A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement


Buy any book, get free camino shell

Walking the Camino changes lives - or does it?

Camino(s) past & future
April (2015) SJPdP to SdC; Porto to SdC April (2016)
#1
Before I set off for France a friend told me that she had known several people who had made the pilgrimage and ever one of them said that it had changed their lives. I thought about it then, and after returning home and still reflect on the implications of what she said. Therefore, just to get the ball rolling on a discussion that I pray will not degenerate into 'the true pilgrim' argument, I offer the following.

My life was changed before I walked out from SJPDP because of bereavement, but that loss was over a year before. I look back to how I was then and know that many of my attitudes have changed - hopefully for the better, but I can backslide with the best - as a result of walking that 500 miles to SdC. Perhaps it was because of already being in a state of emotional flux that provided the ground to best engage with what the pilgrimage (I wouldn't have given it that description at the beginning but did by the end) asked of and gave to me. One of the changes prompted by the Camino was to try to listen more attentively to what others are saying Having worked in education for many years, I had an embedded teacherly tendency to offer information often when not requested, then realised when walking through Spain how arrogant this could appear in a different context and that here was an experience where there was much for me to learn from others and that, in so many aspects of life, I was a complete rookie. Perhaps we choose to - or feel called - to walk the Camino at those moments when through circumstances beyond our control, profound changes have happened in our lives, or when we are in search of the means to make changes to the way we live but need a new environment in which to enable that transformation. These are just ramblings, what I am really interested in hearing is what other folks feel is the transformative power of walking the Camino.
 
Last edited:

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#2
While walking, and nothing much else, I got to the point that I discovered a lot of room within myself. After all, I was left with only three daily questions: where do I sleep, what do I eat and how long do I walk? And even those questions weren't really vital: I had by then already proven to myself I could improvise, wing it and flourish anyway while on the road.

All that room inside gave me a new perspective, especially toward myself. I found that it enabled me to better view and understand certain emotional and intellectual reflexes, for lack of a better word. I finally figured out that the space created was just the absence of constant self-judgement, fear, feelings of loss, self-pity and general disapproval.

In other words, walking slammed me in the 'here and now' and disarmed my 'normal' mental and emotional jugglery. Peace and quiet upstairs, and a feeling of immense contentment. I found that I quite liked myself, and enjoyed being me.

I needed, and still need, to work hard to get to that place. No shortcuts, I'm afraid. Pressure and time, kilometers and days. But the knowledge I can get there is a formidable source of solace and strength. That is what I brought home.
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
#3
I don't know if I can explain this. A lot has happened in my life. Much of it very difficult (war zone-level bereavement, no exaggeration). I walked the CF last year for the first time, for what seemed like many reasons. I did wonder if I would be transformed by a huge, maybe "magical" experience. Walking 800kms was a grind, I was sore for 6 months afterwards. I didn't feel much different psychologically/spiritually, although I learned that I was physically stronger than I expected.

I know intellectually that the whole universe is different from moment to moment. If I insist to myself that I continue as exactly the same person day after day, then I am delusional because I will have closed myself to the impact of all my experience. I will be insane.

I am interested in "religions" which are more like a mixture of philosophy and psychology. Curiosity and a hunger for understanding are my "bible".

Before I left for Spain I asked a guy at a Camino gathering why so many people go back over and over again. He said "Go and you'll find out." I went and I know that I will never learn any more than I did the first time. During the months after I returned home, I learned that it's unreasonable to expect to learn any more during any one moment than in any other. Depending on one's frame of mind, that could mean that one never learns anything, or, that possibilities are infinite. Learn-ing, the verb, present tense, is key. Trying to become the thing learned is a deadly mistake. IMHO.

My Camino is to be awake and aware, but I stumble every day. Samuel Beckett said it: "Fail. Fail again. Fail better."
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Coleen Clark

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked August 2015, planning on walking August 2017
#4
I learned what I was supposed to learn on my Camino two years ago. I learned I was stronger than I gave my self credit for, I could achieve more than I ever thought I could, and the world around me is more full of miracles and beauty than I could ever dream possible.
I started off in mourning and grief, then I walked in pain and exhaustion. Once I conquered those I began to see and hear clearer. I began to be thankful for the small things along with the large.
Before the Camino I would say "tree" or "bird" or "food" and they were nouns with no color or taste or soul.
After I walked a few weeks I began to see the tree as a living being, who struggled so mightily to grow around the fence that it actually enveloped a part of it. I heard the bird calling and calling over and over again like a long lost friend until I had to stop in my tracks and find it, camouflaged in the leaves high above me, then gliding away joyfully, making me jealous of my earthbound state. And when did food taste better than after a hard day's walk and shower, no matter what it was. Surrounded by stranger-friends I pass the vino gratefully and sit in greedy anticipation of the paella and my daily bread.
I kept that Camino feeling for as long as I could, two years. Now I need a recharge, and I will do the Camino Portuges in August. The first 60 years of my life I was asleep. How do you tell others who live in twilight you have seen the morning?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#5
I had an embedded teacherly tendency to offer information often when not requested, then realised when walking through Spain how arrogant this could appear... and that here was an experience where there was much for me to learn from others
That's me, too. I still struggle with my high opinion of my opinions, but I'm definitely more accepting and tolerant of others now, thanks in large part to the Camino.

For me, the Camino has become a pastime that is healthy and satisfying in many ways - physically, mentally, spiritually, socially. Yes, I have changed in the last few years since I started walking it. But as @Mike Trebert says, we are always changing, depending on the circumstances of our lives. I have been very fortunate in my life, and haven't needed or wanted a dramatic change at any point. The effects of the Camino have been subtle, and might be mainly coincidental. Nevertheless, I view it very much as a positive influence! :D
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
#6
Rereading my previous post, it occurs to me that my CF sounded a bit grim. But I'm a very keen photographer, so I frequently stopped to smell and photograph "the roses". I was alive to all that beauty and was able to make some beautiful pictures. Seeing is a kind of meditation, I think. Another ingredient in the stew.
 
Camino(s) past & future
frances 2017
#9
Sometimes reading posts on various Camino facebook group pages I become actually worried about the pressures some people are putting on themselves to use the Camino to make really large-scale changes to themselves, their faiths, their psychological make-up and well-being, and so on. It's as if they will judge themselves and the Camino as failures if all of these significant life changes do not occur before they finish.
 
Camino(s) past & future
April (2015) SJPdP to SdC; Porto to SdC April (2016)
#10
Sometimes reading posts on various Camino facebook group pages I become actually worried about the pressures some people are putting on themselves to use the Camino to make really large-scale changes to themselves, their faiths, their psychological make-up and well-being, and so on. It's as if they will judge themselves and the Camino as failures if all of these significant life changes do not occur before they finish.
This is a very pertinent comment @ginniek, but I believe that if the Camino does change lives it is a gentle process that happens over thousands of steps and is only possible if the person was already on that particular road before arriving at SJPDP, Lisboa or wherever their walk began. Social media - apart from this forum - appears to be lacking in offering a space for reflection. All that social media chatter will be left behind when the journey begins, as will the notion of personal failure as @Purky so eloquently expressed it in her/his post.
 

JulieandPeter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (April/May 2015)
Frances (May/June 2017)
Planning Le Puy to SJPDP (August/September 2018)
#11
I had no intention of learning anything when we set off to walk the Camino. (Edit: I removed a story I shared here regarding why we were on the Camino for privacy's sake on a public forum).

Aside from changing how we travel forever (we plan all of our travels around walking now), I learned some important lessons during the journey that apply to all aspects of life (which I have posted more than a few times on this forum, but I think they are worthy of repeating :) ).
  1. Each day we wake up on the same path, sometimes walking along with the same people and some days with new people, but always with the same flow of great joy and deep heartache and everything in between. We met a lot of people along the way and some were struggling with some serious issues in their lives. I learned from hearing their stories to try to appreciate each moment of my life even the hard ones, they are a gift.
  2. People are kind. “Kindness, pass it on” was something we felt everyday along the trail.
  3. As we became stronger, the “stuff” we were carrying on our backs (and in our thoughts) became lighter (both literally and metaphorically).
  4. Anything is possible one small step at a time. Walking hundreds of miles was a one step at a time adventure;sometimes out of desperation I would count the last 2000 steps of an 18 or 19 mile walk and my counting was usually spot on for enduring the last mile, step by step we made our way to the next town and across a country. So, if one has something in one's life that one wants to change, take a small step today, you will be one step closer to where you want to be.
We are going back in 12 days. I have no expectations, but I definitely plan to listen more this time around. There is always more to learn.

EDIT: Nobody knew we existed as we walked - we were invisible in a sense; we were simply part of the flow and I think the key to learning was recognizing when someone was offering up a little piece of themselves, and in turn, reciprocating.
 
Last edited:

Coleen Clark

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked August 2015, planning on walking August 2017
#12
EDIT: Nobody knew we existed as we walked - we were invisible in a sense; we were simply part of the flow and I think the key to learning was recognizing when someone was offering up a little piece of themselves, and in turn, reciprocating.
For me, that was where the freedom came in to explore who I was, to put away all the titles and masks I used in the world, and allow ME to show. To be accepted as yourself is the greatest gift you can get, to accept others as they show little snippets of who they really are is a blessing.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(May 2018!)
#14
Thanks to all for these reflections.
I am very pre-Camino (maybe it’s evident in my photo with my dogs!) and sole caregiver for my family member. My goal is to be walking the Camino in one year’s time. I am blessed to be walk/practising with the Vancouver (BC) Camino group and feel so lifted each week. I have splurged and bought the “perfect backpack” which hangs on my bedpost.
I know that whether I walk the Camino or not, my training, preparation, learning will realign my being. However, times like today, my heart's longing feels out of reach. I pray for the strength and balance to be open to the Camino experiences of others and all these rich possibilities... without being wedded to my dream of actually walking.
Buon Camino... however you say it and spell it!
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Frances (2017)
#15
I can't say that the Camino changed my life. For me that would be interpreting too much into the exercise of walking 500 miles.

No 'On the road to Damascus' moment occurred. Nor did I expect one.

I think however a general rule of life applies to the Camino. You get as much out of something as you are prepared to put into it.
If you are so inclined and are searching for some kind of epiphany on the Camino you may well find it.
For me it offered me an opportunity to live a simpler life. Away from the pressures of modern day living.

The Camino gave me an opportunity to fall into the meditative rhythm of Walk, Eat, Sleep, Repeat.

For the resulting quietude, however transitory. I am grateful.
 
Last edited:

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
#16
Thanks to all for these reflections.
I am very pre-Camino (maybe it’s evident in my photo with my dogs!) and sole caregiver for my family member. My goal is to be walking the Camino in one year’s time. I am blessed to be walk/practising with the Vancouver (BC) Camino group and feel so lifted each week. I have splurged and bought the “perfect backpack” which hangs on my bedpost.
I know that whether I walk the Camino or not, my training, preparation, learning will realign my being. However, times like today, my heart's longing feels out of reach. I pray for the strength and balance to be open to the Camino experiences of others and all these rich possibilities... without being wedded to my dream of actually walking.
Buon Camino... however you say it and spell it!
Hi Jo Anne and welcome to the forum! I wanted to encourage you - one thing I'm learning these days is that there is so much blessing in respecting our limits. Right now you're caring for a loved one and you can't fulfill your wish of walking the Camino. For you, that's your limit, and you're respecting it. Settling in to a limit and being perfectly content with it - well, that can be a bit harder. But when the time is right, you'll come over and walk, and it will be a good thing. Enjoy all the planning in the meantime and keep us posted!
Buen Camino,
Faith
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
#17
I very much enjoy what everyone has shared, and I always love seeing the different personalities share. Mike, the pilgrim photographer; Clare, the pilgrim engineer; Nana, the pilgrim humorist and philosopher. All of you have such unique insights.

As a solo walker--I like evenings and my friends I meet, admittedly--I have always been fortunate to have the luxury of walking late in the season, and also very early in the season. Late fall, and through November, on the Camino Frances is a very unique journey, and honestly, as I took my time, I had the absolutely luxury of spending a lot of time alone with my mind--memories, the minefield of tremendous loss to deal with, and always unresolved grief over loss that occurred in the early 200o's. I found that the immediacy of nature, and the three needs-- food, shelter, rest--helped me to get into the zen of distance walking. I fell in love with hiking years ago. I fell in love with long-distance, racking-up-miles walking in Camino. Weight fell off of me. Worry fell off. I lost my grief walking the Camino.

As teacher above posted, and as a teacher myself, I do recognize the pedantic, judgmental (sorry, have to throw the word out there), know-it-all stuff that we as teachers carry. Simply put, as an academic, I usually think I have all the answers. How wrong. I appreciate the people in this forum for helping me to stay humble, and that's something I became more of these last few years. I want to be more humble. I'm not saying that in a Christian sense so much as a human, fallible creature sense. I want to listen more and be a better friend. To that end, even tonight I'm trying to understand others on the forum. Judge less, listen more, argue less, just read and listen.

I won't claim to any great and wonderful resolution of all of my personal problems--around grief or around my elevated opinion of my own intelligence--but I will say that in the last two years (which have included two journeys to Spain, one to Cambodia, and to England and Scotland), I've met with more loss--most recently my ex-husband, a very close friend, and also Sally, who you all met through my writings on this forum, as well as stepdad (yes, all three within the last 11 months)--and seem to be continuing along as surely as a sheep crossing the Pyrenees. I have more will to continue, less depression and less hopelessness. This is good.

Is it different than before? I don't know. I will say that I think that as we age, life can chip away at us a bit. I think that walking the Camino helped me to get some of it back.
 
Last edited:

Bogong

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First, March 2014
#18
Shakespeareshakes' experience is absolutely mine. I didn't see the Camino as and end in itself, but as a means to an end, a pilgrimage to the tomb of St James the Greater. The walk was just a part of something much bigger, and linked me to millions who had been on this journey for over 1200 years. It gave space for meditation and contemplation, particularly the many days I walked alone without seeing another pilgrim.

We are blessed with so many marvellous experiences through life. For me, alone pre-dawn on the Meseta one day was an overwhelming sensation of being enveloped in love, a love which made the whole universe seem tiny by comparison. It was uncanny. I've had numbers of parallel experiences each of which has left its own impression. My first sight of the Victoria Falls. Likewise very early in the middle of Australia climbing a red sand dune and seeing Uluru (Ayer's Rock) seemingly emerge from the ground in front of me like some huge prehistoric monster. Being on top of Mt Jagungal in Aust's Snowy Mountains midday Sunday in the middle of winter after a stiff climb on XC skis. Perhaps most amazing of all, pre-dawn one morning seeing the sun rising in the west - actually the sun had not risen but its rays were falling full blast on a full moon which was about to set over the western mountains.

There are so many blessings and lessons in life, and there are even little things around us in the everyday which inspire. The Camino was one of a kaleidoscope of experiences. For me, wonderful but not really any more special than many others (aside from the culmination of a pilgrimage) and far from a Damascus Road experience.

But I respect and can understand those whomhave had such an experience.

De colores

Bogong
 
Camino(s) past & future
(May 2018!)
#19
Hi Jo Anne and welcome to the forum! I wanted to encourage you - one thing I'm learning these days is that there is so much blessing in respecting our limits. Right now you're caring for a loved one and you can't fulfill your wish of walking the Camino. For you, that's your limit, and you're respecting it. Settling in to a limit and being perfectly content with it - well, that can be a bit harder. But when the time is right, you'll come over and walk, and it will be a good thing. Enjoy all the planning in the meantime and keep us posted!
Buen Camino,


Faith
Thank you for your welcome and encouragement.
After reading the thoughtful postings in this stream, and posting my own (first comment on the entire forum), I suddenly realized there was much I could do: get going on my Duolingo Spanish, listen to traditional Spanish folk music... heck, maybe teach myself how to dance flamenco on Youtube!
I’ll be very happy to keep you all posted.
’til then,
Jo Anne
 

Coleen Clark

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked August 2015, planning on walking August 2017
#20
Thank you for your welcome and encouragement.
After reading the thoughtful postings in this stream, and posting my own (first comment on the entire forum), I suddenly realized there was much I could do: get going on my Duolingo Spanish, listen to traditional Spanish folk music... heck, maybe teach myself how to dance flamenco on Youtube!
I’ll be very happy to keep you all posted.
’til then,
Jo Anne
Jo Anne, you can learn to cook Paella, trade out your Serta for bunk beds, and practice washing a few things by hand too. ;)
On the days when you have respite care to help out, get out of the house and be the tourist in your own city. Get a map and a day pack and just enjoy what is in your area.
I have been working out in my own way to get ready for August and Lisbon. I mow my lawn with an old electric push lawnmower. I have an old farmhouse on *2* acres. I was out there early mowing yesterday and my little old lady neighbor came hobbling over and waving her arms. "What are you doing! We have a ride on lawnmower you can borrow!"
I said "Do I look rich to you, Miss Mary?"
She said "No honey you're as poor as a church mouse, I know that!"
"Well Miss Mary, I need to get in shape. I don't have enough money to pay someone to mow my lawn then go out and get a gym membership too. This is my exercise."
"Well honey, you're gonna be Superwoman!"
"Yes, Miss Mary. Yes I am"
And I did the whole lawn. I know. My muscles tell me so.:oops:
 
Camino(s) past & future
frances 2017
#21
Thanks to all for these reflections.
I am very pre-Camino (maybe it’s evident in my photo with my dogs!) and sole caregiver for my family member. My goal is to be walking the Camino in one year’s time. I am blessed to be walk/practising with the Vancouver (BC) Camino group and feel so lifted each week. I have splurged and bought the “perfect backpack” which hangs on my bedpost.
I know that whether I walk the Camino or not, my training, preparation, learning will realign my being. However, times like today, my heart's longing feels out of reach. I pray for the strength and balance to be open to the Camino experiences of others and all these rich possibilities... without being wedded to my dream of actually walking.
Buon Camino... however you say it and spell it!
Joanne, you are so fortunate to have the Vancouver area for your Camino training grounds. Great city, great walking--and this is from a former Torontonian! No advice about the Camino; I'm leaving for Madrid tomorrow and start walking just the last segment (Sarria to SDC) Monday. Maybe I'll know something when I return.
 

JulieandPeter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (April/May 2015)
Frances (May/June 2017)
Planning Le Puy to SJPDP (August/September 2018)
#22
Jo Anne, you can learn to cook Paella, trade out your Serta for bunk beds, and practice washing a few things by hand too. ;)
On the days when you have respite care to help out, get out of the house and be the tourist in your own city. Get a map and a day pack and just enjoy what is in your area.
I have been working out in my own way to get ready for August and Lisbon. I mow my lawn with an old electric push lawnmower. I have an old farmhouse on *2* acres. I was out there early mowing yesterday and my little old lady neighbor came hobbling over and waving her arms. "What are you doing! We have a ride on lawnmower you can borrow!"
I said "Do I look rich to you, Miss Mary?"
She said "No honey you're as poor as a church mouse, I know that!"
"Well Miss Mary, I need to get in shape. I don't have enough money to pay someone to mow my lawn then go out and get a gym membership too. This is my exercise."
"Well honey, you're gonna be Superwoman!"
"Yes, Miss Mary. Yes I am"
And I did the whole lawn. I know. My muscles tell me so.:oops:
If you are not already, you should consider writing a book. I'm sure most of the people on this forum who have enjoyed your wit would agree.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#24
Before I set off for France a friend told me that she had known several people who had made the pilgrimage and ever one of them said that it had changed their lives. I thought about it then, and after returning home and still reflect on the implications of what she said. Therefore, just to get the ball rolling on a discussion that I pray will not degenerate into 'the true pilgrim' argument, I offer the following.

My life was changed before I walked out from SJPDP because of bereavement, but that loss was over a year before. I look back to how I was then and know that many of my attitudes have changed - hopefully for the better, but I can backslide with the best - as a result of walking that 500 miles to SdC. Perhaps it was because of already being in a state of emotional flux that provided the ground to best engage with what the pilgrimage (I wouldn't have given it that description at the beginning but did by the end) asked of and gave to me. One of the changes prompted by the Camino was to try to listen more attentively to what others are saying Having worked in education for many years, I had an embedded teacherly tendency to offer information often when not requested, then realised when walking through Spain how arrogant this could appear in a different context and that here was an experience where there was much for me to learn from others and that, in so many aspects of life, I was a complete rookie. Perhaps we choose to - or feel called - to walk the Camino at those moments when through circumstances beyond our control, profound changes have happened in our lives, or when we are in search of the means to make changes to the way we live but need a new environment in which to enable that transformation. These are just ramblings, what I am really interested in hearing is what other folks feel is the transformative power of walking the Camino.
Hi SEB, you ask a very interesting question that has had me vexed for months and full disclosure: my Camino isn't driven by religious reasons, a recent major life change or a feeling that somehow I need to find myself. Rather it's been on the bucket list over the last 20 years of trekking and have been asked numerous times if I've done that Spanish pilgrim thingy. And please, I'm not in anyway demeaning those who have done it and had a major life change. However, I have done many fantastic walks and there are hundreds more to do before I go 'toes up'. Why anyone would want to do say 11 Caminos when there are so many other fantastic treks to do is an interesting question.

Putting a religious perspective aside, my hunch is that many Camino walkers have never done a major let alone a minor trek and are just overwhelmed that they actually could walk 800 km. So their natural inclination is to do it again. I guess what we never here about are those folks who do the Camino, go home, put all their walking gear on eBay and never do another major trek again. It is invigorating and fascinating to be with people who have so much passion. And, you have to admire the people who go and do it. But I can assure you that the walking fraternity is a worldwide association and we care dearly about the environment and each other. Plus, we are easy to spot, we're the ones with backpacks and walking poles. And trust me, language is no barrier. On one occasion walking between Lake Como and Lake Lugano, and at that point with about zero Italian, I met a local couple and by the end of the day was having dinner at their home. Walkers have a common bond.

I'm looking forward very much to shortly starting my Camino but I urge everyone to widen their horizons. Treks like the Tour Mont Blanc take you to the roof of Europe and the views are spectacular and for most treks there is no fear of not finding a bed for the night. Stay or move on as you please.

A bit of a long winded answer SEB but I don't think I need to be psyched up for the Camino, find the inner me or have a revelation. I may have an epiphany but more than likely I'll find a group of happy, like minded people enjoying the great outdoors, freedom of the trail, wide open spaces and for some, realising the dream of a lifetime.

Happy trails
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
#25
Hi SEB, you ask a very interesting question that has had me vexed for months and full disclosure: my Camino isn't driven by religious reasons, a recent major life change or a feeling that somehow I need to find myself. Rather it's been on the bucket list over the last 20 years of trekking and have been asked numerous times if I've done that Spanish pilgrim thingy. And please, I'm not in anyway demeaning those who have done it and had a major life change. However, I have done many fantastic walks and there are hundreds more to do before I go 'toes up'. Why anyone would want to do say 11 Caminos when there are so many other fantastic treks to do is an interesting question.

Putting a religious perspective aside, my hunch is that many Camino walkers have never done a major let alone a minor trek and are just overwhelmed that they actually could walk 800 km. So their natural inclination is to do it again. I guess what we never here about are those folks who do the Camino, go home, put all their walking gear on eBay and never do another major trek again. It is invigorating and fascinating to be with people who have so much passion. And, you have to admire the people who go and do it. But I can assure you that the walking fraternity is a worldwide association and we care dearly about the environment and each other. Plus, we are easy to spot, we're the ones with backpacks and walking poles. And trust me, language is no barrier. On one occasion walking between Lake Como and Lake Lugano, and at that point with about zero Italian, I met a local couple and by the end of the day was having dinner at their home. Walkers have a common bond.

I'm looking forward very much to shortly starting my Camino but I urge everyone to widen their horizons. Treks like the Tour Mont Blanc take you to the roof of Europe and the views are spectacular and for most treks there is no fear of not finding a bed for the night. Stay or move on as you please.

A bit of a long winded answer SEB but I don't think I need to be psyched up for the Camino, find the inner me or have a revelation. I may have an epiphany but more than likely I'll find a group of happy, like minded people enjoying the great outdoors, freedom of the trail, wide open spaces and for some, realising the dream of a lifetime.

Happy trails
Thanks Tony,

I walked my first Camino last year - the 800kms. I got a taste for long walks. I started a wish list even before I left for Spain. Italy, France, Palestine (let's call it that for their sake). Last week I added Bhutan to the list. I walk almost every day (Edit: training, for now) - have an app in my phone so I can watch the numbers grow and see how long the heels on my boots will last. I want to take some long-exposure photos of the stars in Bhutan against those upstart mountains they have up that way.

The stars arrange themselves for us although they are not where they appear to be. They are rivers of light which swerve and carve their way to us, shepherded by the restless topography of spacetime along courses which untangle in our eyes in the illusion of that final instant. Some of the objects we see no longer exist but their lightrivers will continue to surge for millions of years. Beauty we don't yet see continues on its way to us arriving in its own time. Many trails to walk, as you say. Many companions to encounter.

Buen Camino, - Mike
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2016
#26
The Camino changed my life in the way that I realized that each day has changed my life. I am not the same person I was yesterday....ever. This has enabled me to bring the Camino into my daily life as she means us to do. I still want to walk other Caminos if not for the adventure that they are and that all life is, but for the way it changes me and adds to me from what I was yesterday.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Portuguese (2017)
#27
I have also heard people say that the Camino changed their life. I have walked 2 Caminos, the Frances in 2013 (four years after the loss of my husband) and the Portugues this past March. While I enjoyed the Frances, I have no interest in walking it again. On the other hand, I cannot wait to repeat the Portugues!!! I do not feel that the Camino changed my life, but maybe that means I'm just happy with my life and the person that I am.

Denise
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#28
Thanks Tony,

I walked my first Camino last year - the 800kms. I got a taste for long walks. I started a wish list even before I left for Spain. Italy, France, Palestine (let's call it that for their sake). Last week I added Bhutan to the list. I walk almost every day - have an app in my phone so I can watch the numbers grow and see how long the heels on my boots will last. I want to take some long-exposure photos of the stars in Bhutan against those upstart mountains they have up that way.

The stars arrange themselves for us although they are not where they appear to be. They are rivers of light which swerve and carve their way to us, shepherded by the restless topography of spacetime along courses which untangle in our eyes in the illusion of that final instant. Some of the objects we see no longer exist but their lightrivers will continue to surge for millions of years. Beauty we don't yet see continues on its way to us arriving in its own time. Many trails to walk, as you say. Many companions to encounter.

Buen Camino, - Mike
Ah Mike, I can see that you've caught the walking bug as well. Your current trail sounds fantastic. For me one of the greatest pleasures about long distance walking is the lack of planning required. Of course, you have the basics but I never book ahead. If I like a village or refugio, I stay. If it's crowded or to busy, I keep walking to the next one. Generally, I use walking maps (IGN and the GR trails in Europe), the Cicerone guide for the trail, compass and common sense. And, never a telephone app. The iPhone is just snug in the backpack for absolute emergencies.

Occasionally I'll be on a trail all day and see neither man nor beast, arrive at a refugio and only then appreciate that 50 or 60 people were on the same part of the trail but started and finished at different times. Simply amazing that you never cross paths. Excluding the wonderful sights and vistas, there is great pleasure in knowing that the only way I could have got to this point is by a 6 - 8 hour walk. No roads, no trains, no buses. How many have had the absolute pleasure of being in the heart of a wilderness. I love people but sometimes in this very busy world, with our very busy lives, it's a pleasure to occasionally, just occasionally, be completely alone amongst nature for a short time. Surrounded by flora, fauna and like you, under a canopy of stars. I feel like grabbing my pack now and heading for the door, ha ha.

All the best and enjoy those walks because for all of us, one day it will be our last.

Happy trails, Tony
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#29
Like Tony Dickin in the post above I have sensed the pleasure to "be completely alone amongst nature" while walking.

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

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

Annie Little

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept-Oct 2016
#30
People overthink almost EVERYTHING in life ... including what they think Camino will do for them or why they are going .... no one should tell anyone what they will learn or experience in life or on Camino ... noones knows ! ...

Get rid of the need to overthink and life becomes simple .... I am still working on it ....

Ultreia
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camin0 (2017)
#31
While walking, and nothing much else, I got to the point that I discovered a lot of room within myself. After all, I was left with only three daily questions: where do I sleep, what do I eat and how long do I walk? And even those questions weren't really vital: I had by then already proven to myself I could improvise, wing it and flourish anyway while on the road.

All that room inside gave me a new perspective, especially toward myself. I found that it enabled me to better view and understand certain emotional and intellectual reflexes, for lack of a better word. I finally figured out that the space created was just the absence of constant self-judgement, fear, feelings of loss, self-pity and general disapproval.

In other words, walking slammed me in the 'here and now' and disarmed my 'normal' mental and emotional jugglery. Peace and quiet upstairs, and a feeling of immense contentment. I found that I quite liked myself, and enjoyed being me.

I needed, and still need, to work hard to get to that place. No shortcuts, I'm afraid. Pressure and time, kilometers and days. But the knowledge I can get there is a formidable source of solace and strength. That is what I brought home.
Thank you for sharing Purky. You just brought home the simplicity of this journey and that simplicity allows space for true reflection and discovery about yourself
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago de Compostela
#32
Colleen, how beautifully eloquent that reply is. Myself and my wife have just finished the Camino, and it is indeed a life changing experience. I am not sure how, but I feel very different to before I embarked on this, and yes, for the first time in my life I never ever doubted I would finish this. The words ring loudly in my ears every day "The Camino always provides" and that it does. We never wanted for anything, nothing went wrong. Yes, we had our experiences, alberges included, but they are far far outweighed by the wonderful people you meet and the life long memories you exact from the experience. I am disappointed only in the fact that the Sarria - SdC is burdened with those told by tour companies that this is a Camino. They will never really know what joy and soul strengthen benefits are derived from the total journey . Then again, everybody has to do his own Camino his own way. Live and let live I have thankfully learned. Buen Camino. Thank you for the experience
 

fiona12

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Feb (2013)
#33
Shakespearshake says it all for me.

Since walking Leon to Santiago in 2013, barely a day goes by without thinking about the experience and planning towards the next one - hopefully from SJP to Leon in Feb 2018.

I met up with a fellow countryman with whom I walked (and talked lots) the last 4 days. When we parted company in Santiago, he told me that I had helped immensely to sort out his head and he now knew what he needed to do back home. So maybe that was my purpose on that trip...

At the time I just felt compelled to go, so had no specific reason or purpose for going. However, on my return home I felt calmer and more accepting of my life - although that is wearing thin again. Hence my plan to go again.

For ever grateful for the advice received on the Forum. Thank you to moderators and Ivar for this wonderful service.
 

wally

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
completed the camino frances in sept 2016 via bicycle (bicycletta)
#34
Amigo!
The topic you have raised is, in my opinion, about the most important thing we should be discussing as it relates to the camino.

Ask yourself 'Why am I doing this?' Then, when completed, ask yourself 'Did I answer my question and (of course) what else have I learned?'

I encourage all my fellow forum members to remember 'The Prayer of LaFaba'. If you haven't seen it, by all means look it up (it's an easy search).

I think all of our significant life experiences helps to frame and refine our view of life and to help us improve our own lives.

I came to the conclusion, early in my planning, that I would likely return about the same sort of person I was before I had departed. A little fitter, a littler wiser (perhaps), a bit more grateful for the recent experience, a bit more alive (sometimes).

As originally designated, the Camino was a long, difficult journey. It's turned into, for many, a sort of 'adventure travel' and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Spain is a great country and I would not have visited had it not been for the purpose of the Camino. The camino was intended as a process where we put the past and unnecessary behind and focus on 'what's most important'.

I'm glad to learn that you made the journey. The camino stays with us for a long time and, like fine wine, gets better with age.

Buen camino!
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
#35
..... Perhaps we choose to - or feel called - to walk the Camino at those moments when through circumstances beyond our control, profound changes have happened in our lives, or when we are in search of the means to make changes to the way we live but need a new environment in which to enable that transformation. These are just ramblings, what I am really interested in hearing is what other folks feel is the transformative power of walking the Camino.
I also believe that we are called to the Camino.

I think that how you approach the Camino and why you do it are central to the experience you get out of it.

In planning my Camino, I wanted "balance" between a religious experience, tourism, a physical challenge, doing something way outside my comfort zone. I think I achieved what I set out.

I was called to the Camino over a number of years. While in Porto Portugal, my wife insisted we visit Santiago and its Cathedral. We took a bus and I was surprised and enthralled by the lively and youthful pilgrim atmosphere.

On another European trip to Pamplona we stopped by the tourist information office and there was all this stuff on pilgrimage routes. I had had no idea what it was about or had even heard of the Camino at that time.

Still on another European trip to Arles, France I walked out of my hotel and saw this Scallop shell on the wall around the corner from my hotel. I asked what that was about and told that it was a hostel for those doing the Camino de Santiago.

On another trip to France my wife and I stopped by SJPP. I was really hooked with the excitement and feel of that village. I stopped by the Camino registration and information office and got all kinds of information. I also went to the sporting goods store across the street and got a couple of books on the Camino.

Then the Pope announced a Holy Year of Mercy for Pilgrims. I was then totally hooked on the idea of doing the Camino. I felt that the idea of it had been slowly growing in the back of my mind for years, until I was called.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Hope to walk the CF in Sep/Oct, 2018 with my wife
#36
Hi SEB, you ask a very interesting question that has had me vexed for months and full disclosure: my Camino isn't driven by religious reasons, a recent major life change or a feeling that somehow I need to find myself. Rather it's been on the bucket list over the last 20 years of trekking and have been asked numerous times if I've done that Spanish pilgrim thingy. And please, I'm not in anyway demeaning those who have done it and had a major life change. However, I have done many fantastic walks and there are hundreds more to do before I go 'toes up'. Why anyone would want to do say 11 Caminos when there are so many other fantastic treks to do is an interesting question.

Putting a religious perspective aside, my hunch is that many Camino walkers have never done a major let alone a minor trek and are just overwhelmed that they actually could walk 800 km. So their natural inclination is to do it again. I guess what we never here about are those folks who do the Camino, go home, put all their walking gear on eBay and never do another major trek again. It is invigorating and fascinating to be with people who have so much passion. And, you have to admire the people who go and do it. But I can assure you that the walking fraternity is a worldwide association and we care dearly about the environment and each other. Plus, we are easy to spot, we're the ones with backpacks and walking poles. And trust me, language is no barrier. On one occasion walking between Lake Como and Lake Lugano, and at that point with about zero Italian, I met a local couple and by the end of the day was having dinner at their home. Walkers have a common bond.

I'm looking forward very much to shortly starting my Camino but I urge everyone to widen their horizons. Treks like the Tour Mont Blanc take you to the roof of Europe and the views are spectacular and for most treks there is no fear of not finding a bed for the night. Stay or move on as you please.

A bit of a long winded answer SEB but I don't think I need to be psyched up for the Camino, find the inner me or have a revelation. I may have an epiphany but more than likely I'll find a group of happy, like minded people enjoying the great outdoors, freedom of the trail, wide open spaces and for some, realising the
Hi Tony, appreciate your "long view" and going on other treks. I look forward to Camino in 2018, but today my wife and I enjoyed short, but steep, trail between Corniglia and Vernazza in the Cinqua Terre, Italy. Beautiful and also very refreshing to spirit. Have many more walks in mind for the future. Take care, Walter
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2017
CF 2018
#37
Things seem simpler when we believe a singular event can be the catalyst we wish for. But life doesn't usually work that way...at least in my experience.

In my case, I've reversed the order: because I have made and have lived through major changes, the Camino is the next step for me. That way, I don't put impossible expectations on the walk itself, but rather treat it as a component of a much larger camino that I've been on now for several years.
 

OLDER threads on this topic




A few items available from the Camino Forum Store




Advertisement

Booking.com

Most read today

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 9 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 4 0.5%
  • March

    Votes: 34 4.5%
  • April

    Votes: 112 14.7%
  • May

    Votes: 188 24.7%
  • June

    Votes: 54 7.1%
  • July

    Votes: 15 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 11 1.4%
  • September

    Votes: 226 29.7%
  • October

    Votes: 93 12.2%
  • November

    Votes: 11 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.7%
Top