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My Thoughts About The Camino

Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
#1
Well, I’m sitting in Nice France, sipping on a lovely Limoncello and PepsiMax and trying to make some sense out of the past 34 days on the Camino. It is hard to believe that a few days ago I was walking into the square in Santiago.

My body is a little anxious as I sit here – it feels like the happy dog sled team waiting for the command “mush” to go. After walking more than 500 miles my body has become a finely-tuned machine focused on just a few simple things: Hike, Eat and Sleep.

As I have mentioned before, I believe that the Camino is a very personal experience.

It seems to me that your state of mind/current situation will help determine what you get from the Camino.

Some people I met came to the Camino with a “full plate” (i.e. lost their job, got divorced, lost a loved one…) In these cases, I believe the Camino can be a life altering event.

For me, I came to the Camino without a lot on my plate. My only expectations were to walk 500 miles (800km) and raise some money for a great charity. Anything else would be a bonus.

So, what did I get out of 34 days of walking the Camino? Well, here are a few of my random thoughts (maybe I will eventually find some grand unified thought?). So here goes, in no particular order:

  • Let’s start with the big picture. I can identify 3 unique phases I went through on the Camino:
    1. The first third of the trip was filled with gratitude. Hiking for hours in the “classroom of silence” allowed me to truly understand how much I have to be thankful for. In my “normal life” I can only spend minutes in the “classroom of silence” and never get to the depths I achieved on the Camino.
    2. The second third of the trip was all about will power. After the initial excitement of starting the Camino wears off, you realize that this is more of a test of your will. I have to admit there were a few days I really didn’t want to hike. It was cold and rainy and the thought of hiking for 8 hours in those conditions was not that exciting.
    3. The final third of the trip was all about rejuvenation. At this point, I could see/feel the prize was within my grasp – Santiago. I also felt that lots of baggage/dust accumulated over the years was dropping off with each mile I hiked, bringing me closer to becoming a better version of myself.
  • I learned to appreciate the small things in life like 2 cotton sheets on my bed, a long hot shower, a cotton bath towel, a meal WITHOUT french fries :)
  • I am generally an optimist, but meeting such wonderful people on the Camino reinforced my beliefs in the goodness of people.
  • Life on the Camino shrinks your world... to just a few basic things. You wake-up, start hiking, eat, talk to other pilgrims (if you want to) and sleep. The only choices/worries for the day are how far to hike, what to eat and where to sleep. Your world gets really small and that can be a good thing because you start to realize that you really don’t need that much stuff to enjoy life. You start to realize that maybe you don’t need all the stuff in your pre-Camino life. I plan on simplifying my life going forward. (I’m just not sure what that looks like right now)
  • It is weird to think that for 34 days, I never slept in the same bed twice.
  • I got to meet some amazing people on the Camino and they helped to make my Camino a really incredible experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I only hope that I helped them in some small way to enhance their Camino.
It’s a great day to be a pilgrim (and I plan to be a pilgrim for the rest of my life).


Cheers,

-jj
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#2
JJ,
What a happy sucess your journey has been; thanks for sharing your honest heartfelt thoughts. As time goes by may you continue to ponder your month of memories with pleasure. Now, in the truest sense, Ultreia!
 

Wren

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May 2019
#4
What a lovely write up! I am grateful to you for sharing your thoughts. I will not be walking as far, but hope that I too, can gain some of that peace and understanding. Not that I lack understanding, but I do hope to find my own inner depths, as you seem to have. Ultreia!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#6
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. A pilgrim life is strangely addicting. I’m going back for number two this coming Spring. Last time I walked shortly after my father’s death. I’ll be interested to see how my experience on my next Camino varies from the first. I’m guessing that each time we walk we have new observations and experiences.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#7
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. A pilgrim life is strangely addicting. I’m going back for number two this coming Spring. Last time I walked shortly after my father’s death. I’ll be interested to see how my experience on my next Camino varies from the first. I’m guessing that each time we walk we have new observations and experiences.
Each camino is so different, Tom. Each time I walk and I look back on the experience it is like I was 3 different people. One great thing is you learn after your first Camino not to expect to fulfill your expectations. That is really important because you can't replicate your first experience, like so many other first experiences the newness only is new once. But you will see you will have wonder, excitement, pain, and fellowship that will be all yours and only remembered from the second Camino experience.
 

skeyes0715

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
#9
Well, I’m sitting in Nice France, sipping on a lovely Limoncello and PepsiMax and trying to make some sense out of the past 34 days on the Camino. It is hard to believe that a few days ago I was walking into the square in Santiago.

My body is a little anxious as I sit here – it feels like the happy dog sled team waiting for the command “mush” to go. After walking more than 500 miles my body has become a finely-tuned machine focused on just a few simple things: Hike, Eat and Sleep.

As I have mentioned before, I believe that the Camino is a very personal experience.

It seems to me that your state of mind/current situation will help determine what you get from the Camino.

Some people I met came to the Camino with a “full plate” (i.e. lost their job, got divorced, lost a loved one…) In these cases, I believe the Camino can be a life altering event.

For me, I came to the Camino without a lot on my plate. My only expectations were to walk 500 miles (800km) and raise some money for a great charity. Anything else would be a bonus.

So, what did I get out of 34 days of walking the Camino? Well, here are a few of my random thoughts (maybe I will eventually find some grand unified thought?). So here goes, in no particular order:

  • Let’s start with the big picture. I can identify 3 unique phases I went through on the Camino:
    1. The first third of the trip was filled with gratitude. Hiking for hours in the “classroom of silence” allowed me to truly understand how much I have to be thankful for. In my “normal life” I can only spend minutes in the “classroom of silence” and never get to the depths I achieved on the Camino.
    2. The second third of the trip was all about will power. After the initial excitement of starting the Camino wears off, you realize that this is more of a test of your will. I have to admit there were a few days I really didn’t want to hike. It was cold and rainy and the thought of hiking for 8 hours in those conditions was not that exciting.
    3. The final third of the trip was all about rejuvenation. At this point, I could see/feel the prize was within my grasp – Santiago. I also felt that lots of baggage/dust accumulated over the years was dropping off with each mile I hiked, bringing me closer to becoming a better version of myself.
  • I learned to appreciate the small things in life like 2 cotton sheets on my bed, a long hot shower, a cotton bath towel, a meal WITHOUT french fries :)
  • I am generally an optimist, but meeting such wonderful people on the Camino reinforced my beliefs in the goodness of people.
  • Life on the Camino shrinks your world... to just a few basic things. You wake-up, start hiking, eat, talk to other pilgrims (if you want to) and sleep. The only choices/worries for the day are how far to hike, what to eat and where to sleep. Your world gets really small and that can be a good thing because you start to realize that you really don’t need that much stuff to enjoy life. You start to realize that maybe you don’t need all the stuff in your pre-Camino life. I plan on simplifying my life going forward. (I’m just not sure what that looks like right now)
  • It is weird to think that for 34 days, I never slept in the same bed twice.
  • I got to meet some amazing people on the Camino and they helped to make my Camino a really incredible experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I only hope that I helped them in some small way to enhance their Camino.
It’s a great day to be a pilgrim (and I plan to be a pilgrim for the rest of my life).


Cheers,

-jj
 

skeyes0715

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
#10
Wonderful post, thank you. My three thoughts are very similar, but I broke them down into discipline. The discipline to train before we went to Spain, the discipline to get up each morning and get to the walk ahead and finally, the discipline to have a positive attitude.

I look forward to our next trip to finsih the portion of the Camino we did not complete as well as the Camino Portugues, Camino LePuy and much more.

I like you have become a peregringo for life. (note the spelling).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017
#11
Each camino is so different, Tom. Each time I walk and I look back on the experience it is like I was 3 different people. One great thing is you learn after your first Camino not to expect to fulfill your expectations. That is really important because you can't replicate your first experience, like so many other first experiences the newness only is new once. But you will see you will have wonder, excitement, pain, and fellowship that will be all yours and only remembered from the second Camino experience.
I was glad to read both you and Tom's reply. I'm thinking very hard on going a second time but feel slightly hesitant. I'm afraid part of me wants to go simply to chase the ghosts of the first camino Ioved so much. I need to drop the expectations and let go of that part of me and I'll be ready once more.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
#12
I was glad to read both you and Tom's reply. I'm thinking very hard on going a second time but feel slightly hesitant. I'm afraid part of me wants to go simply to chase the ghosts of the first camino Ioved so much. I need to drop the expectations and let go of that part of me and I'll be ready once more.
I have only gone once, but I can see your point about the second time... kind like your first kiss, first date, first... :) ????

On the other hand, I really believe what you get out of the Camino is based largely on what you bring to the Camino. Going to the Camino with a "full plate" of problems/questions... will look a lot different than going with little on your plate (i.e. just retired for example)

Some people go looking for answers, while others go to question things.

-jj
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017
#13
I have only gone once, but I can see your point about the second time... kind like your first kiss, first date, first... :) ????

On the other hand, I really believe what you get out of the Camino is based largely on what you bring to the Camino. Going to the Camino with a "full plate" of problems/questions... will look a lot different than going with little on your plate (i.e. just retired for example)

Some people go looking for answers, while others go to question things.

-jj
Very true and another good perspective on things. Thank you.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#14
The hard core repeat offenders on here will tell you that no two Caminos are the same. Each has it's joys and its not quite so's. I was convinced that the second time around would be a let down but is wasn't, it was just different; and I still shed a tear at the end.
It's heading down that rocky track into Cee does it for me. I can see the lighthouse at the end-of-the-world and I know it's over and that my offering has been accepted: but that just means I'll have to do it again :0)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#15
Each camino is so different, Tom. Each time I walk and I look back on the experience it is like I was 3 different people. One great thing is you learn after your first Camino not to expect to fulfill your expectations. That is really important because you can't replicate your first experience, like so many other first experiences the newness only is new once. But you will see you will have wonder, excitement, pain, and fellowship that will be all yours and only remembered from the second Camino experience.
Wonder, excitement, pain, and fellowship will be just fine by me. Well, maybe not too much of that pain thing. ;-)

You’re so right, there’s no sense in trying to relive a prior Camino. I’m excited to see how this next Camino evolves. I’ll be leaving expectations behind.

I’ll also be living vicariously through you on your Camino Norte this Fall. I can only imagine how excited your are, only a couple months out now from your fourth Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#16
Well, I’m sitting in Nice France, sipping on a lovely Limoncello and PepsiMax and trying to make some sense out of the past 34 days on the Camino. It is hard to believe that a few days ago I was walking into the square in Santiago.

My body is a little anxious as I sit here – it feels like the happy dog sled team waiting for the command “mush” to go. After walking more than 500 miles my body has become a finely-tuned machine focused on just a few simple things: Hike, Eat and Sleep.

As I have mentioned before, I believe that the Camino is a very personal experience.

It seems to me that your state of mind/current situation will help determine what you get from the Camino.

Some people I met came to the Camino with a “full plate” (i.e. lost their job, got divorced, lost a loved one…) In these cases, I believe the Camino can be a life altering event.

For me, I came to the Camino without a lot on my plate. My only expectations were to walk 500 miles (800km) and raise some money for a great charity. Anything else would be a bonus.

So, what did I get out of 34 days of walking the Camino? Well, here are a few of my random thoughts (maybe I will eventually find some grand unified thought?). So here goes, in no particular order:

  • Let’s start with the big picture. I can identify 3 unique phases I went through on the Camino:
    1. The first third of the trip was filled with gratitude. Hiking for hours in the “classroom of silence” allowed me to truly understand how much I have to be thankful for. In my “normal life” I can only spend minutes in the “classroom of silence” and never get to the depths I achieved on the Camino.
    2. The second third of the trip was all about will power. After the initial excitement of starting the Camino wears off, you realize that this is more of a test of your will. I have to admit there were a few days I really didn’t want to hike. It was cold and rainy and the thought of hiking for 8 hours in those conditions was not that exciting.
    3. The final third of the trip was all about rejuvenation. At this point, I could see/feel the prize was within my grasp – Santiago. I also felt that lots of baggage/dust accumulated over the years was dropping off with each mile I hiked, bringing me closer to becoming a better version of myself.
  • I learned to appreciate the small things in life like 2 cotton sheets on my bed, a long hot shower, a cotton bath towel, a meal WITHOUT french fries :)
  • I am generally an optimist, but meeting such wonderful people on the Camino reinforced my beliefs in the goodness of people.
  • Life on the Camino shrinks your world... to just a few basic things. You wake-up, start hiking, eat, talk to other pilgrims (if you want to) and sleep. The only choices/worries for the day are how far to hike, what to eat and where to sleep. Your world gets really small and that can be a good thing because you start to realize that you really don’t need that much stuff to enjoy life. You start to realize that maybe you don’t need all the stuff in your pre-Camino life. I plan on simplifying my life going forward. (I’m just not sure what that looks like right now)
  • It is weird to think that for 34 days, I never slept in the same bed twice.
  • I got to meet some amazing people on the Camino and they helped to make my Camino a really incredible experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I only hope that I helped them in some small way to enhance their Camino.
It’s a great day to be a pilgrim (and I plan to be a pilgrim for the rest of my life).


Cheers,

-jj
thank you for taking the time to share. You are helping pilgrims, and pilgringos present and future through your reflections on your Camino.I wish you every success in your determination to remember to be a pilgrim from here on in! I thank you specially for that reminder to myself of my own plan to be just that!
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#17
Such a beautiful post from the OP!

Going on a second Camino expecting to relive the experience of the first is kinda like starting a second relationship expecting to live the same emotions of your first love - it WON´T happen, and having that expectation may bring more frustation that good.

But if you just let it be, it will be wonderful, in a different manner. Just be open to it :)

(As context, I'm planning my third camino, to be walked with my husband - who was my fourth boyfriend! I eventually got it right! Lol)
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#19
As others have alluded to, every Camino is different. I will add that, like many of life's experiences, the "first time" is one you will remember forever. It is the moment that you went from being a plain person, to a pilgrim. A pilgrim looks at the world, it's people and it's challenges differently than a not-yet pilgrim.

To ensure a positive outcome the second and subsequent Caminos you undertake, DO NOT expect each Camino to be the same as the first, and have the same effects as the first one. That is a singular, one-time event in your life. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Do enjoy the journey.

Welcome to our magnificent obsession...:eek:

Hope this helps.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#21
I was glad to read both you and Tom's reply. I'm thinking very hard on going a second time but feel slightly hesitant. I'm afraid part of me wants to go simply to chase the ghosts of the first camino Ioved so much. I need to drop the expectations and let go of that part of me and I'll be ready once more.
I think one thing you might want to consider is walking a different Camino. They are all so different or if possible a different time of the year. I walked the Camino from Le Puy and it is so so different than the Frances. I have always walked starting in late September so that will affect the number of pilgrims and weather of course. You will walk many days in solitude without seeing more than a few people. Some days none. I speak no French and no one speaks English. It took me over a week to realize the French don’t call it the Camino. Because when you said when you were lost, only Camino? They would look at you with vacant eyes and shrug their shoulders.
Some days nothing is open from when you leave to when you arrive. Some of it is hard walking and I’d you get lost you have to figure it out yourself. But you stay in lovely Gites and have absolutely incredible meals. Learn to communicate with feelings eyes and hands. Make friends, see spectacular scenery and learn to be your own best friend and company. You really learn you don’t have to be afraid of being afraid and of the unknown.
You could walk the Portugues where it is somewhere in between the Frances and Le Puy.
I said I would never walk the CF again because of the masses of people and to me commercialization on the route. I like the silence and solitude. But I love that Camino and I saw a film about walking it in winter. My friend Tom who you referred to is walking it next February. I will be following his walk with great interest and excitement. From the film and my mind’s eye I think it will be amazing. That is going to be a Camino I do after I walk the Norte this year and Via de la Plata next year. Do it, be just as open to what will be and clear your mind of all the mush!!!! I am still afraid before every walk about the pain the experience, the same doubts as you expressed. The difference between you and I, and it’s a tiny one that you will learn on your next first step is, now I just have the thoughts and fears, acknowledge them, curse them out in my mind (I won’t say the words here as my brother Tom NEVER says bad words, he is so annoying!) and the let them GO! Just keep walking.
Buen Camino
 

yakremark

Sister Kay Kramer CDP
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Sept. 2012)
CF (Oct-Nov. 2014)
#23
Thank you for sharing what "you got out of the Camino!" Camino lessons last forever!
 

charliec

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino del norte(2012) camino portugese(sept. 2014)
#24
Well, I’m sitting in Nice France, sipping on a lovely Limoncello and PepsiMax and trying to make some sense out of the past 34 days on the Camino. It is hard to believe that a few days ago I was walking into the square in Santiago.

My body is a little anxious as I sit here – it feels like the happy dog sled team waiting for the command “mush” to go. After walking more than 500 miles my body has become a finely-tuned machine focused on just a few simple things: Hike, Eat and Sleep.

As I have mentioned before, I believe that the Camino is a very personal experience.

It seems to me that your state of mind/current situation will help determine what you get from the Camino.

Some people I met came to the Camino with a “full plate” (i.e. lost their job, got divorced, lost a loved one…) In these cases, I believe the Camino can be a life altering event.

For me, I came to the Camino without a lot on my plate. My only expectations were to walk 500 miles (800km) and raise some money for a great charity. Anything else would be a bonus.

So, what did I get out of 34 days of walking the Camino? Well, here are a few of my random thoughts (maybe I will eventually find some grand unified thought?). So here goes, in no particular order:

  • Let’s start with the big picture. I can identify 3 unique phases I went through on the Camino:
    1. The first third of the trip was filled with gratitude. Hiking for hours in the “classroom of silence” allowed me to truly understand how much I have to be thankful for. In my “normal life” I can only spend minutes in the “classroom of silence” and never get to the depths I achieved on the Camino.
    2. The second third of the trip was all about will power. After the initial excitement of starting the Camino wears off, you realize that this is more of a test of your will. I have to admit there were a few days I really didn’t want to hike. It was cold and rainy and the thought of hiking for 8 hours in those conditions was not that exciting.
    3. The final third of the trip was all about rejuvenation. At this point, I could see/feel the prize was within my grasp – Santiago. I also felt that lots of baggage/dust accumulated over the years was dropping off with each mile I hiked, bringing me closer to becoming a better version of myself.
  • I learned to appreciate the small things in life like 2 cotton sheets on my bed, a long hot shower, a cotton bath towel, a meal WITHOUT french fries :)
  • I am generally an optimist, but meeting such wonderful people on the Camino reinforced my beliefs in the goodness of people.
  • Life on the Camino shrinks your world... to just a few basic things. You wake-up, start hiking, eat, talk to other pilgrims (if you want to) and sleep. The only choices/worries for the day are how far to hike, what to eat and where to sleep. Your world gets really small and that can be a good thing because you start to realize that you really don’t need that much stuff to enjoy life. You start to realize that maybe you don’t need all the stuff in your pre-Camino life. I plan on simplifying my life going forward. (I’m just not sure what that looks like right now)
  • It is weird to think that for 34 days, I never slept in the same bed twice.
  • I got to meet some amazing people on the Camino and they helped to make my Camino a really incredible experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I only hope that I helped them in some small way to enhance their Camino.
It’s a great day to be a pilgrim (and I plan to be a pilgrim for the rest of my life).


Cheers,

-jj
Thanks, your thoughts are precious to me, and a couple of tears at two places, "gratitude," and "amazing people." My feelings exactly.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#26
I think one thing you might want to consider is walking a different Camino. They are all so different or if possible a different time of the year. I walked the Camino from Le Puy and it is so so different than the Frances. I have always walked starting in late September so that will affect the number of pilgrims and weather of course. You will walk many days in solitude without seeing more than a few people. Some days none. I speak no French and no one speaks English. It took me over a week to realize the French don’t call it the Camino. Because when you said when you were lost, only Camino? They would look at you with vacant eyes and shrug their shoulders.
Some days nothing is open from when you leave to when you arrive. Some of it is hard walking and I’d you get lost you have to figure it out yourself. But you stay in lovely Gites and have absolutely incredible meals. Learn to communicate with feelings eyes and hands. Make friends, see spectacular scenery and learn to be your own best friend and company. You really learn you don’t have to be afraid of being afraid and of the unknown.
You could walk the Portugues where it is somewhere in between the Frances and Le Puy.
I said I would never walk the CF again because of the masses of people and to me commercialization on the route. I like the silence and solitude. But I love that Camino and I saw a film about walking it in winter. My friend Tom who you referred to is walking it next February. I will be following his walk with great interest and excitement. From the film and my mind’s eye I think it will be amazing. That is going to be a Camino I do after I walk the Norte this year and Via de la Plata next year. Do it, be just as open to what will be and clear your mind of all the mush!!!! I am still afraid before every walk about the pain the experience, the same doubts as you expressed. The difference between you and I, and it’s a tiny one that you will learn on your next first step is, now I just have the thoughts and fears, acknowledge them, curse them out in my mind (I won’t say the words here as my brother Tom NEVER says bad words, he is so annoying!) and the let them GO! Just keep walking.
Buen Camino
Hah! There are just some words that roll off the tongue and others that get stuck, like a hair at the back of the throat. I’ll plead guilty to being annoying though. Lyle, when we walk in Winter, I promise not to blush when you have one of your spiritual moments on the Meseta. ;-)
 

GloriaAnn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to walk in September 2018
#27
Well, I’m sitting in Nice France, sipping on a lovely Limoncello and PepsiMax and trying to make some sense out of the past 34 days on the Camino. It is hard to believe that a few days ago I was walking into the square in Santiago.

My body is a little anxious as I sit here – it feels like the happy dog sled team waiting for the command “mush” to go. After walking more than 500 miles my body has become a finely-tuned machine focused on just a few simple things: Hike, Eat and Sleep.

As I have mentioned before, I believe that the Camino is a very personal experience.

It seems to me that your state of mind/current situation will help determine what you get from the Camino.

Some people I met came to the Camino with a “full plate” (i.e. lost their job, got divorced, lost a loved one…) In these cases, I believe the Camino can be a life altering event.

For me, I came to the Camino without a lot on my plate. My only expectations were to walk 500 miles (800km) and raise some money for a great charity. Anything else would be a bonus.

So, what did I get out of 34 days of walking the Camino? Well, here are a few of my random thoughts (maybe I will eventually find some grand unified thought?). So here goes, in no particular order:

  • Let’s start with the big picture. I can identify 3 unique phases I went through on the Camino:
    1. The first third of the trip was filled with gratitude. Hiking for hours in the “classroom of silence” allowed me to truly understand how much I have to be thankful for. In my “normal life” I can only spend minutes in the “classroom of silence” and never get to the depths I achieved on the Camino.
    2. The second third of the trip was all about will power. After the initial excitement of starting the Camino wears off, you realize that this is more of a test of your will. I have to admit there were a few days I really didn’t want to hike. It was cold and rainy and the thought of hiking for 8 hours in those conditions was not that exciting.
    3. The final third of the trip was all about rejuvenation. At this point, I could see/feel the prize was within my grasp – Santiago. I also felt that lots of baggage/dust accumulated over the years was dropping off with each mile I hiked, bringing me closer to becoming a better version of myself.
  • I learned to appreciate the small things in life like 2 cotton sheets on my bed, a long hot shower, a cotton bath towel, a meal WITHOUT french fries :)
  • I am generally an optimist, but meeting such wonderful people on the Camino reinforced my beliefs in the goodness of people.
  • Life on the Camino shrinks your world... to just a few basic things. You wake-up, start hiking, eat, talk to other pilgrims (if you want to) and sleep. The only choices/worries for the day are how far to hike, what to eat and where to sleep. Your world gets really small and that can be a good thing because you start to realize that you really don’t need that much stuff to enjoy life. You start to realize that maybe you don’t need all the stuff in your pre-Camino life. I plan on simplifying my life going forward. (I’m just not sure what that looks like right now)
  • It is weird to think that for 34 days, I never slept in the same bed twice.
  • I got to meet some amazing people on the Camino and they helped to make my Camino a really incredible experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I only hope that I helped them in some small way to enhance their Camino.
It’s a great day to be a pilgrim (and I plan to be a pilgrim for the rest of my life).


Cheers,

-jj
Congratulations on completing the Camino! And, thanks for the words of wisdom for future walkers. ❤️
 

marstine

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#28
Well, I’m sitting in Nice France, sipping on a lovely Limoncello and PepsiMax and trying to make some sense out of the past 34 days on the Camino. It is hard to believe that a few days ago I was walking into the square in Santiago.

My body is a little anxious as I sit here – it feels like the happy dog sled team waiting for the command “mush” to go. After walking more than 500 miles my body has become a finely-tuned machine focused on just a few simple things: Hike, Eat and Sleep.

As I have mentioned before, I believe that the Camino is a very personal experience.

It seems to me that your state of mind/current situation will help determine what you get from the Camino.

Some people I met came to the Camino with a “full plate” (i.e. lost their job, got divorced, lost a loved one…) In these cases, I believe the Camino can be a life altering event.

For me, I came to the Camino without a lot on my plate. My only expectations were to walk 500 miles (800km) and raise some money for a great charity. Anything else would be a bonus.

So, what did I get out of 34 days of walking the Camino? Well, here are a few of my random thoughts (maybe I will eventually find some grand unified thought?). So here goes, in no particular order:

  • Let’s start with the big picture. I can identify 3 unique phases I went through on the Camino:
    1. The first third of the trip was filled with gratitude. Hiking for hours in the “classroom of silence” allowed me to truly understand how much I have to be thankful for. In my “normal life” I can only spend minutes in the “classroom of silence” and never get to the depths I achieved on the Camino.
    2. The second third of the trip was all about will power. After the initial excitement of starting the Camino wears off, you realize that this is more of a test of your will. I have to admit there were a few days I really didn’t want to hike. It was cold and rainy and the thought of hiking for 8 hours in those conditions was not that exciting.
    3. The final third of the trip was all about rejuvenation. At this point, I could see/feel the prize was within my grasp – Santiago. I also felt that lots of baggage/dust accumulated over the years was dropping off with each mile I hiked, bringing me closer to becoming a better version of myself.
  • I learned to appreciate the small things in life like 2 cotton sheets on my bed, a long hot shower, a cotton bath towel, a meal WITHOUT french fries :)
  • I am generally an optimist, but meeting such wonderful people on the Camino reinforced my beliefs in the goodness of people.
  • Life on the Camino shrinks your world... to just a few basic things. You wake-up, start hiking, eat, talk to other pilgrims (if you want to) and sleep. The only choices/worries for the day are how far to hike, what to eat and where to sleep. Your world gets really small and that can be a good thing because you start to realize that you really don’t need that much stuff to enjoy life. You start to realize that maybe you don’t need all the stuff in your pre-Camino life. I plan on simplifying my life going forward. (I’m just not sure what that looks like right now)
  • It is weird to think that for 34 days, I never slept in the same bed twice.
  • I got to meet some amazing people on the Camino and they helped to make my Camino a really incredible experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I only hope that I helped them in some small way to enhance their Camino.
It’s a great day to be a pilgrim (and I plan to be a pilgrim for the rest of my life).


Cheers,

-jj
Thanks for your comments. We finished in 34 days also and walked into Santiago on May 23, this year. You articulated so well the exact sentiment that we felt and continue to feel now. And we loved your last comment because it’s our same hope, that we too will remain pilgrims!
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#29
I was glad to read both you and Tom's reply. I'm thinking very hard on going a second time but feel slightly hesitant. I'm afraid part of me wants to go simply to chase the ghosts of the first camino Ioved so much. I need to drop the expectations and let go of that part of me and I'll be ready once more.
It's like having children. I have two daughters as alike as chalk and cheese - it appears the user manual for the first doesn't cover the second! Still love them both though ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
#30
The only choices/worries for the day are how far to hike, what to eat and where to sleep.
The discipline to train before we went to Spain, the discipline to get up each morning and get to the walk ahead and finally, the discipline to have a positive attitude.
The why and when of my pilgrimage had been decided several years before my first step in April 2016. After five weeks out from Le Puy I had to stop at Estella: I had pulled a bunch of muscles in my right hip as a result of the way I had descended from Alto del Perdon the day before.

The three choices each day and my positive attitude of five weeks was now replaced by anxiety and uncertainty.

In the event I was able to return to Estella late 2017 and to reach Santiago de Compostela with three choices and great attitude each day.

However, it was a differnt journey. I may have changed in the intervening year. Another change was my lack of travelling companions. In France I was often bumping into those I had met before. They tended to be in groups (sic) of one or two. In Spain the groups were often larger and they tended to keep together. In three weeks I had only one extensive conversation.

They are all so different ...
Quite right.

However, I am a tiger for punishment: I return to Europe soon to begin walking from Canterbury towards Rome.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Frances, 2017 Frances, (2019 ???)
#32
Well, I’m sitting in Nice France, sipping on a lovely Limoncello and PepsiMax and trying to make some sense out of the past 34 days on the Camino. It is hard to believe that a few days ago I was walking into the square in Santiago.

My body is a little anxious as I sit here – it feels like the happy dog sled team waiting for the command “mush” to go. After walking more than 500 miles my body has become a finely-tuned machine focused on just a few simple things: Hike, Eat and Sleep.

As I have mentioned before, I believe that the Camino is a very personal experience.

It seems to me that your state of mind/current situation will help determine what you get from the Camino.

Some people I met came to the Camino with a “full plate” (i.e. lost their job, got divorced, lost a loved one…) In these cases, I believe the Camino can be a life altering event.

For me, I came to the Camino without a lot on my plate. My only expectations were to walk 500 miles (800km) and raise some money for a great charity. Anything else would be a bonus.

So, what did I get out of 34 days of walking the Camino? Well, here are a few of my random thoughts (maybe I will eventually find some grand unified thought?). So here goes, in no particular order:

  • Let’s start with the big picture. I can identify 3 unique phases I went through on the Camino:
    1. The first third of the trip was filled with gratitude. Hiking for hours in the “classroom of silence” allowed me to truly understand how much I have to be thankful for. In my “normal life” I can only spend minutes in the “classroom of silence” and never get to the depths I achieved on the Camino.
    2. The second third of the trip was all about will power. After the initial excitement of starting the Camino wears off, you realize that this is more of a test of your will. I have to admit there were a few days I really didn’t want to hike. It was cold and rainy and the thought of hiking for 8 hours in those conditions was not that exciting.
    3. The final third of the trip was all about rejuvenation. At this point, I could see/feel the prize was within my grasp – Santiago. I also felt that lots of baggage/dust accumulated over the years was dropping off with each mile I hiked, bringing me closer to becoming a better version of myself.
  • I learned to appreciate the small things in life like 2 cotton sheets on my bed, a long hot shower, a cotton bath towel, a meal WITHOUT french fries :)
  • I am generally an optimist, but meeting such wonderful people on the Camino reinforced my beliefs in the goodness of people.
  • Life on the Camino shrinks your world... to just a few basic things. You wake-up, start hiking, eat, talk to other pilgrims (if you want to) and sleep. The only choices/worries for the day are how far to hike, what to eat and where to sleep. Your world gets really small and that can be a good thing because you start to realize that you really don’t need that much stuff to enjoy life. You start to realize that maybe you don’t need all the stuff in your pre-Camino life. I plan on simplifying my life going forward. (I’m just not sure what that looks like right now)
  • It is weird to think that for 34 days, I never slept in the same bed twice.
  • I got to meet some amazing people on the Camino and they helped to make my Camino a really incredible experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I only hope that I helped them in some small way to enhance their Camino.
It’s a great day to be a pilgrim (and I plan to be a pilgrim for the rest of my life).


Cheers,

-jj
So happy for you...

You got it on your first Camino...

No telling what your experiences will be on Camino #33

Buen Camino
 

MaisyQ

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (August-October 2018)
#34
JJ loved your post. We are fellow Wisconsinites that will be starting our first Camino from SJPdP August 30th. Your post is exactly what we needed to read today!
 
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
#35
JJ loved your post. We are fellow Wisconsinites that will be starting our first Camino from SJPdP August 30th. Your post is exactly what we needed to read today!
Glad to help a fellow cheesehead :)

Go Packers!!!!

FYI... here is my blog https://jjscamino.wordpress.com/tag/blog/

Might be helpful????

Also, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Cheers,


-jj
 
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
#36
So happy for you...

You got it on your first Camino...

No telling what your experiences will be on Camino #33

Buen Camino
#33 :eek:

Although, after just 2 weeks after completing the Camino, I'm feeling a small itch. Maybe next summer???

Cheers,

-jj
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Frances, 2017 Frances, (2019 ???)
#38
Glad to help a fellow cheesehead :)

Go Packers!!!!

FYI... here is my blog https://jjscamino.wordpress.com/tag/blog/

Might be helpful????

Also, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Cheers,


-jj
JJ...

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is present; Does it make any noise???

If someone is really a 'Cheesehead' is there any hope of helping them???

Black&Gold...

Go Hawks!!!

Peace Be With You (Badger)

Buen Camino
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
future (spring 2019)
#39
Well, I’m sitting in Nice France, sipping on a lovely Limoncello and PepsiMax and trying to make some sense out of the past 34 days on the Camino. It is hard to believe that a few days ago I was walking into the square in Santiago.

My body is a little anxious as I sit here – it feels like the happy dog sled team waiting for the command “mush” to go. After walking more than 500 miles my body has become a finely-tuned machine focused on just a few simple things: Hike, Eat and Sleep.

As I have mentioned before, I believe that the Camino is a very personal experience.

It seems to me that your state of mind/current situation will help determine what you get from the Camino.

Some people I met came to the Camino with a “full plate” (i.e. lost their job, got divorced, lost a loved one…) In these cases, I believe the Camino can be a life altering event.

For me, I came to the Camino without a lot on my plate. My only expectations were to walk 500 miles (800km) and raise some money for a great charity. Anything else would be a bonus.

So, what did I get out of 34 days of walking the Camino? Well, here are a few of my random thoughts (maybe I will eventually find some grand unified thought?). So here goes, in no particular order:

  • Let’s start with the big picture. I can identify 3 unique phases I went through on the Camino:
    1. The first third of the trip was filled with gratitude. Hiking for hours in the “classroom of silence” allowed me to truly understand how much I have to be thankful for. In my “normal life” I can only spend minutes in the “classroom of silence” and never get to the depths I achieved on the Camino.
    2. The second third of the trip was all about will power. After the initial excitement of starting the Camino wears off, you realize that this is more of a test of your will. I have to admit there were a few days I really didn’t want to hike. It was cold and rainy and the thought of hiking for 8 hours in those conditions was not that exciting.
    3. The final third of the trip was all about rejuvenation. At this point, I could see/feel the prize was within my grasp – Santiago. I also felt that lots of baggage/dust accumulated over the years was dropping off with each mile I hiked, bringing me closer to becoming a better version of myself.
  • I learned to appreciate the small things in life like 2 cotton sheets on my bed, a long hot shower, a cotton bath towel, a meal WITHOUT french fries :)
  • I am generally an optimist, but meeting such wonderful people on the Camino reinforced my beliefs in the goodness of people.
  • Life on the Camino shrinks your world... to just a few basic things. You wake-up, start hiking, eat, talk to other pilgrims (if you want to) and sleep. The only choices/worries for the day are how far to hike, what to eat and where to sleep. Your world gets really small and that can be a good thing because you start to realize that you really don’t need that much stuff to enjoy life. You start to realize that maybe you don’t need all the stuff in your pre-Camino life. I plan on simplifying my life going forward. (I’m just not sure what that looks like right now)
  • It is weird to think that for 34 days, I never slept in the same bed twice.
  • I got to meet some amazing people on the Camino and they helped to make my Camino a really incredible experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I only hope that I helped them in some small way to enhance their Camino.
It’s a great day to be a pilgrim (and I plan to be a pilgrim for the rest of my life).


Cheers,

-jj
hey JJ, im planning to do it in Spring next year, when did you start? Do you have any tips? warning? recommendations?
 
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
#40
hey JJ, im planning to do it in Spring next year, when did you start? Do you have any tips? warning? recommendations?
I started on May 22 & ended on June 24.

Here is a post I made with my tips: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/tips-tricks-i-learned-from-the-camino.56581/

Warnings/Recommendations:
  • Don't overpack! Keep your pack weight light.
  • Everyone will have a different experience on the Camino (hence the term "My Camino"). For me, I think it is important to NOT have too many expectations going into the Camino. For me it was pretty simple... walk 500 miles and raise some money for a great charity. Anything more was a bonus. (See point # 1 in my original post on my "bonus")
  • I did lots of research to prepare for the Camino, BUT I avoided videos/books that went too deep on what to expect, the sights, the sounds, smells... I wanted to discover that for myself and form my own opinions.
  • Don't freak out... YES, 500 miles seems like a lot. You have to view it as... 15-20 miles TODAY. I think most people in reasonable shape can do the Camino. The only variable is how many days it will take you. I met some pilgrims who were doing ~10 miles a day (which is ~50 days)... I met a guy who was running ~30 miles a day!!! He completed the Camino in ~17 days. If you have troubles, you can always ship your backpack ahead. (Some people might have an issue with this... but this is "Your Camino" and you decide what it will be... NOT someone else)
FYI... here is my daily blog from my Camino... https://jjscamino.wordpress.com/tag/blog/

ALSO... here are a few posts PRE-TRIP with some info that might be helpful: https://jjscamino.wordpress.com/tag/pretrip/


Hope this is helpful!!!


Cheers,

-jj
 
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
#41
JJ...

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is present; Does it make any noise???

If someone is really a 'Cheesehead' is there any hope of helping them???

Black&Gold...

Go Hawks!!!

Peace Be With You (Badger)

Buen Camino
Although I'm a cheesehead... I went to the University of Michigan... GO BLUE!!! :cool::cool::cool:
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Frances, 2017 Frances, (2019 ???)
#42
Although I'm a cheesehead... I went to the University of Michigan... GO BLUE!!! :cool::cool::cool:
It takes a real man to admit to being a ...

'Bleu Cheese Badger'

Wisconsin??? Michigan???

Come to Iowa...Middle Earth...You'll be home.

Black and Gold.

Go Hawks.

Peace be with you.

Buen Camino.
 
#43
Well, I’m sitting in Nice France, sipping on a lovely Limoncello and PepsiMax and trying to make some sense out of the past 34 days on the Camino. It is hard to believe that a few days ago I was walking into the square in Santiago.

My body is a little anxious as I sit here – it feels like the happy dog sled team waiting for the command “mush” to go. After walking more than 500 miles my body has become a finely-tuned machine focused on just a few simple things: Hike, Eat and Sleep.

As I have mentioned before, I believe that the Camino is a very personal experience.

It seems to me that your state of mind/current situation will help determine what you get from the Camino.

Some people I met came to the Camino with a “full plate” (i.e. lost their job, got divorced, lost a loved one…) In these cases, I believe the Camino can be a life altering event.

For me, I came to the Camino without a lot on my plate. My only expectations were to walk 500 miles (800km) and raise some money for a great charity. Anything else would be a bonus.

So, what did I get out of 34 days of walking the Camino? Well, here are a few of my random thoughts (maybe I will eventually find some grand unified thought?). So here goes, in no particular order:

  • Let’s start with the big picture. I can identify 3 unique phases I went through on the Camino:
    1. The first third of the trip was filled with gratitude. Hiking for hours in the “classroom of silence” allowed me to truly understand how much I have to be thankful for. In my “normal life” I can only spend minutes in the “classroom of silence” and never get to the depths I achieved on the Camino.
    2. The second third of the trip was all about will power. After the initial excitement of starting the Camino wears off, you realize that this is more of a test of your will. I have to admit there were a few days I really didn’t want to hike. It was cold and rainy and the thought of hiking for 8 hours in those conditions was not that exciting.
    3. The final third of the trip was all about rejuvenation. At this point, I could see/feel the prize was within my grasp – Santiago. I also felt that lots of baggage/dust accumulated over the years was dropping off with each mile I hiked, bringing me closer to becoming a better version of myself.
  • I learned to appreciate the small things in life like 2 cotton sheets on my bed, a long hot shower, a cotton bath towel, a meal WITHOUT french fries :)
  • I am generally an optimist, but meeting such wonderful people on the Camino reinforced my beliefs in the goodness of people.
  • Life on the Camino shrinks your world... to just a few basic things. You wake-up, start hiking, eat, talk to other pilgrims (if you want to) and sleep. The only choices/worries for the day are how far to hike, what to eat and where to sleep. Your world gets really small and that can be a good thing because you start to realize that you really don’t need that much stuff to enjoy life. You start to realize that maybe you don’t need all the stuff in your pre-Camino life. I plan on simplifying my life going forward. (I’m just not sure what that looks like right now)
  • It is weird to think that for 34 days, I never slept in the same bed twice.
  • I got to meet some amazing people on the Camino and they helped to make my Camino a really incredible experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I only hope that I helped them in some small way to enhance their Camino.
It’s a great day to be a pilgrim (and I plan to be a pilgrim for the rest of my life).


Cheers,

-jj
Buen camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2016) ; 1st Camino ; Frances Way ; 2017 Camino Frances begins August 10,2017
#44
    1. .
  • I learned to appreciate the small things in life like 2 cotton sheets on my bed, a long hot shower, a cotton bath towel, a meal WITHOUT french fries :)
  • I am generally an optimist, but meeting such wonderful people on the Camino reinforced my beliefs in the goodness of people.
  • Life on the Camino shrinks your world... to just a few basic things. You wake-up, start hiking, eat, talk to other pilgrims (if you want to) and sleep. The only choices/worries for the day are how far to hike, what to eat and where to sleep. Your world gets really small and that can be a good thing because you start to realize that you really don’t need that much stuff to enjoy life. You start to realize that maybe you don’t need all the stuff in your pre-Camino life. I plan on simplifying my life going forward. (I’m just not sure what that looks like right now)
  • It is weird to think that for 34 days, I never slept in the same bed twice.
  • I got to meet some amazing people on the Camino and they helped to make my Camino a really incredible experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I only hope that I helped them in some small way to enhance their Camino.



Cheers,
I always felt that the Camino was a microcasm of daily life, with it's ups and downs, challenges, routine, pain and joy and all else one finds in life. It's amazing that once you are back home two things do become apparent (1) I need to simplify my life and (2) one Camino is not enough !

Great post, Thank You !!! Buen Caminos ;-)
 
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
#45
Well, I’m sitting in Nice France, sipping on a lovely Limoncello and PepsiMax and trying to make some sense out of the past 34 days on the Camino. It is hard to believe that a few days ago I was walking into the square in Santiago.

My body is a little anxious as I sit here – it feels like the happy dog sled team waiting for the command “mush” to go. After walking more than 500 miles my body has become a finely-tuned machine focused on just a few simple things: Hike, Eat and Sleep.

As I have mentioned before, I believe that the Camino is a very personal experience.

It seems to me that your state of mind/current situation will help determine what you get from the Camino.

Some people I met came to the Camino with a “full plate” (i.e. lost their job, got divorced, lost a loved one…) In these cases, I believe the Camino can be a life altering event.

For me, I came to the Camino without a lot on my plate. My only expectations were to walk 500 miles (800km) and raise some money for a great charity. Anything else would be a bonus.

So, what did I get out of 34 days of walking the Camino? Well, here are a few of my random thoughts (maybe I will eventually find some grand unified thought?). So here goes, in no particular order:

  • Let’s start with the big picture. I can identify 3 unique phases I went through on the Camino:
    1. The first third of the trip was filled with gratitude. Hiking for hours in the “classroom of silence” allowed me to truly understand how much I have to be thankful for. In my “normal life” I can only spend minutes in the “classroom of silence” and never get to the depths I achieved on the Camino.
    2. The second third of the trip was all about will power. After the initial excitement of starting the Camino wears off, you realize that this is more of a test of your will. I have to admit there were a few days I really didn’t want to hike. It was cold and rainy and the thought of hiking for 8 hours in those conditions was not that exciting.
    3. The final third of the trip was all about rejuvenation. At this point, I could see/feel the prize was within my grasp – Santiago. I also felt that lots of baggage/dust accumulated over the years was dropping off with each mile I hiked, bringing me closer to becoming a better version of myself.
  • I learned to appreciate the small things in life like 2 cotton sheets on my bed, a long hot shower, a cotton bath towel, a meal WITHOUT french fries :)
  • I am generally an optimist, but meeting such wonderful people on the Camino reinforced my beliefs in the goodness of people.
  • Life on the Camino shrinks your world... to just a few basic things. You wake-up, start hiking, eat, talk to other pilgrims (if you want to) and sleep. The only choices/worries for the day are how far to hike, what to eat and where to sleep. Your world gets really small and that can be a good thing because you start to realize that you really don’t need that much stuff to enjoy life. You start to realize that maybe you don’t need all the stuff in your pre-Camino life. I plan on simplifying my life going forward. (I’m just not sure what that looks like right now)
  • It is weird to think that for 34 days, I never slept in the same bed twice.
  • I got to meet some amazing people on the Camino and they helped to make my Camino a really incredible experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I only hope that I helped them in some small way to enhance their Camino.
It’s a great day to be a pilgrim (and I plan to be a pilgrim for the rest of my life).


Cheers,

-jj
Congratulations; You found the Camino (or rather, it found you; who knows how these things work...), and it obviously did its work on you. As it has done for so many others through the centuries. Very happy for you.

Now you can plan to go back and be the experienced pilgrim helping others (as well as on this forum), because now you know a lot more about the important things in life. The Camino is a great teacher.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#46
Well, I’m sitting in Nice France, sipping on a lovely Limoncello and PepsiMax and trying to make some sense out of the past 34 days on the Camino. It is hard to believe that a few days ago I was walking into the square in Santiago.

My body is a little anxious as I sit here – it feels like the happy dog sled team waiting for the command “mush” to go. After walking more than 500 miles my body has become a finely-tuned machine focused on just a few simple things: Hike, Eat and Sleep.

As I have mentioned before, I believe that the Camino is a very personal experience.

It seems to me that your state of mind/current situation will help determine what you get from the Camino.

Some people I met came to the Camino with a “full plate” (i.e. lost their job, got divorced, lost a loved one…) In these cases, I believe the Camino can be a life altering event.

For me, I came to the Camino without a lot on my plate. My only expectations were to walk 500 miles (800km) and raise some money for a great charity. Anything else would be a bonus.

So, what did I get out of 34 days of walking the Camino? Well, here are a few of my random thoughts (maybe I will eventually find some grand unified thought?). So here goes, in no particular order:

  • Let’s start with the big picture. I can identify 3 unique phases I went through on the Camino:
    1. The first third of the trip was filled with gratitude. Hiking for hours in the “classroom of silence” allowed me to truly understand how much I have to be thankful for. In my “normal life” I can only spend minutes in the “classroom of silence” and never get to the depths I achieved on the Camino.
    2. The second third of the trip was all about will power. After the initial excitement of starting the Camino wears off, you realize that this is more of a test of your will. I have to admit there were a few days I really didn’t want to hike. It was cold and rainy and the thought of hiking for 8 hours in those conditions was not that exciting.
    3. The final third of the trip was all about rejuvenation. At this point, I could see/feel the prize was within my grasp – Santiago. I also felt that lots of baggage/dust accumulated over the years was dropping off with each mile I hiked, bringing me closer to becoming a better version of myself.
  • I learned to appreciate the small things in life like 2 cotton sheets on my bed, a long hot shower, a cotton bath towel, a meal WITHOUT french fries :)
  • I am generally an optimist, but meeting such wonderful people on the Camino reinforced my beliefs in the goodness of people.
  • Life on the Camino shrinks your world... to just a few basic things. You wake-up, start hiking, eat, talk to other pilgrims (if you want to) and sleep. The only choices/worries for the day are how far to hike, what to eat and where to sleep. Your world gets really small and that can be a good thing because you start to realize that you really don’t need that much stuff to enjoy life. You start to realize that maybe you don’t need all the stuff in your pre-Camino life. I plan on simplifying my life going forward. (I’m just not sure what that looks like right now)
  • It is weird to think that for 34 days, I never slept in the same bed twice.
  • I got to meet some amazing people on the Camino and they helped to make my Camino a really incredible experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I only hope that I helped them in some small way to enhance their Camino.
It’s a great day to be a pilgrim (and I plan to be a pilgrim for the rest of my life).


Cheers,

-jj
I have just re-read your post and would like simply to thank you. Your three phases will keep popping up for me today, because they are actually parallels of what each day can bring us... morning gratitude for still being this side of the daisies, willpower to stick at tedious tasks, and rejuvenation from reviewing the day and finding, or finding anew, the hidden gems that appeared on the way to evening!
 
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
#47
I have just re-read your post and would like simply to thank you. Your three phases will keep popping up for me today, because they are actually parallels of what each day can bring us... morning gratitude for still being this side of the daisies, willpower to stick at tedious tasks, and rejuvenation from reviewing the day and finding, or finding anew, the hidden gems that appeared on the way to evening!
Thanks for the kind words and some new insights!

Cheers,
 

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