Modern life makes it extremely difficult for you to have the quality time and space to devote to yourself in order to reflect upon the things that are most important to you. Life can become a succession of saying “One day, I’ll do XYZ” or “If I had the time, I would do….”. This thinking can continue on for years or until the moment when life demands that you finally address what is important to you.
The Camino de Santiago is the generic name given to the different medieval pilgrimage paths that end in the city of Santiago de Compostela in north-western Spain. The most popular path is the 500 mile (790km) Camino Francés starting in the foothills of the French Pyrenees in the pretty village of Saint Jean Pied-de-Port. Ascending over the Pyrenees mountains, it crosses through the regions of Navarre, La Rioja, Castile and León and into Galicia.
The daily act of walking for an extended period of time allows for inner transformation to occur in a variety of ways:
Time takes on a new dimension allowing you to see life from a different perspective. With the simplicity of the daily routine of walking, eating and sleeping, days and weeks merge into one another and the pace of your life slows. What emerges is the awareness of a life at a more natural and comfortable rhythm.
If you truly choose to disconnect whilst on your Camino, it means leaving behind your family, your friends, your work, your commitments and your responsibilities for the duration of your journey. Letting go fully delivers a freedom, which perhaps you have not experienced in years. Without life’s distractions being present and the requirement to serve others temporarily removed, a new space is created that allows you to connect with yourself and find what is important to you.
As well as connecting with yourself, thus recognising what you value, your real needs and wants, you also connect with your fellow Camino walkers. They become your “new family”. Pre-Camino judgments of status, wealth, background, qualifications and culture are replaced by a common humanity to help each other along the length of the road to Santiago. Of importance too are the stories you hear: many leave an inspirational and life changing impact upon you.
You are much stronger than you think you are. But you will never know that until you try to do something that is currently bigger than you. The Camino is primarily a journey of self-discovery. It is a place where you confront your limiting beliefs, and your ego. The hardships demand immediate attention and procrastination is often impossible. As each day goes by you find yourself getting physically fitter, mentally stronger and wiser. Self-awareness, self-reliance, self-belief and the ability to trust that you will be fine in difficult situations are outcomes from the Camino experience