The last 8 days of June I spent on the Camino de Santiago. During those days, I hiked from Santiago de Compostela to the coast, to places like Muxia and Finisterre. After that, I walked back to Santiago de Compostela. It was once again a great experience. I got to see beautiful landscapes and create connections with other pilgrims from all walks of life, from all over the world.
It was my fifth time on the Camino. So, by now you might think I am an experienced hiker. I think I am indeed. Still, I did make a beginners mistake. Right after this 200km journey with a full backpack, I just stopped. I simply skipped a proper cooldown. It resulted in restless legs my first day at home and I thought I could solve that by making a short walk with my wife. Yet, as I would find out soon, that wasn’t enough. The next morning I was woken up by some severe leg cramps. Not the most comfortable way to wake up.
Sometimes you have to experience your own lessons again in order to be reminded of what you tell others. This reminder noted me that whatever I do, whether it is in business or a multi-day hike, I should wind down properly. In alliance terms, I should have taken care of a “graceful exit”.
People ask me what keeps me pulling back to the Camino. In Santiago de Compostela I spoke to a lady from Puerto Rico who had just arrived as well. She named the Camino a “walking meditation with your eyes open.” I feel she excellently framed it. Like meditation, walking the Camino provides me with an extended moment of reflection. The Camino allows me to think about many things, or about nothing at all. It allows me to put things into perspective, consider future plans and ponder up new ideas. Ever since the lessons from my first Camino, it is that experience and renewed energy that brings me back to the Camino, year after year. An experience I can warmly recommend to anyone!