I am 4k from Santiago, relishing my last evening on The Camino and thinking about all of the amazing lessons I have learned in the past 2 weeks, so I thought I would share. I will still post LOTS of photos once I get home as well as a post on more practical tips/thoughts on The Camino if you are thinking of walking it yourself (which you should!), but for right now I am more focused on the esoteric of it all. The past 2 weeks have been more amazing and more difficult than I could have ever imagined. While I intended to walk the entire Camino, due to unforeseen (but good) circumstances at home I had to cut my trip short, but regardless I feel like I have accomplished one of my life’s goals and did something amazing. I walked approximately 275k, which for those of you in the Pacific NW that would be like walking from Portland to Bend or Portland to Seattle. It was much harder in someways and much easier in others than I ever though it would be and most certainly one of the highlights of my life.
I came here to do something difficult and learn about myself and I feel quite certain I did both. The following are a few of the things (in no particular order) that I learned or gained a deeper understanding of while here. They are perhaps a bit cliche, but are truly the things that were the most meaningful to me and what I hope to keep with me when I return to my “normal” life at home.
Lessons from The Camino:
Judging others and ourselves is the root of most unhappiness
I don’t like too much choice-simplicity makes me more happy than complexity
I don’t like excessive heat-unless doing nothing is involved 🙂
I love walking
I am happiest when I am working to make the world a better place by building something, not tearing something down
Wherever you go there you are (I think this is my mantra)
Even profound experiences don’t change us quickly, change comes slowly and is often unexpected
I love my body
Being ourselves leaves us open and vulnerable, but it’s the only way we can ever experience life authentically
I want to love someone who loves me back. I want to be with someone who is as excited about me as I am about them and is as invested in my happiness and dreams as I am in theirs. I will no longer accept less.
A smile can get you a very long way
Everything in life is a reflection of yourself
How we imagine something will be is rarely how it is
Don’t take to heart people who tell you that your experience is invalid or less than theirs just because you do it differently
The belief that you are right is more dangerous than whatever it is you may believe
It is never about the destination, always the journey, but sometimes having a destination helps you get going in the first place
I am attracted to and value kindness above most else
Unsolicited advice is rarely well received
Flexibility (the mental/emotional kind) makes for more enjoyable travels
I love this world and all the people in it, even when at times I feel like I don’t
These photos are from my second day walking the Camino de Santiago. I was pretty exhausted, so I didn’t take as many photos as the first day, but it was again an amazing place with endless beauty. They are more or less in order of the day and the last one is where I slept that night, Which was the floor of a gym at the Municipal Hostel, as by the time I arrived in town all beds were full. But it didn’t matter, I was so tired I slept beautifully.