This is how I would summarise my experience on the Camino Frances.
It would be untrue if I told you that I gained all of these insights on the Camino alone. I have to thank a lot of great teachers – near and far. However, many of these insights were confirmed on this journey. Whether you need to walk the Camino to get some valuable insights into your life or not, I do not know. I am sure you can get these insights in other places as well. However, the environment that the Camino provides and just a long walk in general can be certainly conducive and after all – it is also a lot of fun 🙂
- Pack wisely. Less is more
- If you can, invest in high quality products – this will save you some trouble
- If you cannot: that is OK – you will survive –> check point 4
- Time is the solution to many of your challenges. The more time you have for your Camino, the better
- If you seek solitude you might want to consider walking another route
- Take good earplugs. They can save lives
- Sometimes you need a good exit strategy
- ‘Magic’ will happen when you pause and let it happen (without waiting for it to happen)
- When you face your fears you might find out that reality is often less scary than your imagination has pictured it
- By separating yourself a little from what is happening around you, life might offer a different perspective to you
- If you like to be around other people and socialise the Camino Frances might be a good option
- Being part of a community is nice- as long as you can choose whether you want to be part of it
- Your body remembers what you did to it – and will take a long walk as an opportunity to remind you
- Even though it feels you are kind of alone on this planet, you are a part of it
- Most people will try to support you, if you are in need and ask for help (if it is a short-term commitment)
- Beware of the upper bunk bed – accidents do occur and sometimes you are moving in line with the person on the lower bunk, however
- if the bed collapses you will probably be better off on the upper bunk
- Nothing is just good or bad
- Overcome your fear of ‘performing surgery on yourself’. If you can, avoid doing a messy job, in order to avoid infections. If you cannot: practise 😉
- Most (if not all) worst-case scenarios (best-case scenarios – ALL scenarios?) your mind creates are not real
- walking on concrete = pain
- Not much materialistic stuff is needed to keep a person satisfied
- Being unwilling to accept change will cause (unnecessary?) suffering. (it is however necessary: life will keep on kicking you in the bottom until you do accept what you need to accept)
- When you accept change life can flow and new opportunities can arise
- A glass of good wine can bring happiness
- A sorrow shared is a sorrow halved
- Worrying doesn’t solve problems
- The more time you spend alone the more time you have to worry (if you are not a meditation master), however:
- If you never spend anytime alone you will never be in touch with yourself and understand the concept you call “I”
- A solution to a challenge you are facing is more likely to present itself if you stop worrying and do something else instead
- In moments of complete awareness if feels like you become one with everything around you
- You can finally eat as much as you like and still lose weight
- Age is (to a certain degree) just a number. Don’t let this number limit you
- Dance when you feel like dancing
- What you resist persists
- Depending on circumstances getting up at 6am can be wonderful
- If you want to experience a more homely feeling, try out the smaller places (villages, albergues)
- Even people who seem to live the life you want to live face challenges
- April can be hot in Spain.
- April can also be cold in Spain.
- If you get lost, enjoy the view, stay calm, be patient. Freaking out does not really improve a situation
- We are all in the same boat – we just hold different positions, at different times
- Sometimes letting go of plan A and try out plan B or C or M can lead to wonderful outcomes
- Stay flexible in your approach
- Without experiencing pain or suffering would we know joy or pleasure?
- Comparing yourself to others is nonsense. It is impossible to know the whole picture anyway
- Walk on your own if you want to consciously observe what is happening around you, walk your own pace, process information and experience being a part of everything around you
- Walk with others if you want to exchange information, hear different perspectives, bond, support/be supported for a little while or just share an experience (like drinking a bottle of wine 🙂 )
- Both experiences can be valuable – depending on what you want and need in that moment
- Don’t force a swollen foot into a compression sock and then walk for 20km
- Just because you think it cannot be done or others tell you it cannot be done – does not mean it cannot be done
- Always question things – including your own concepts
- If you want to look good you might have to pay a price for that
- Be less critical – focus more on the positive – and pay compliments – if that’s how you feel.
- Be critical, if it is needed – can you still be kind? Question your motivation
- Every action has its consequences – sometimes the consequences come unexpected
- Celebrate your victories – celebrate the victories of others. Celebrate together.
- The reason that makes you happy in one moment can be the very same that makes you extremely unhappy in the next moment
- Dont underestimate a long walk – then again don’t worry too much about it either
- Your perception will create your reality
- Listen to your body
- Ask for support, if you are in need.
- Give support if others are in need
- We bond with people with whom we believe we have something in common that is of importance to us
- Sometimes unhealthy food is healthier than healthy food
- Maybe there is always an exception to the rule
This list is obviously very subjective and limited to my own experience. It is certainly not a comprehensive list – because depending on my own experience and my perspective on life my views are always subject to change. However, it is more or less true for how I saw the world and my Camino that moment when I created this list.
That all being said there remains only one more thing to be said:
Buen Camino to all of you 🙂
– no matter whether you walk an actual trek or whether you just walk on your life’s path.
“When someone seeks,” said Siddhartha, “then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.”
― Hermann Hesse,