Post Camino Thoughts…
Six Months Later-
I thought it would be fun to do a little roundup of our post Camino thoughts after being home for six months. Here is what we are thinking:
Now that some time has passed, my blisters have healed, and my feet don’t ache every morning, I can look back on our Camino experience in a new light.
The Camino was better in so many ways, than I had even imagined it could be. The terrain was steeper, both uphill and downhill, and the landscape more beautiful, even the Meseta. The food and wine was delicious and there were always plenty of options, except during siesta. The locals were more welcoming, and the majority were friendly and would always take a few moments to chat.
My one piece of advice: Don’t walk the Camino for anyone but yourself. It is a tough journey and there are bad days when you need to dig deep within yourself to keep walking. If you aren’t committed 100% for yourself, your struggle will be even greater.
I’m so thankful to have had my own unique experience on the Camino. I knew I was a strong person, but once I put it to practice, I was able to prove to myself that I can do most anything and after walking 500 miles, it’s a reality.
It’s really special to be able to re-live the Camino through my writing and our blog.
The Camino is something that is hard to describe to someone who has not walked it. That is why, I am so glad I was able to share it with Jaynie. We had so much time to talk about everything, and so much time to be comfortable in our silence. We pushed each other physically, and were there for each other mentally. I saw how very strong and determined my wife is and it made me very proud. I am very thankful Jaynie led me to this journey.
The Camino really helped me look at my life and see things that I was happy with and things I needed to improve upon. It helped me know what is important in my life and how to focus on those things. I definitely want to continue on our walk…in many other places.
Looking back on my Camino experience I am filled with joy. I have a huge sense of accomplishment and feel so lucky to have been a part of this incredible journey.
Lessons I learned through my Camino consisted of, invest in a newer, lighter backpack, get orthotics before I decide to hike 200+ miles, and always have a snickers bar in your bag just in case.
I loved our daily routine of getting up early while it was still dark, hiking for a couple of hours, grab breakfast in a cute village, and then hike on until around 2 pm, take a shower, and meet up for wine.
My only regret on this trip were my feet and not having orthotics yet. Some of my days were extremely hard and slow. My feet were hurting me so bad, I could feel every pebble I walked over. I was not only in pain but so frustrated because the rest of me was feeling great and I’m not one to give up. So, when I had a breakdown one evening, I discovered that I could send my backpack ahead to our next destination town for only 3 euros a day. I went ahead and did this for the last 3 days of my Camino. This was a wonderful solution to help me finish my journey.
Would I do this again? Yes, I actually would. It was an amazing experience and I loved all of the people we meet along the way, the delicious food, and excellent wine.
While it was not religious for me, I did find a certain spirituality in the whole experience. I was humbled by painful blisters, sore muscles, fatigue, by not speaking the language as I well as I had hoped I would. Several days early on were very difficult for me, and I had to pull strength from deep inside as well as count on my companions (as well as fellow pilgrims I encountered along the way!) for encouragement.
The reward was simple though, in that each night I counted my blessings and knew I could face the challenges of the coming days and prevail.
It was one of the most challenging and yet rewarding experiences of my life. I feel the pull to go back someday, to the absolute simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other.
If you missed reading our Camino Series, please click here to begin reading.