The road ahead – Camino de Santiago

 

 

It is you and I who make our fates

We open up or close the gates

On the road ahead or the road behind.

                                           Joseph Moriarty 

 

 

 

 

I asked myself a few times why the heck I am walking alone for hours on the Spanish fields… in the afternoon I could barely see someone on the trail. You see… life is the manifestation of the decisions we make.

One of the insights I’d had before walking on the Camino was about space. The space we create within ourselves when we have the courage to take decisions and make life choices. By letting go everything that wastes our energy we create space for the good things to come.

 

I have walked on the Camino Frances route from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela, 729km in 21 days. Camino touched me gently in an unprecedented way:

 

  • One step in front of the other walking on a road I haven’t seen before. When I was walking alone on the trail I was thinking that nobody knew where I am. I had 729km only for myself to practice self confidence and getting comfortable with the unknown.
  • Everybody has something to give and receive on the Camino. I had no expectations whatsoever and I have received more than I could ask for. Be grateful and don’t take nothing for granted.
  • One of the lessons to be taken is the feeling of being present in everything you do, with every step, with every breath. I was expecting a bit of noise but my mind was calm and still.
  • On the Camino is only the road ahead. You either keep walking or quit walking and that’s the only way out. The road behind doesn’t count because there is nothing really worth getting back for.
  • If you spend an average of 4 hours walking 20km to have breakfast, your view about the little things in life is starting to change.
  • By travelling to ourselves we must confront our own loneliness. I walked alone but the truth is that I never felt lonely.
  • To live a meaningful life is perhaps a profound statement. But if you have that, quitting is not an option anymore when things get tough but you rather keep looking in the right places for the right tools that will help you achieve your goals.
  • Camino helped me realise the relationship I have with my body. I was listening carefully, I was connected to every step I made. During and after I finished I didn’t have any injury, just tired and hungry. My overall physical condition played an important role but the way I took care of my body had a major impact of my performance.
  • I was thinking about the people I met. I will never see them again that’s why was important to receive with kindness their stories or anything else they had to offer.
  • It has become clear to me that giving and receiving is equally important. To be kind and authentic when you make nice gestures and receive them back with an open heart when someone wants to help or do something nice for you.
  • To walk 729km in 21 days is not comfortable but during walking your brain is starting to change. Walking improves your overall mental wellbeing by reducing stress and releasing endorphins. People on the Camino were smiling, enjoying their experience. It was very easy to start a conversation, it felt very natural to talk and have good time with strangers.

 

Camino is different from person to person. Every day is a different journey and steps doesn’t feel the same. It only depends on yourself on how do you want to receive what Camino has to offer. I have received kindness from the Camino and the best word that would describe my experience is PEACE.

 

I would definitely do it again but for the second time I would share the experience with someone I love. I would try a different route, maybe on the bike and I would enjoy again the Spanish culture. I’ve posted more pictures and stories on Instagram.

 

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  2 comments for “The road ahead – Camino de Santiago

  1. Jan
    August 4 at 10:50 AM

    Wow! Thanks for sharing. I am thinking of doing the camino alone in October. As a Solo woman walker, do you feel it’s safe enough? Should I feel confident enough to make the trek alone?

    • andreeap
      August 5 at 5:34 AM

      Hi Jan,
      I would say so. I made the trek alone and I’ve seen lots of people from different ages doing travelling alone. I think you should have no worries about that. Buen Camino!

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