“You can leave the Camino, but the Camino will never leave you.”
When I returned from my first Camino to Santiago de Compostela back in 2013, I never really thought about what the Camino meant to me. I had heard the stories about how it only really starts when you return from it, but I never expected that it would be that way for me as well.
Ever since walking the Camino, I start many days of the week with a walk. A walk to freshen up, to think about the day ahead and to let my mind go wild about the design of upcoming workshops. Sometimes I think of “nothing”, during those walks I come up with the best ideas!
In my work I use many photos of the Camino as illustrative material and sometimes I write about the Camino and the lessons it brought me.
The story I tell people when they ask about the Camino, depends on their question. Some are genuinely interested, others ask questions that do not show real interest. These people I tell a very short story: “back in 2013 I walked 900 km through Northern Spain in 28 days”. Sometimes that is a wake-up call for them. And yes, I know, with that story I focus their impression of the Camino on the distance and perhaps the sportive accomplishment.
However, the Camino is so much more: it is an experience!
Guided by the yellow arrows of the Camino, the physical aspect is an enabler for the experience and the lessons you will gain. Of course you will come into contact with the inevitable muscle pain during the first days – unless you are a well trained long distance walker. But that pain is soon to be forgotten. Walking the Camino can be meditative, and the rhythm of the Camino lets your mind wander. The mind will let go, and you will be able to view the previously seemingly pressing issues from a distance, with a new view.
Walking my 2013 Camino gave me ample opportunity to reflect, to close down unfinished items and to plan for the time after the walk. It also taught me to rely more on faith and less on control; things will work out.
What will the Camino do for you?