“I decided to do the Camino with my husband Larry in May 2014 after he finally sold me on what seemed to be a crazy idea. I mean, it truly is crazy to think about walking 700+ kilometers in a relatively short time frame. To be honest with you, I went on the Camino because my husband wanted to. I went into the journey not expecting to enjoy it. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it either, and I was a little concerned about what I would do if a day came when I just had to stop and couldn’t walk any further. But I thought I could always take a cab or bus to the next place and wait for Larry to catch up on foot.
But over time, I discovered that it’s all a matter of the mind. If you say you can do the Camino, then you will do it! Take it one step at a time. Day by day. The Camino did get easier for me. I walked at my own pace, maybe not always with Larry, but it was still exhilarating to walk over these mountains and such long distances. At the top of each summit or at the end of the day, I was just sitting there thinking ‘Look at me! How good am I? Look at that mountain!’ I will say I did learn why humans have a ribcage. I’m pretty sure that my heart was beating so hard and fast so many times on the Camino that it would’ve fallen out if it wasn’t for those ribs!
It’s crazy to think about all these wonderful people you meet on the Camino. You don’t know them since they’re not a part of your life like your friends, schoolmates or family – you don’t always understand what drives them. But they become very, very important. Occasionally, you’ll walk with people who don’t speak a common language and yet somehow, you’re able to have a conversation for 3-4 hours with them. At the end of this conversation, even if it’s a short 15 minute chat, they’ve changed you. You get a different view of different nationalities and opinions. At the end of the days, you’re sitting in the albergue enjoying wonderful food and their company preparing for the next day. You’ve been through the same thing. Maybe all these different people aren’t so different after all. Maybe we shouldn’t always be focused on how we’re different. Still, ‘preparing for the next day’ sometimes becomes difficult with all the snoring in the albergues! One night, I thought the noise was in my head, but luckily I wasn’t going crazy – it was just the snoring. I remember one small albergue we got to with 12-15 beds. This one man walked in that a few of the people the room knew from before. They were excited to see him and he was just as happy to see all these people he had met over the past few days. But, one girl in there looked at him and said, ‘Oh no, not you!’ and I understood exactly why. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but needless to say, that was a long night.
While the scenery and people were great, I really enjoyed walking from town to town and just being in the moment. I often found myself taking pictures of the doors and wondering, ‘What’s behind these doors? What’s the history of this building?’ The history on the Camino is just incredible! And I found the spiritual aspect important. Before the Camino, I heard that many people hike the Camino to try and become closer to God. I’m Christian and religious, but I’ll admit I don’t always go to church. So, I was walking around Spain and trying to connect spiritually along the way. I had this realization. I get it. I get why Jesus gave up his life for the children of the world. I really do. I’m not trying to compare the Camino to Jesus’ trials but I was hurting both physically and mentally – blisters, tendinitis, fighting with myself – and I was just beat. But, as much as I hated it, if you were to ask me to do the Camino again for my children, I would do it again in a heartbeat! You wouldn’t have to ask me twice. It makes sense why people do such hard and difficult things for the ones they love.
The Camino is truly a wonderful experience. It’s life changing. The people you meet can become great friends. When I talk to them, it brings up these feelings. I guess you could say it’s the sense of accomplishing something together. But, it’s much more than that. You just can’t explain it. The Camino brings an incredible and inexplicable feeling. Before the Camino, I don’t think I would’ve ever considered doing it ONCE, let alone twice, but the Camino is drawing me back. My husband and I are looking forward to our next Camino adventure in May 2016. We can’t wait to see what’s in store!”
– Desi, Australia