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My Conclusion of walking the Camino in 2011

Ewald Schmidt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from Léon- 2011
Camino Portuguese June 2018
Dear friends on the Forum- I have written over 50 blog entries on ewaldschmidt.blogspot.com about my camino experience, with over 130 photos published. But it is in Afrikaans, and the translation function doesn't always work very good. So, for an American friend, I translated my conclusion of my Camino, from Leon to Santiago from 30 May to 17 June 2011, in English. And when I published it, I thought to share it here with you all.

This is my last Blog on the subject of the Camino de Santiago (for now!)
On my Bucket List, I had this dream to walk the Camino de Santiago, enough of it anyway to earn the Campostela certificate. This Blog has told the story of my dream from the start and as I continued closer to the departure date. I could share every day on the Camino with you, when I somewhere along the route had the opportunity to find a computer with Internet access. I shared with you the best of my 992 photos. And now you have read my whole story about the Camino de Santiago. All that remains is to ask: was it worth it? Did I get what I was looking for?
Therefore I conclude the series with the following thoughts to share with you who have regularly read my blog:

1. Anything is possible!

David from Barcelona said at his stall on the way to Astorga. I have experienced it as true. If I must be honest, I was very scared of doing this challenge. This fear originates from Grade 6 in my life when we had to attend the Graskop Field School, where I regularly was the slowest person in the group in the field work. It has repeatedly happened in my life, that when I hike with a group, I am regularly the slowest person in the group. For some reason I have always had difficulty with a backpack on my back. I am also very prone to blisters on my feet. One of the voices in my head has always told me, 'You are not able to do this! " In a sense this pilgrimage was a direct attack from me on the one enemy who has for many years made me feel insignificant. I have conquered that enemy at the Iron Cross and at O ​​Cebrero. He is talking nonsense! I can do anything that is humanly possible, if I want to badly enough, and if I continue long enough.

2. Gratitude

You can so easily get caught up in negative thoughts and behavior. There is always someone better off than you in a certain area. Some guys can go through much less years of college education than I did, and still earn a lot more money than I do. Some people own the houses in which they live. Some people's dream of buying a new car become true so easily, and then it is not the most basic model (at the moment I am considering to buy a Toyota Aygo, but in my deepest heart, I wish that a Toyota Hilux 3.0 D4D DC would be possible!)
Some people are faster than me on a bicycle, most people attain fitness much faster than me. There are just so many things about which a person can compare yourself with others. And then you see only a fraction of the truth!
There may be other people who would love to be your position! The Camino is a great opportunity to lay down what lies behind you. It is the one opportunity to REALLY scale down in your life! For it to be a good experience, you really need to travel light. And that equalize us all. On the trail you can not judge anyone by their appearance, and think where he fits into society, or how much he owns. We all have approximately the same size backpack, we all have more or less the same quality boots (which some could buy with ease immediately and others on their credit cards, like I have paid mine on budget for 6 months.) We all have but 2-3 sets of clothes, and a poncho or raincoat on this journey with us. Rumors had it that the next Prime Minister of Ireland was on Camino with us somewhere on the French route, and Fernando Alonso are believed to bike 200 kilometres on the Camino over six days in August's three-week break in Formula One GP. You just never know who somebody next to you in the Albergue is in real life, and it really doesn't matter either! We are all just Pilgrims and therefore treat each other with the utmost respect. That's what we are- each one of us-just a pilgrim on a route towards the final destination. While each one of us is suffering with our own blisters on our feet! In our everyday lives this is also the truth. For Christians, life as a pilgrim in this world is a fairly common theme in the New Testament.

Because you only try to carry the minimum, like 10 kg, you learn gratitude for every night you have a bed available to you, so that you don't need to sleep on someone's porch. You learn gratitude for water along the way, and you are aware of how dependent you are of finding have half a liter of water every few hours. Sometimes sudden unexpected pleasure is found in a café that serves delicious coffee. Food is suddenly no longer taken for granted, and even a tin of beans and pork bellies gives you energy for another part of the journey. You are grateful when the Pilgrim's menu is well prepared, you are happy when the meal is just acceptable. And you miss a decent steak with mushroomsauce, as you least can afford once a month at home.
Because you leave your own people behind, the longing for them becomes a very loyal companion on the Camino. If you walk without your partner, then you wish he / she was seeing the sunrise alongside you, or the rising of the mist far below in the valleys. You miss the sound of your children's voices, and forget the shrill pitch that they use to yell at one another.

You miss your good friends, those few friends who over many years vecame part of your being, while sitting around many campfires, shared many bottles of red wine. Those midnight chats about the path we walk in life. If no one spoke your language today, and no one understands your Boertjie English, it's nice to suddenly meet someone from your own country! Then you realize how precious your own language for you.

3. Spiritual value to me

A man discovers how precious Silence is! During a long day of walking in nature, we realise how noisy life has truly become, when you experience true silence. At home, I struggle not to turn on the radio to break the silence. But on the Camino, you get to know silence personally. And it becomes a good friend. It reaches your busy heart, and quieten it down. The rush of life falls away, a peace descends on you. And in that silence you hear God whispering to you.

I have experienced a feeling of peace in cathedrals and churches, some even dating back to the 11th century. This is despite some friends who warned about Freemason symbols, and some who are very critical of the Roman Catholic church. But for me- this I saw: there are buildings that have for centuries been used by the common people to escape from their everyday life, with the belief that they can meet their Heavenly Father there. The high church steeples in small towns have proclaimed for generations of travelers that God is present here. My own belief is not built on sacred buildings. But in this space of silence and worship, I could often sit for very long, unhindered, and pray about things and for people whom I love dearly.

That experience is not limited to sacred buildings on the Camino. My most profound experience of God's presence was at a creek one Sunday morning just after 09h00, when I believe my church back home also prayed for me. Certain experiences in life can not be described using words, because it happens in the heart, and is larger than any human words. "Where peaceful waters flow" in Psalm 23 will never be anything else than a very powerful image in my mind in the future, I understand it much better because I have been there ... It's not because it is an old, old stream in Spain, it is because I tried to be quiet enough to hear God. "Draw near unto God and He will draw near ..." is one of the promises in the New Testament.
It could also have happened alongside the pond in our home town, the place itself is not important, the deeper thirst for more is.

Yes, this pilgrimage did cost me in many ways. But I think I have a made a good investment. I wanted some questions about my own life struggles answered, and I did find it. Hopefully my family, my friends and my church can experience the difference in my life. I realize how great the power of old habits and old thoughts can be, sucking me back into my old life. But I will try my best to continue thinking new thoughts, positive thoughts, and to live for what I believe in. Because I learned during the difficult days of the Camino that whining and complaining will never help me reach my goal. Focus on the end goal, and use all the power available to mem, keeping back no reserves, to go big or go home. And step by step my end goal will be reached. Although there may be a mountain or two between you and your destiny-even a mountain is not invincible when you're serious enough about reaching the top. Did I get what I was looking for? Yes, definitely.
Thank you for taking this journey with me, on my blog. Thanks for those constructive comments and encouragement even during difficult days, it has meant much more to me than you will ever know. Thank you for the many who read it, even if you said nothing. It was nice to see how many people visited my blog. And thank you even for the people who do not share my belief, but granted me the opportunity in this public forum, to tell my story, without negative criticism.
Each of us is on a journey- the journey of life. Each of us has our own set of obstacles along the way , and each of us has a destiny we are trying to reach. Thank you walking alongside me for this great part of my journey! And now, in conclusion, I wish just for you, and your own trip, the old, old greeting that generations of pilgrims have used for hundreds of years on the Camino de Santiago: Buen Camino!
 

petro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2008 April/May) (2011 May/June) (2014 May/June), Camino Primitivo (May 2016)
Hi Ewald,

The peace I experienced during my recent camino still surrounds me, I am scared that in sharing this feeling with others it might disappear.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us, it instantly took me back to the camino and created a longing in my heart to be there again.
It was good meeting you along the way.

God bless,

Petro
 

PadreQ

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept Oct 2011, de Astorga 2015
Primitivo Oct 2013
Lebaniego & Ingles Sept (2017)
Gracias por todo. Que Dios los bendiga.
 

miamijhp

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011 Francés
Dear Ewald:
Thank you for your comments. This w'll prepare me for my first camino in September. Thank you again.
 

Ewald Schmidt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from Léon- 2011
Camino Portuguese June 2018
miamijhp said:
Dear Ewald:
Thank you for your comments. This w'll prepare me for my first camino in September. Thank you again.

It will be one of the best experiences of your life- enjoy and thanks!
 

Ewald Schmidt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from Léon- 2011
Camino Portuguese June 2018
tamtamplin said:
mooi Ewald
lekker woorde
.
terloops, ek hoop jyt jou hoed gevind
beste ou maat

Baie dankie! Nee, ek het my hoed maar vir die Camino geskenk, en vertroetel die gedagte van hom terwyl ek snikkend sy foto vashou... :roll:

Sal maar weer 'n ander een by Trappers moet gaan koop.

Buen Camino daar by jou!
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
You are now ready to embark on another Camino-- one that will hopefully take you where you are meant to be. May your path forward be filled with lots of laughter, joyful moments, good health, great friends, unconditional love, and a sense of gratitude.

Buen Camino! :idea:

Caminante no hay camino
Se hace camino al andar.
(Author: Antonio Machado)
 

Ewald Schmidt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from Léon- 2011
Camino Portuguese June 2018
ivar said:
Thanks for a great post!!

Thanks Ivar, and for featuring this on the facebook group! This post comes from the bottom of my heart, it really was one of the best experiences of my whole life so far, and if this post can encourage anybody to go on the Camino, it will make me very happy! Thanks for everything you are doing to promote the Camino, I learned a lot about the Camino here from you and other veterans, and it has helped me a lot on the Camino.

So- if you are reading here, potential Pilgrim, buy your plane ticket and go! It will change your life!
 

Zazee

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked Camino Frances [SJPP-Finesterre] Sept/Oct 2011
Walked inaugural European Peace Walk [Vienna-Trieste] Jul/Aug 2014
Ewald,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share this. I start the Camino on Sept 10th and your post has bolstered my courage to embark on this journey.
 

Ewald Schmidt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from Léon- 2011
Camino Portuguese June 2018
Zazee said:
Ewald,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share this. I start the Camino on Sept 10th and your post has bolstered my courage to embark on this journey.

I am so happy that it has meant something to you! Enjoy your Camino- it will be hard sometimes, as anything worth doing will be. But it will also be one of the best things you have ever done, if you let it...
Just really pack lite, make sure your shoes are right (light and walked in...) and learn some Spanish if you dont know the language.

Most of all- just go and enjoy it. Everything always works out right on the Camino, even if it is not always as you planned it!
 

Sharni

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: April/May 2011
Camino Norte/Vadiniense/Frances: April/May 2013
Camino Frances: April/May 2016
Thank you Ewald!! Your post was truly amazing.. It's as if you read what was in my heart and head that I could not even put into words! I have resisted writing a "conclusion" to my Camino (April/May 2011) but I think now I might. It will be alright, it's not finished or over and done with!! I can still learn more about myself on the Camino and as another poster has said, I can do another Camino :). Best wishes and thank you. Sharni
 

Ewald Schmidt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from Léon- 2011
Camino Portuguese June 2018
Hi Sharni! Like my friend Petro said from our neighbouring town (she has done 2 complete Camino Frances 's!) not a day goes by without thinking of the experience... It is still growing inside me, and already the wish was born to do another Camino... Buen Camino to you too!
 

Arn

Veteran Member
Ewald,

Dankie vir jou gedagtes en opregte refleksies uit na die Forum. Jy het 'n ware Afrikaner waardering vir hoe die kleinste verandering in ons daaglikse lewens kan lei tot die groter waarhede voor

Wel gedaan!

Arn

(Sorry for the poor Afrikaans...get little practice since my boer Meisie passed away.)
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Ewald, Thank you for sharing such personal reflections with us here. I have two friends thinking about walking the Camino- and I am going to share your reflection with them.
Margaret
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Ewald,

Thank you so much for this! I agree with every word of your story, and it was a great experience to read your words. It was like I was back on the track.

Thnak you so much!

I guess I will never finish my camino: I walked the Frances in 2009, and halfway of the Via de la Plata this May, and will do Salamanca-Santiago next May. For some reason, the Camino won't let go of me: Too many good thoughts, memories, people and moments are found on The Way.

I have the hope of bringing my girlfriend, although with bad knees, and my sister, 75, on the Frances. I want them to experience the great spiritual feeling that many of us reach on the Camino. I hope I succeed, but time is working against me, unfortunally. But I will do my very best, even if it means that I will be joined by a couple of busegrinos/taxigrinos...
 

Ewald Schmidt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from Léon- 2011
Camino Portuguese June 2018
Sorry about your loss, Arn!

And thanks for the kind words!
 

Ewald Schmidt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from Léon- 2011
Camino Portuguese June 2018
KiwiNomad06 said:
Ewald, Thank you for sharing such personal reflections with us here. I have two friends thinking about walking the Camino- and I am going to share your reflection with them.
Margaret

Thanks Margaret! I hope your friends enjoy their Camino. And I wish I were in your country today!
It must be quite exciting times for the rugby fans there...
 

Ewald Schmidt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from Léon- 2011
Camino Portuguese June 2018
alexwalker said:
Ewald,

Thank you so much for this! I agree with every word of your story, and it was a great experience to read your words. It was like I was back on the track.

Thnak you so much!

I guess I will never finish my camino: I walked the Frances in 2009, and halfway of the Via de la Plata this May, and will do Salamanca-Santiago next May. For some reason, the Camino won't let go of me: Too many good thoughts, memories, people and moments are found on The Way.

I have the hope of bringing my girlfriend, although with bad knees, and my sister, 75, on the Frances. I want them to experience the great spiritual feeling that many of us reach on the Camino. I hope I succeed, but time is working against me, unfortunally. But I will do my very best, even if it means that I will be joined by a couple of busegrinos/taxigrinos...

Thanks Alex! That is one thing, if the Camino bites you, it will never let go. It has been two months since I returned, going on three, and already I am starting to think how I would be able to afford going back, doing the whole French Way...

Buen Camino to you!
 

gidivet

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to SdC - April - June 2014
Le Puy to Conques May 2016
Multiple CF sections since 2014
Hi Ewald

I followed your Camino and now it's my turn. I'm planning to start from SPDP in late April 2014. Your reflections here are a great encouragement.
 

stevenjarvis

Active Member
Hi Ewald

I followed your Camino and now it's my turn. I'm planning to start from SPDP in late April 2014. Your reflections here are a great encouragement.
@gidivet , THANK YOU , for bringing this to the top.
Ewald Schmidt was last here in July, but if you revisit Ewald, thank you too . Great reading for past present and future pilgrims .
 

gidivet

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to SdC - April - June 2014
Le Puy to Conques May 2016
Multiple CF sections since 2014
@stephenjarvis :)
 

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