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The lesson of the cow

Pieces

Veteran Member
#1
The first time I heard of the Camino was back in 98 when I was responsible for the travel book department in a large bookshop. I did not really give it much thought, and the books we stocked seemed a little bit strange and not really able to give proper guidance. Also, they seemed to be of a more spiritual nature than the other books we stocked.

Fast forward to the spring og 2011. I had recently been dumped by, what I then believed to be, the love of my life and returned home from a F*** you vacation to Thailand. I was sitting in bed one Saturday morning desperate to figure where to go for the summer. Not able to bear not having something to look forward to. Also, it could not really get exotic enough, and I had almost settled on island hopping in the Caribbean, which is both time consuming and expensive.

At some point I stopped and started questioning what I was really looking for and what were my motives for blowing off a lot of money on this adventure and it struck me that what I really wanted was to go somewhere and meet other people.

With this new motive of checking in as opposed to checking out came a great desire for keeping it simple and out of nowhere I remembered the books on the Camino. Luckily the internet had taken of in the meantime and within 24 hours a decision had been made and a plane ticket bought.

As I am heading for my third Camino next week, I once again ponder why I do this and what is the attraction, and while there are many, a few stand out. The people (you) being at the very top. You are the very most important part of the attraction. After that comes the nature, the checking out to check in, being in the bubble that the Camino becomes with all its simplicity and repetition and many more.

This morning by accident I stumbled upon this film clip where Johann Hari talks about reasons for depression. The four reasons he mentions I can directly relate to what I believe to be the Camino experience, or rather the Camino can provide an antidote:

  • If you are lonely, you are much more likely to become depressed
  • If you feel controlled at work, you are much more likely to become depressed
  • If you don’t feel you have a sense of the future ahead you, you are much more likely to become depressed
  • If you don’t get to see the natural world, you are much more likely to become depressed
He then goes on to tell the story of a farmer who lost a leg. Because of this he could no longer work in the field, because he was in so much pain, and he became really depressed. Then someone talked to him and learned why he was depressed, and they then gave him a cow, so he could become a dairy farmer instead. Shortly after he was no longer depressed

While I do not suffer from depression I do suffer from severe burn out and stress which can also take the symptoms of anxiety when it is bad. Therefore, this time I am especially eager to go and seek the much longed for serenity that is so important to me at this time in my life. Also, I do believe that whether we are depressed or not the Camino can be either the cure or it can be what keeps us healthy and sane.

So no matter my state of mind, for all intents and purposes the Camino has become my cow.




 

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DsixDsix

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances or Norte (Future hope)
#4
A nicely put and heartfelt entry. I too share many of your feelings of Burnout and Anxiety. The Camino to me offered a chance of Freedom and I found a semblance of inner peace on it which I had not felt in Decades. A simpler way of existing in a ever complex world. Giving the mind and soul a chance to refill with positive affirmations to heal mental scars.

My literal and lovely cow is in the picture attached (...this one was very friendly) I am walking away from her and onto an adventure that lies ahead. My arms are spread, feeling the warm sun radiating of the mountains, feeling nature around me and the connection with new friends founded on the road.

It was life affirming for me and I suggest anyone please summon the courage to go do it. Also if you are depressed please seek help or talk to someone, its important to not suffer alone. Feel free to message me even. EBBB8497.JPG
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some, and with luck, some more.
#5
Wow Pieces!

Just Wow!

If that post doesn't make people stop and think about what they want, need, dream of having from, or simply why they want to walk a Camino, there is very little that will.

Buen (serenity-finding) Camino
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances planned for October 3-mid November (2018)
#11
Yes :) Waking up with the thought of "is this it?" in an epiphany style fashion at age 50 has led me to one adventure to another on the eve of my 54th birthday...the next adventure is my Camino after a summer of volcano climbing and trekking in Guatemala. I'm off in 19 days and I'm already looking at plane tickets for the next solo adventure beyond that. I've found that my need for a connection to nature and fellow travelers has kindled slow exploration to the "lesser" traveled paths of the world. All that stress and burn out that started this journey has actually rekindled a desire to work in my field again next year. I love the comments and the OP. Thanks. I consider you all my tribe.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
#12
The first time I heard of the Camino was back in 98 when I was responsible for the travel book department in a large bookshop. I did not really give it much thought, and the books we stocked seemed a little bit strange and not really able to give proper guidance. Also, they seemed to be of a more spiritual nature than the other books we stocked.

Fast forward to the spring og 2011. I had recently been dumped by, what I then believed to be, the love of my life and returned home from a F*** you vacation to Thailand. I was sitting in bed one Saturday morning desperate to figure where to go for the summer. Not able to bear not having something to look forward to. Also, it could not really get exotic enough, and I had almost settled on island hopping in the Caribbean, which is both time consuming and expensive.

At some point I stopped and started questioning what I was really looking for and what were my motives for blowing off a lot of money on this adventure and it struck me that what I really wanted was to go somewhere and meet other people.

With this new motive of checking in as opposed to checking out came a great desire for keeping it simple and out of nowhere I remembered the books on the Camino. Luckily the internet had taken of in the meantime and within 24 hours a decision had been made and a plane ticket bought.

As I am heading for my third Camino next week, I once again ponder why I do this and what is the attraction, and while there are many, a few stand out. The people (you) being at the very top. You are the very most important part of the attraction. After that comes the nature, the checking out to check in, being in the bubble that the Camino becomes with all its simplicity and repetition and many more.

This morning by accident I stumbled upon this film clip where Johann Hari talks about reasons for depression. The four reasons he mentions I can directly relate to what I believe to be the Camino experience, or rather the Camino can provide an antidote:

  • If you are lonely, you are much more likely to become depressed
  • If you feel controlled at work, you are much more likely to become depressed
  • If you don’t feel you have a sense of the future ahead you, you are much more likely to become depressed
  • If you don’t get to see the natural world, you are much more likely to become depressed
He then goes on to tell the story of a farmer who lost a leg. Because of this he could no longer work in the field, because he was in so much pain, and he became really depressed. Then someone talked to him and learned why he was depressed, and they then gave him a cow, so he could become a dairy farmer instead. Shortly after he was no longer depressed

While I do not suffer from depression I do suffer from severe burn out and stress which can also take the symptoms of anxiety when it is bad. Therefore, this time I am especially eager to go and seek the much longed for serenity that is so important to me at this time in my life. Also, I do believe that whether we are depressed or not the Camino can be either the cure or it can be what keeps us healthy and sane.

So no matter my state of mind, for all intents and purposes the Camino has become my cow.




Thank you so much for that Pieces.

Davey
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
#14
Always, I will be there in spirit with those who are on camino or those who, like you @Pieces, are preparing to go. Some of us tho' - for whatever reason - have to find our caminos / cows closer to home, at least for the time being. Right now I am really looking forward to, and am in tremendous need of, a trek up in the mountains which I have scheduled for next week. Sure, it will be only a day hike, there will be no albergues or stopping for cafes con leche, and I won't find the same wonderful 'camino' people there (although I'm sure if I run into trouble, someone will summon help for me when they get down off the mountain). But I will be surrounded by nature's green - countless conifers and an undergrowth of lush ferns, crossing streams, on a trail with switchbacks up the mountain almost like they'll take you to heaven...... and the silence, the blessed silence. If the weather cooperates, there'll be a wonderful view at the top. A packed lunch, followed by a leisurely, hopefully pain free trek down the mountain. With poles of course. :)

That is my cow. I managed this trek a year ago, and just hope I can manage it again this year.

Happy trekking to all.
 

Pieces

Veteran Member
#15
I think most of us have many cows, some large some small :)

Another thing I was thinking, was that the Camino truly provides a sense of belonging for me. No matter where I am, I always have the people og the Camino in my heart and I always know that there is a place out there that feels like home. I have other places where I belong, but the sum of these ensures that I never really feel lonely. The concept of the Camino family goes far beyond the people we meet while walking to include all the pilgrims out there also the ones we never meet...
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Francis, Portuguese, El Norte
#18
The first time I heard of the Camino was back in 98 when I was responsible for the travel book department in a large bookshop. I did not really give it much thought, and the books we stocked seemed a little bit strange and not really able to give proper guidance. Also, they seemed to be of a more spiritual nature than the other books we stocked.

Fast forward to the spring og 2011. I had recently been dumped by, what I then believed to be, the love of my life and returned home from a F*** you vacation to Thailand. I was sitting in bed one Saturday morning desperate to figure where to go for the summer. Not able to bear not having something to look forward to. Also, it could not really get exotic enough, and I had almost settled on island hopping in the Caribbean, which is both time consuming and expensive.

At some point I stopped and started questioning what I was really looking for and what were my motives for blowing off a lot of money on this adventure and it struck me that what I really wanted was to go somewhere and meet other people.

With this new motive of checking in as opposed to checking out came a great desire for keeping it simple and out of nowhere I remembered the books on the Camino. Luckily the internet had taken of in the meantime and within 24 hours a decision had been made and a plane ticket bought.

As I am heading for my third Camino next week, I once again ponder why I do this and what is the attraction, and while there are many, a few stand out. The people (you) being at the very top. You are the very most important part of the attraction. After that comes the nature, the checking out to check in, being in the bubble that the Camino becomes with all its simplicity and repetition and many more.

This morning by accident I stumbled upon this film clip where Johann Hari talks about reasons for depression. The four reasons he mentions I can directly relate to what I believe to be the Camino experience, or rather the Camino can provide an antidote:

  • If you are lonely, you are much more likely to become depressed
  • If you feel controlled at work, you are much more likely to become depressed
  • If you don’t feel you have a sense of the future ahead you, you are much more likely to become depressed
  • If you don’t get to see the natural world, you are much more likely to become depressed
He then goes on to tell the story of a farmer who lost a leg. Because of this he could no longer work in the field, because he was in so much pain, and he became really depressed. Then someone talked to him and learned why he was depressed, and they then gave him a cow, so he could become a dairy farmer instead. Shortly after he was no longer depressed

While I do not suffer from depression I do suffer from severe burn out and stress which can also take the symptoms of anxiety when it is bad. Therefore, this time I am especially eager to go and seek the much longed for serenity that is so important to me at this time in my life. Also, I do believe that whether we are depressed or not the Camino can be either the cure or it can be what keeps us healthy and sane.

So no matter my state of mind, for all intents and purposes the Camino has become my cow.




I absolutely agree. As I prepare for my fourth Camino I know that I love how I feel when I’m on the Camino and I love how I feel when preparing for the next one. Just took me a bit too long to discover my cow.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#19
Pieces!! What a Great post, and welcome back!
" a F*** you vacation" - Classic :D:D

Are you going back on the Frances and if so where from? I will be at Roncesvalles (in my Berlingo doing first aid and mooching around and working my way downstream, short walks and evening refugio visits) about the 22nd -

So agree with that video -
here another for you (and everyone) - just change 'Nature' to 'Camino' in your head ;)

 
Camino(s) past & future
Del Norte Sept 2018
#21
The first time I heard of the Camino was back in 98 when I was responsible for the travel book department in a large bookshop. I did not really give it much thought, and the books we stocked seemed a little bit strange and not really able to give proper guidance. Also, they seemed to be of a more spiritual nature than the other books we stocked.

Fast forward to the spring og 2011. I had recently been dumped by, what I then believed to be, the love of my life and returned home from a F*** you vacation to Thailand. I was sitting in bed one Saturday morning desperate to figure where to go for the summer. Not able to bear not having something to look forward to. Also, it could not really get exotic enough, and I had almost settled on island hopping in the Caribbean, which is both time consuming and expensive.

At some point I stopped and started questioning what I was really looking for and what were my motives for blowing off a lot of money on this adventure and it struck me that what I really wanted was to go somewhere and meet other people.

With this new motive of checking in as opposed to checking out came a great desire for keeping it simple and out of nowhere I remembered the books on the Camino. Luckily the internet had taken of in the meantime and within 24 hours a decision had been made and a plane ticket bought.

As I am heading for my third Camino next week, I once again ponder why I do this and what is the attraction, and while there are many, a few stand out. The people (you) being at the very top. You are the very most important part of the attraction. After that comes the nature, the checking out to check in, being in the bubble that the Camino becomes with all its simplicity and repetition and many more.

This morning by accident I stumbled upon this film clip where Johann Hari talks about reasons for depression. The four reasons he mentions I can directly relate to what I believe to be the Camino experience, or rather the Camino can provide an antidote:

  • If you are lonely, you are much more likely to become depressed
  • If you feel controlled at work, you are much more likely to become depressed
  • If you don’t feel you have a sense of the future ahead you, you are much more likely to become depressed
  • If you don’t get to see the natural world, you are much more likely to become depressed
He then goes on to tell the story of a farmer who lost a leg. Because of this he could no longer work in the field, because he was in so much pain, and he became really depressed. Then someone talked to him and learned why he was depressed, and they then gave him a cow, so he could become a dairy farmer instead. Shortly after he was no longer depressed

While I do not suffer from depression I do suffer from severe burn out and stress which can also take the symptoms of anxiety when it is bad. Therefore, this time I am especially eager to go and seek the much longed for serenity that is so important to me at this time in my life. Also, I do believe that whether we are depressed or not the Camino can be either the cure or it can be what keeps us healthy and sane.

So no matter my state of mind, for all intents and purposes the Camino has become my cow.




 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#22
Thank you David

what a brilliant video, will steal it for my FB page :p

no, not the Frances, would have been nice to meet up though. Doing the Salvador-Primitivo-Muxia version, the Primitivo was always my first Camino of choice, now instead it will be my third.

Hahaha - I love the small print that keeps appearing - I think my favourite is "nature is not clickable" :)

Salvador-Primitivo-Muxia version?? Dang!! :)
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#25
Or you could have sheep??? Sound on for this (is funnier) ...
and if this absurd 27 seconds of the joy of sheep farming doesn't cheer a person up and instantly end depression - well .....

I really don't like see animals suffer but this nearly choked me :D :D :D

I think @alansykes is a sheep owner. He should see this.
 

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