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It's the jitters season...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Topics' started by Viranani, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. Viranani

    Viranani Veteran Member Donating Member

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    On another thread right now there's a touching stream of support for a member who's a few months out from her planned walk--and beginning to feel 'the jitters' in a big way.

    It's that time of year, when giddily made plans begin to take on an unnerving reality.
    There's all that stuff in the spare room and the ticket in the starred email inbox list.
    But it can feel like the theme of Jaws is playing in the background.
    "What was I thinking!?" can be the the thought that the mind comes back to again and again.

    And so I thought if we all came out with our own stories of pre-walk panic, it might make her (and the silent majority of beginners) feel a little less alone, and a little less crazy.

    So for the welfare (and perhaps amusement) of us all...
    How do you (did you?) experience pre-walk nerves? Has it ever stopped you from going? And how do you deal with it?

    I have to confess that this isn't something that happens to me so much--and anyway the first time I walked I didn't know enough to be scared. When it can get to me is right before getting the ticket, and it shows up as massive procrastination so that there can be a lot of time pressure to just get the ticket. Once I have the ticket, the resistance dissolves and everything relaxes a bit. The resistance isn't about hitting the send button or spending the money--it's about taking the leap.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  2. Davey Boyd

    Davey Boyd Active Member

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    Ive got the jitters now! Again! It does not seem to matter that I have walked a few times before either, I always get anxious as the time comes closer to set off.

    BUT, having been through this stage before I know that all the worry just falls away the morning I start walking. Will I make it? Will I get injured? What on earth am I doing? The cop in my head telling me not to be stupid, stay at home where it is safe and comfy. Now I know it does not matter a jot. If I don't make it for any reason I can come back another year to finish. Or go and chill out on a nice beach somewhere.

    When I start walking my thoughts and worries 'shrink' from can I possibly walk xxxx kilometres to what is happening there and then in the moment. Can I get a coffee in the morning. Where is the next bar. Will I need my poncho today or will my socks dry by morning. Just one day at a time and one foot in front of the other. I can stop whenever I want, or give up if I have to, no problems.

    I'm still terrified (again) right now though! Setting of for the VDLP onApril 2nd.

    Davey
     
  3. SabineP

    SabineP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Hehe good timing posting this Viranani! Universal jitters!
    Tomorrow I leave for yet another Camino and I'm now officially very jittery.
    The pack is made ( except for my final selection of three pair of socks :p ), the shoes are clean, the cat has all the food she needs for the next four weeks and my lovely friend neighbour is on standby for cat and housesitting.

    So yes still pre walk nerves : I know for sure that security guys will pick me out of the line at the airport :D, I will forget my basic spanish languageskills and will fail to express myself. I'm still thinking if I briefed everyone enough at work...
    For sure while I'm away there will be an electricity power failure and my freezer will be ruined....:D Or like the OH says to me : " pfwew that head of yours is surely too full of thoughts "....

    But no, it has never stopped me from going...

    How do I deal with it ? Right now, because I don't seem to be able to sleep in anyway, having my morning coffee and enjoying the quietness of this sunday.
    And like every time I leave, a visit or a telephone call to my close family. And in the afternoon a quiet drink with the OH in our favourite local pub.

    Ad infinitum as they say in Latin....
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  4. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    July - August (2017) - Camino Frances to Leon, Salvador to Oviedo, Primitivo to Santiago and beyond...
    Oh yeah. As soon as I booked my flights I thought "do I really want to do this again?" Up until that moment all that I could think about was how much I wanted to do it again. Then suddenly... doubts.
     
  5. Viranani

    Viranani Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Muy Buen Camino, Sabine--jitters and all! May security be a breeze.

    Deep breath everyone. We will be fine.;)
     
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  6. LesBrass

    LesBrass Likes Walking

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    yes...
    A few weeks before I walked the CF I got the jitters so bad I changed my plans and started from Roncesvalles instead of St Jean... I convinced myself that people like me could never walk over a mountain... how stupid was I for even thinking that I could do that!?

    I had lots of good wishes when I was starting but I knew deep down that nobody really felt that I would finish... the guys in my band even had a book going for where I would quit!

    So I started from Roncesvalles and by Pamplona had blisters... I had to stop in Estella for 2 days to let the blisters heal... I bought new shoes and started again with 2 short days before feeling ready to start again... after this I was good... more than good... I knew I could finish.

    All the while the little voice in my head bugged me for changing my start. So a few months after finishing, I went back to St Jean and walked again... only to Logrono this time... but it felt sooo good.

    When I decided I wanted to walk the VdlP the same voice told me I would be too scared to manage... this time I gave that voice short shrift... I was going to walk the VdlP.

    I think that I am my harshest critic and that the voice in my head can and has stopped me doing a great many things in my life... the Camino has taught me to ignore that voice and follow my heart instead... and when I'm walking the Camino it feels like flying. Now I dream of walking up the highest hills, arms outstretched, catching the breeze and looking back at how far I've come.

    My advice to anyone like me... listen to the voice in your head but don't let it overwhelm you... if you are prepared and you've done your homework then follow your heart... and have a wonderful walk :D
     
  7. Purky

    Purky Active Member

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    I like the jitters, to be honest. They make me feel alive. And the knowledge I am about to undertake something that I love to do only adds to the anticipation.
    Anticipation is not really the right word for it: in dutch we have a word that describes my feelings better: voorpret. It literally translates as 'pre-fun'.
     
  8. HedaP

    HedaP Active Member Donating Member

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    This thread reminds me of years ago when I took a domestic flight with my sister and her two daughters. The youngest, then about two, reacted strongly to that first part of the flight when the plan taxis, with the engines roaring, ever increasing in speed, while the pressure builds forcing you back into your seat, until the plane eventually by some miracle leaves the ground, and gets to a level where the engines don't have to work anywhere near as hard. At one stage my niece's roaring rivaled the engine's roar and when it was all over I looked at her in the seat next to me, expecting the worst, only to find that she was laughing. The first words out of her mouth were "scary fun". It's been my motto ever since. Whenever I get scared or anxious (rather too often for comfort) I try to remind myself of Sayde's "scary fun".
     
  9. Purky

    Purky Active Member

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    Attagirl!
     
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  10. Viranani

    Viranani Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Woo-ow. Beautiful, @LesBrass.

    Attunement! :cool: Are we all having fun yet??

    Seriously though--it there anything better than blasting through self-imposed limitations?
     
  11. Peter Fransiscus

    Peter Fransiscus Veteran Member Donating Member

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    All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
    Jitters or no jitters, I wish you for the coming weeks a wonderful time and a Buen Camino,Peter.
     
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  12. Purky

    Purky Active Member

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    Yes, there is one thing better than blasting through self-imposed limitations: realising you just did that. That feeling of elation and freedom afterwards is indescribable. The biggest rush, a silent high...
     
  13. Viranani

    Viranani Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Indeed...The top of that scary mountain....
    Or getting to the end of that day that felt impossible.
    Or realizing that 800kms isn't 800kms (red flashing lights & sirens), but actually quite do-able, just requiring patient persistence.

    An aside. But relevant. The fear is often about that number--whatever it is--or the idea of "Walking all the way across Spain" and looking at the atlas and thinking "Eeeeeeee, no way can I do THAT!"
    But the amazing thing is when one does it the distance ultimately feels like not that big a deal. Step by step.

    But then you get on the train...and it's astonishing. Last year I went from Sahagun to Santiago on the train for the first time and it felt like such a long journey--and having walked (more than once) the part before the train goes off in the direction of the Invierno, I found myself thinking "This is actually a really long walk!!"

    It was very funny. Because the distance felt a whole lot further on the train than on foot! (Yes, the train route after Astorga is longer than the Camino--but even the stretch from Leon to Astorga seemed long and the distance is basically the same.)

    Perception is not reality. So if you're gripped by nerves, don't believe your mind--go and see what it really feels like. For yourself. After that, you'll never see the map of Spain (or the world) in the same way again.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  14. Introibo

    Introibo Active Member Donating Member

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    Perception !
    I'd stopped at the Alto de San Roque for a few photos. A young Spanish couple
    in cycling gear asked me to take their photo's. After obliging, I asked where
    they'd cycled from. He mentioned somewhere I'd never heard of then qualified
    it by saying it was in the Basque region, over by Pamplona. Good grief, says I,
    that's a long way to have cycled, well done. I was genuinely impressed. He asked
    me where I'd walked from. Erm.... Pamplona. A wave of panic swept over me.
    What was I thinking ? Walking all that way. How would I get home? What would
    my mam say ?

    I had a large beer when I reached Triacastela and tried not to think of what lay behind me.
     
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  15. Purky

    Purky Active Member

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    Perception indeed. I always get a little giggly and incredulous when I see a map of Europe or browse in my atlas, and retrace my steps from my hometown in the Netherlands to SdC. It's just too loony to contemplate. But when I did walk it, it felt like the most normal and natural thing to do.
     
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  16. LesBrass

    LesBrass Likes Walking

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    @Viranani I know everyone has a story and I'm just like everyone else but my childhood was tough, my father was a brute and I was raised to never get above my station, not to dream, not to ever believe that good things can happen.

    As a child my sanctuary was our local church... I found that if I joined every club and choir I could be out every night of the week... and our vicar had a huge family and (maybe because he'd figured things out) he welcomed me into the fold.

    The scars we carry from childhood are chains... and honestly (I have a big far tear rolling down my cheek right now) walking that first camino really did teach me that I can dream.. and I can fly... my husband has been telling me for years... but actually doing it... well it was life changing for me.
     
  17. Viranani

    Viranani Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Bwahahaha...Introibo, that's brought a grin from ear to ear. Like my moment in the train but better.
    Weird isn't it?
    And since it's too loony to contemplate, it's best not to. Until you're doing it and like Introibo it hits you how far you've come. And that your capacity is much much bigger than you can imagine.

    And @LesBrass? Please write what you just wrote here for the letters from Santiago project. Another wow.
    Now I'm tearing up.
     
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  18. FLEUR

    FLEUR Active Member

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    I think you need the pre walk anxiety, it's the adrenalin required to get you going and prove to the world you can achieve your goal and walk your Camino
     
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  19. notion900

    notion900 Veteran Member

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    Just remember that the halfway town is called Carrión
    Boom boom
     
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  20. FLEUR

    FLEUR Active Member

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    A friend of mine had an English father and Austrian mother. The mother when feeling homesick always said that in Europe (mainland) one can just walk and walk to wherever one needs to get to but in G.B. one cannot do the same.
     
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  21. twirl90

    twirl90 New Member

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    I'm scarred out of my mind. Not so much for the walk but what is going to happen in the ten-ish days before I leave. My partner has not been supportive of the walk and told me he didn't want me going. I bought my ticket two days ago and haven't told him yet. He has said that if I go he will leave me.

    I fly out at the end of the month to spend some time in France before starting the Camino on April 18th (god willing). I wake up every morning knowing I have to tell him I'm going but I'm terrified. I'm even hiding my gear in the trunk of my car and he has no idea I've been walking 5-6 miles every day to prepare. Please send well wishes future friends. I know I'm a horrible person for not telling him but I also know that this is something I have to do.
     
  22. Viranani

    Viranani Veteran Member Donating Member

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    @twirl90 , take a deep breath--and before you do anything, please give yourself a break!
    Waiting 2 days (or more) before having a seriously difficult conversation does NOT make you a horrible person.
    A scared one maybe--and under the circumstances that'd be pretty normal.
    That "It's either the Camino or me" ultimatum is ...is ...is.......I can't find words. Terrible.

    So yes. You'll have to have that horrible conversation. And soon--not for your partner's sake but for you, so you can say your piece, stand your ground and take care of yourself. Who knows--he may suspect something, which may make your life marginally easier.
    After that, there is only the walk. Which by comparison will be pretty straightforward.
    All blessings to you for a buen camino, and sending heartfelt well-wishes for the next days.
    Please take care of yourself and let us know how you go.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  23. Chacharm

    Chacharm Active Member

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    "Voorpret"! I love that so much! I live for it!
     
  24. Chacharm

    Chacharm Active Member

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    Good lord! You're not the horrible person - HE is! Imagine giving someone an ultimatum like that - that is abusive. IMO you could not be doing ANYTHING better or smarter for yourself than going on Camino. If this were a just world everyone would be required to just go on Camino for a couple of months after a break up or divorce or a death or a job loss. This is going to flatten out all your spiky alpha waves. Walking 10 - 15 miles a day will ensure deep, healing sleep. Your mind and body will grow stronger - and your spirit will too. Go and show yourself what you can do so that you refuse to ever allow another person to attempt such control over your life again!
     
  25. Chacharm

    Chacharm Active Member

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    Oh man I was so jangled and anxious I was a little bit nutty. I was planning it all out for my grown son and myself - and I was so worried about catching the right trains to the right places, and I thought I was going to the moon or something. I look back on the contents of my pack and laugh! Absolutely anything any0ne on this forum recommended went into it. I was not going to be caught in need of the smallest (or largest) item. (Now my pack has ONE change of clothes and 3 pairs of socks and underwear and very little else.) That first night in SJPP I washed what I wore on the train that day! Wha...?
    Now I decide I am going, throw a few things into my pack and head out. I miss those voorpret jitters!
     
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  26. DurhamParish

    DurhamParish Un Cerveza, Por Favor Donating Member

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    I leave for the Camino on Thursday. Say "hello" if you see the guy in the hat.
     
  27. SueWhaits

    SueWhaits New Member

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    I start my very first Camino on the 26th April in SJPdP....travels plans all done and bookings made up to Orrisson. I have packed and repacked, Read all the threads and talked to those who have gone before me. Each day I feel anxieties ...some days worse than others .....but not once have I thought about not going. I wake up each day having to take long deep breaths and remind myself that this is my journey, my pilgrimage, my time! And it's my very first journey completely on my own.....oh my nerves!
     
  28. Coleen Clark

    Coleen Clark Active Member Donating Member

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    I didn't have time for pre-Camino jitters. I had all of my little sister's medical and legal papers to sort and pay, the apartment I was renting had to be emptied and closed, and everything I owned put into a storage locker until I returned. I had sold my house to go take care of her, and when she passed I had no home, no sister, just questions.
    So I used the Camino to answer the questions.
    This Camino will be different. This Camino I am looking for that inner peace I felt before. I'm sure after the first week and the blisters heal I'll find it. It may take an extra vino tinto...but I'm up for that too!
     
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  29. Viranani

    Viranani Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Buen Camino to you all!
     
  30. amorfati1

    amorfati1 Veteran Member

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    Pause. Questioning - to myself - and throwing it open here on the forum as well since it came up few times in the past few days. And please do bear with me ... it's not a rant - or condeming -
    What's wrong with the 'Jitters' or (a bit of) trembling ? or questioning ones steps/plans/ideas? Or being scared out of your socks?
    I wonder: Are we really presuming that life ought to just hum along in a fine mellow tune, meandering about at an easy pace and not disturbing our 'snooze' button stroll through life and all goes swimingly and our own potential objections are to be feared or dismissed or put-down?
    Genuinely don't get it - which is just fine in case that there is nothing to be 'gotten'.

    Someone at a work meeting remarked "We all need to get out of our comfort zone in order to do zyx..." etc etc. To which I calmly remarked:
    "I am leaving my comfort zone each morning when I step out of bed" -
    (well, that wasn't the thing to say to a crowd in a work-meeting on the westcoast :-/ ooohpsy )
    - anyway
    what I am aiming to say is: perhaps some good dose of recalibrating can be in order in the department of: "what i do expect from life?" Do i need it to be flawless? not having my instincts creep up (as in fear/jitters before jumping across an abyss called 'changing job', 'moving across the country' ... 'camino' ... fill in the blanks?) and spoil my 'perfect' plan, vision of what i think/hope ought to happen?
    Life is ALIVE ... all sorts of things can and will happen. On camino, Off camino (if there is such a thing)
    i can imagine that a coffin is probably a jitter-free zone ... but everything/everywhere else? dunno ... do let me know if you know of another one :)

    as my camino start approached - i was in the throes of a mild'ish (if that's possible) PTSD episode and seriously questioning if this trip can be pulled off at all. If i would be capable to function with all that what is needed for a cross-continental flight.
    Nothing ever instills such terror in me as PTSD. Compares to nothing. And i was t-e-r-r-i-f-i-e-d.
    I knew the camino would be important at that particular time - but i couldn't formulate why it would be important. Sometimes things are just lingering in diffuse awareness and ones is still asked to move ahead.... with zero affirmations, confirmations, encouragements ...
    sometimes it just has to be striclty homegrown. ie coming from within your own heart / coeur (courage come from french coeur=heart).
    I asked a friend to please take me to the train station - where i plugged in earplugs very firmly and looked equally firmly to the ground. no roving eyes. total focus, the best i could muster in that situation. until i got to the airport, checked in - and then parked myself into some lounge to rest until the flight started. (well, it did help to fly business class) Don't have much memory how it all went - but i do remember - when I arrived in Paris to change planes - I felt 'literally grounded' (no pun intended) and grateful that nothing further got triggered.... and the terror left.
    Up in the air above Portugal - i got a good view of the land below, the coastline, the hills ... and was truly questioning: "What on earth had I been thinking????????" - Apparently not much at all ... as It seemed like an utterly mad and ridiculous endeavour.
    but i also knew that whatever has gotten me this far - will get me further. on foot. up north from Lisboa towards SdC.
    How far I would get on? that i could not know ... yet.
    but off I went. With much Grace of course ...
    Wheewww.
    Jitters are part of life, of daring to be alive. To engage with life. Nobody gets out of here alive.
    Have Jitters - will travel :)
    or be so busy being alive - that jitters have no room to enter ?!?!
    who knows what works? can be different for everyone ....
    upload_2017-3-19_17-56-53.png

    I sometimes wonder if we expect life to be sanitized ... germ and pain and risk and apprehension free ?

    I figured: evolution worked very hard to get us equipped with the jitters ... until then, those sabertooth tigers had probably thousand of years of easy lunches and dinners.
    So, have those jitters - but not be owned/ruled by them. (that's a different discussion altogether)
    let you have them, vs they have you :)

    cheers - and am off to dinner now -
    C


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  31. Viranani

    Viranani Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Absolutely nothing! As far as the Camino (and life) is concerned I tend to seek it out, because it's the growing edge of inner life. To constantly adjust one's life to avoid fear is enslavement. I'm very happy to be more of a free agent.

    So I'm totally with you about facing fear, @amorfati1--and from the sound of it so are most people here. Our general cultural milieu? That's another story. An attitude of fearlessness around fear may well be what separates people who successfully walk a Camino from those who never try.

    I posted one of these quotes by Georgia O'Keeffe on another thread the other day, but here it is again, with another~good advice and an inspiring vision!:
    "It's not enough to be nice in life. You've got to have nerve.”
    “I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”
     
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  32. DurhamParish

    DurhamParish Un Cerveza, Por Favor Donating Member

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    I'm too old to get jitters. Of course, I'm not female, so there are a couple of less things for me to worry about in this world in which we live. But back to the jitters. I grew up being fearful of the outside world. I grew up in a small town (about 500 people) in the south. A significant portion of the population were older widows and maiden ladies who were always worried about everything. That's just the way I thought things were. It wasn't until I moved away to "the big city" and then later, visited foreign lands, that I discovered that there just isn't that much out there to really worry about as long as you are careful and use sound judgement.

    When I was younger, I thought that there was no limit on the traveling I could do. Now that I'm 60 (with responsibilities for some older people), I now feel that my time for travels have a limit and how many more trips I will be able to go on is uncertain. Now when I travel instead of getting the jitters, I am usually so excited to be going that I can hardly control my joy. Every time I leave for a trip I always think of the line that Morgan Freeman said towards the end of the movie "Shawshank Redemption" when he decided to join his friend Andy in Mexico and he was on the bus headed for Ft. Hancock, Texas:

    "I find I'm so excited that I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at a start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain."
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  33. amorfati1

    amorfati1 Veteran Member

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    oh thank you for posting those quotes - saw the second one. the first one is 'new to me'. love it.
    thanks - very best wishes -
    c
     
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  34. HedaP

    HedaP Active Member Donating Member

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    Ditto with bells on! Buen camino everyone. Be astounded by what little tiny steps taken one after the other can achieve. Stand tall, head up and step out as strongly as you can and if you can't step out strongly just step out. You'll still get there! XXX
     
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  35. Coleen Clark

    Coleen Clark Active Member Donating Member

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    ...and of course I read this in Morgan Freeman's voice.
     
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  36. twirl90

    twirl90 New Member

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    Thank you for the advice and well wishes, V
     
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  37. Pcav182

    Pcav182 New Member

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    I can most definitely relate to this post right now. I am planning to walk in July/August of this summer. Lately I've been thinking a lot more about it, and have certainly been getting the jitters.

    I think with all the extensive research and dreaming of my Camino, I've become desensitized to the reality of it all. That's not to say that the reality of it is bad by any means. I just think that first timers like myself lose sight of the fact that doing this is outside the norm (at least in America) and come to the realization that it is not just some walk in the park vacation.

    I don't know if this is how others feel, but it's how I've been feeling lately.
     
  38. Viranani

    Viranani Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Taken day by day it actually isn't so different. The days add up, is all.;)
    Walking long distances is a return to the old way of getting from place to place--and it's what our bodies are well adapted to doing--our ancestors walked from Africa all over the globe, without hi-tech clothes or equipment.. So it's something we can do more easily than we might imagine, coming from our prisons of motorized transportation.

    Not to knock that at all, just to make the point that walking is something the body knows how to do; we've just forgotten that in the rush of modern and post-modern life, and think we can't--or that it will be hardhardhard.

    Don't believe that thought. Who knows what it will be? If you think it will be hard, experience will likely conform to that idea--and vice versa.
     
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  39. nycwalking

    nycwalking Veteran Member

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    Thank you for post.
    Buen camino.
     
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  40. notion900

    notion900 Veteran Member

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    @twirl90 the first time I announced that I would travel alone, in my teens, my mom literally chased me round the house, screaming, shouting and yelling at me that she would take my passport away. I had to calmly tell her that I would report it lost and get another one if she did that. She said 'it would be over' if I went (she meant our mother/daughter relationship). It was horrible. I went, and travelled all over Greece by myself for a month, on boats, trains and buses. Greece was pretty rudimentary then (1988) and there was no internet or mobiles: I had to call home from a call box. My mom nearly went spare. I had a nervous but brilliant time. I can remember every detail of that trip to this day. I did some very silly things, like hiring a motorbike with no licence or helmet, going in a dungeon of a deserted castle all alone in the middle of nowhere, but that trip shaped who I am in so many ways. My mom was so happy and relieved to see me when I got back (even though I had caught head lice). Mom laughs at me now, she still goes a bit mental when I go off somewhere (I've been to India, Egypt, Indonesia and Morocco on my own since then too, which she wasn't best pleased about), but she's learned to live with it. I wish you the best of luck with whatever happens.
    Buen Camino
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  41. Viranani

    Viranani Veteran Member Donating Member

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    You're welcome, @twirl90 . Take care--and buen camino.
     

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