Spain - El Camino de Santiago de Compostela
January 1, 1970
A life changing journey
El Camino de Santiago de Compostela is a magic journey. I thought I would do it just to check my bucket list, but after I finished it I was thinking how can I manage my life routine in order to be able to do it each year. I have a lot of reason for which I wish to go back on the road.
I am not such an active person, but we all know how good it is an active life for our wealth. Well, I never felt better than the month I had on El Camino del Norte, walking each day for 10 to 40 km (yes, km!).
I really love Spanish food (actually I love a lot of things about Spain, not just food). On El Camino del Norte I found amazing food and I was able to eat as much as I wished for without thinking about the calories. With all of that walking every day, that wasn’t an issue anymore.
Making new friends
Even if you start alone or with a partner or even in a large group, on the way you will meet a lot of wonderful people and you will feel a special connection with most of them. Because it’s like a team: you all have the same goal: to arrive safe at Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña region and to enjoy as much as you can the road.
A good therapy
I was thinking a lot on El Camino why people are going to therapy when they can walk on El Camino. Actually I think before taking any pills or going through any kind of emotional therapy, people should try going on El Camino. There is a special energy and a lot of nice places you will see that makes you forget about all of your problems.
I don’t think I am exaggerating, but my month spent on El Camino del Norte was the happiest of my live. Even if I was in a pain with all the blisters I had and even if I was very tired sometimes. My heart was feeling almost all the time like a flying butterfly. I enjoyed everything with all of my heart.
Well… I really love seaside and walking near the sea almost all of the time was my reason to choose El Camino del Norte, which is longer than the more popular EL Camino Frances. It’s was just breathtaking to have the sea on my right hand almost every day and to enjoy the breeze while walking early in the morning. Actually, it was my first time in life when I almost can say I enjoyed waking up early in the morning.
Before this journey I had a very different way of packing. Just think about a short business trip, where I used to take ten pairs of shoes for just a week. It’s was impossible for this journey to act as usually because I had to carry on my backpack each and every day. So, I had to choose wisely. That was a very hard work, but I only had 7 kg at the end of my selection. My back said “thank you” for changing my custom. And I must confess I didn’t missed anything.
Sleeping in hostels
Albergues, something like a Spanish hostel have rooms with two up to 200 beds. That can be a challenge to have a good sleep. Especially for the ones used to sleep alone or in a quite environment. For my first ten days I slept with the last person who fell asleep and I woke up with the first one who got up. After ten days I woke up in one morning and I realized every one of the all 70 people in the room left. I was the last one sleeping and I just didn’t heard anything in the morning. That was a surprise for me, but I didn’t had any other sleep problems after that night.
Sharing is caring
On the way everyone will be very willing to help you even if you don’t ask for help. It’s like a loving community where you have the support from everyone around to succeed. And they do it unconditional. Of course, even if you are not such an altruistic person, you will feel more the will to help and care for others.
You are almost every day on the road and you sleep most of the nights in new albergues. It’s kind of impossible to feel attached to some place. The people you know on the road can stay with you to end of the way or they can leave the next day. You know that and you don’t have to suffer. In real life it’s very hard not to get attached to people or places, but El Camino is a good way to learn about detachment, or about how not to feel bad with the unhealthy attachments. And this can be a precious lesson for anybody.
The Way is famous for his power of healing our fears. You will have to face your fears, to accept them and after that, if you wish, to leave them. People use to leave some clothes, socks or even shoes on the road like a symbol for the fears they leave behind. The legend says you don’t have to take them, because you will take the fears too.
It’s not a competition. Even to yourself. You don’t have to achieve nothing, or to gain anything. You just have to enjoy the experience and to give it the time to enjoy it peacefully.
If you choose to walk on El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, please prepare for a life changing experience and try to enjoy every step you take. The first one is very emotional and you will feel like emotions you were never thinking you have. And be open to every experience it might happen to you. Everything that happens on El Camino it has a purpose, even if you can’t see it right away.
Buen Camino, Pelegrino!