Walking The Camino de Santiago, Spain
Walking The Camino De Santiago Changed Me, And It Will Change You. Watch Out!
WALKING THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO CHANGED ME
As the sun set over the Atlantic, I lifted myself off the rocks from the cliff’s edge. Tipsy from the bottle of wine I shared with a fellow pilgrim, I slowly walked past the Finisterre Lighthouse to the final Camino marker. Methodically, I brushed my palm over the black numbers 0,00 K.M..
800km and 32 days later, my Camino de Santiago journey was finally complete.
Or so I thought…
It has been a few months since I last tied my hiking boots, and swung my blue backpack over my infamous yellow jacket. I yearn for those weeks of gazing at the dawns’ glow, strolling through fields of cheerful poppies, sipping wine in the afternoon heat, and basking in the laughter of fellow pilgrims. I even yearn for the Camino’s physical challenges – blisters, callouses, sore muscles.
These memories are achingly beautiful and emotional because walking The Camino de Santiago has been a transformative journey, an emotional awakening that has changed my life.
Initially, I walked the Camino de Santiago for adventure and tighter thighs, but as I settled into the daily routine, the consistency allowed me to reconnect with who I really am and who I want to be.
Everyday my mind ricocheted between a barrage of thoughts, ideas, and frustrations that have plagued me over the years. I have a mind that is never settled, always restless and looking for more. More passion, more experiences, more knowledge, more heartache, just more.
I am not a passive observer, I am hyper-aware, I never miss a moment, a beat. Nothing ever gets by me. Therefore, I wish for a mind that sees life as more linear, simple, because it gets exhausting this constant barrage of thoughts.
I have spent my adult life in search of meaning, in search of what can make me a more whole individual and you know what walking The Camino de Santiago taught me?
Through this process of self-discovery, I learned that I no longer need to strive for ‘being my best self.’ Because let’s be real, what is that? Because at the end of the day I am who I am and it is exhausting trying to be something more. My actual self is enough. Crazy thought, huh?!
Today I move forward.
No longer will I change who I am to fit into someone else’s mold for fear of rejection.
No longer will I lower my expectations because others choose not to step up their game.
No longer will I allow people to make me feel guilty for the path I have chosen because I now realize they would prefer me to be chained to their circumstances.
No longer will I say Yes when I actually mean No.
No longer will I feel bad about voicing what I need.
My life moving forward will not mirror my life before I took my first steps in Pamplona. All my past struggles serve as building blocks for my future growth. Walking The Camino de Santiago has been the ultimate blessing. It challenged me in a way I never thought possible but so thankful it did.
Sadly a few days after I completed the Camino de Santiago, Anthony Bourdain, a food and travel host, died. I admired his fierce desire to challenge and improve himself through travel which greatly influences my travel life. His words continue to impress:
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
And to that….