The most long-lasting freedoms I found on Camino were that I only needed to worry about the clothes I wore and the bare necessities in my backpack; simple self-care like taking care of my feet and avoiding sunburn; and, as you referred to, the simple joy of being outside/in nature on a path that is uniquely mine. I've kept the "only what is needed/fits in my pack" mindset in my everyday life after Camino.
 
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Tim Floyd

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017
TDMB 2016
Cotswold Way 2018
Portugues 2021
For me it was...
  • Learning I really needed very little.
  • That no matter how hard today is, tomorrow is a whole new day.
  • The world looks very different at 3 miles/hour.
  • Preparation is different from planning. Prepare, then let what happens unfold. Some of the best things in life happen unexpectedly.
 

chinacat

Veteran Member
I find freedom in a very personal way - in the sense that people around me have almost no expectations and preconceptions about me, and I about them. We are clean slates.

Better not wear any Forum pins/badges!! 😉😄

Seriously - this was the source of all my excitement as I watched the whits cliffs recede on my footloose travels in the land that time forgot …
 
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rorerich

CaminoLifer
Year of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, (2019)
I cannot blame anyone but me. I help family members in many many ways. It's just how I do things.
BUT ON CAMINO: I am only responsible for myself. Just me and only me. (Of course, I don't turn down someone who needs help.) Yet to be able to take care of my daily needs, to determine my path for the day, to choose when, where, how, I walk, eat, stop, sleep is a balm to my soul. It's my freedom. And I love it.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
It’s freedom from ‘stuff’ which does it for me. 9kg, or less, of carefully chosen stuff all of which has a purpose and all - except the first aid kit - I am certain that I will use on a daily basis.

I also love rhythm of Camino life. The downside is the sense of anti-climax when I wake up the day after I’ve arrived in SdC and realise it’s over ‘til the next time.

(The only time I recall managing with less was a backpacking trip to India when I forgot to take the clothes I was planning to wear on the plane. As I was travelling straight from a London office the three-piece chalk-stripe suit and brogues had to be left behind and my only change of clothes became my only clothes.)
 
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henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I don't (but I have one). Nor do I wear a flag badge.
I’ll confess that I do. Actually three. A UK flag, a European flag and a Spanish flag. It helps the many who overtake me to decide which language to engage me in. I’ve added a ‘Casa Ivar’ badge this year - but the only time it’s been in Spain is when it was with Ivar.

Back in the day a number of American colleagues used to sail under Canadian colours in Europe. To be fair, there have been parts of the world where I’ve not displayed the Union flag either - some of them close to home.
 

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