Confidence – bringing my Camino-self home.

I still remember to this day the words a section manager at my workplace told me a number of years ago.

“You’re your own worst enemy”.

He knew me from working with me day in and out. And I agreed with him. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this. Having a lack of self-belief can stop us achieving goals. I certainly had a few goals I wanted to achieve, but a voice inside this little head of mine kept plugging away…”I can’t”, it said.

So I didn’t.

I’m sure I would be in a different position to where I am today – both in and out of work – if I had a little more self belief.

One evening, while watching one of Anthony Suzuki’s brilliant “Beyond The Way” videos before he walked the Camino Frances in 2015, he explained that he didn’t have a great amount of faith in himself to arrive in Santiago. It was then that he brought up the famous story by Dr. Suess “Oh, the Places You’ll go”. In it, Dr. Suess says:-

“Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go”.

Andrew used this piece as motivation, he gained a little faith in himself and he completed his Camino. I had never heard of this story until it was brought up in the video and it was a great eye-opener for me. The difference is, for me, while on Camino, I have no shortage of confidence or self belief. I open up and bloom. I love meeting people, telling stories and I suppose I am the opposite to who I am at home. So you can see why I return to the Camino year on year.

The trick is adopt this attitude to everyday life at home. The above few lines push me in the right direction.

 

My chat with Dan Mullins on My Camino – the podcast

I recently talked to Dan Mullins, an Australian producer and musician, about my experiences on the Camino and it has been uploaded for all to listen to. I had a blast talking to Dan as he has walked the Camino and is walking again in September. We touched on kit, blisters, the history of Irish pilgrimage and on giving back to the Camino through local Camino societies.

CaminoPodcast

If you have some time, give our chat a listen. By the way, Dan has interviewed a whole host of folks from all over the world equally as enthusiastic about the Camino. Go and listen to some of these podcasts as you are guaranteed to enjoy them. Dan is walking from Lourdes to Santiago in September and I hope to meet him while I walk the meseta. Fingers crossed.

Your Stories, Your Camino – Reg & Sue Spittle

I was delighted to receive an e-mail from Sue Spittle after she read my post asking for other people’s experiences on the Camino de Santiago. Both Sue and her husband Reg, decided to walk the Camino Frances from Pamplona in 2013. It was their first long distance walk and their first time with backpacks. It seems they really gained from their time on the Camino as they both are “living life with less baggage”! More details about Sue & Reg’s Camino can be found on www.carryoncouple.com/caminodesantigo.

So what was Sue’s impression of her Camino?…..

“We should do it!” That was my reaction in August of 2012 as the credits rolled signaling the end of the Emilio Estevez/Martin Sheen movie, The Way. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I realized I really meant it.

My husband thought I was nuts. We had no backpacking experience, with the exception of an overnighter with friends some 30 years earlier. How could we walk 500 miles? How could we carry everything we needed in a backpack? Where would we stay? What would we eat? What about our privacy? All valid concerns to which I responded, “What if we can do it? Besides, (we were recently retired) what else will we do with all our time?”

Fast forward to an April morning in 2013. Equipped with brand spanking new packs, sleeping bags, hiking shoes, assorted clothing and an abundance of other non-essential personal items, we took our first steps along the Camino, leading us out of Pamplona, Spain and into an entirely new way of life!

● Our training consisted of a variety of day hikes, with and without packs, only 100 miles in all. Trekking poles are a must!
● Albergues, with their dorm-style rooms, were intimidating at first, but we met wonderful people of all ages and nationalities. Do stay in some!
● Some Pilgrim meals were better than others, but all were affordable and often shared
around a communal table. Don’t miss out on this!
● Walk your own Camino. Find a pace and daily mileage count that suits your abilities.
For us it was 12 miles/day. It is not a race!
● Nor is it easy! Sore muscles, tired feet, blisters, sun, rain, snow, snoring, top bunks,
co-ed bathrooms…be prepared!
● The Camino has much to teach all who travel The Way. Appreciate each day for what it
is.

While reaching Santiago was our original goal, we weren’t far from Pamplona when we realized that the adventure would be about so much more. We both experienced a variety of emotions upon arriving in Santiago. Exhilaration, relief, sadness, gratitude…I would encourage you to find your “Way”. It just might change your life!

unnamed

Reg & Sue after reaching the top of O Cebreiro

Weekend Watch #39 – Along the Way – El Camino de Santiago

It’s been quite a while since I posted a Weekend Watch, so now is a great time to post one of the best videos I have seen. I’ll be honest with you but I wasn’t far from shedding a tear around the 1 minute mark. It confirms my belief that the Camino is much much more than just a walk. Enjoy!

And Bang! We are Halfway through 2017

We are a a few days past the mid-way point in 2017. Time flies eh? Only a matter of months ago, I was finishing off the turkey and badly singing Christmas carols. Badly.

I like to take stock of the previous few months once in a while and 2017 (so far) has been one to remember. For good and bad reasons. I started off the year with my hand in a cast. I won’t get into how that happened as I’ve gone through that many times in previous posts. I also discovered the Camino Prep Training group on MeetUp.com and that has grown from strength to strength.  I have moved from a position where I had very little to do during the weekends to being pretty busy most Saturdays or Sundays. This is a good thing but that may change soon.

I also spent a month in hospital, which seemed like a lifetime, but it also seems like a lifetime ago. That was March, everyone was wearing green and it rained alot. I was in a good place but I needed to get back walking once I returned to normality. On a positive note, I received the keys to my new apartment in April. Excitement kicked in and to this day, I am in the process of decoration. There is a lot to do and there is not alot of time to do it. I hope to be fully moved in before the end of August.

June saw me lend my humble hand to Camino Society Ireland and their Information Centre. Where else can I talk for half a day to future pilgrims about the many ways in Spain? It’s ideal! I’m a peregrino who doesn’t switch off and I look forward to each day I volunteer there. June also saw me walk the Irish stage of the new Celtic Camino from Bray to St. James Church in Dublin. I will be given a certificate and will present this at the pilgrim’s office when I complete my walk from A Coruna. I will receive a compostela then. This is a great new initiative and let’s hope it takes off.

It is now just under 2 months before I walk from Burgos. The meseta is such a vast expansive place and I have always enjoyed walking through it. That said, this “may” be my final time on the Camino Frances for a while as I consider other routes. But I don’t write the future, so who knows!

So that is where I am this year, a lot has happened but the next few months are important too as I focus on a new casa. I may have to lay down my backpack for next year to concentrate on that but a short Celtic Camino is still on the cards.

Onwards we go! Adelante!

 

Astorga becomes Logrono….

I’m not naturally unpredictable but after a few days thinking, I have thrown a curveball at my plans for September. Alas, I have decided to shift the starting point of September Camino to La Rioja and Logrono. Logrono is a lovely city and like Astorga, there is plenty to see and do. I will have ten days of walking and I hope to reach Sahagun by the tenth day. From there, I will take a train to Santiago where I will meet my good friend, St. James. I have walked through the provinces of La Rioja and Castilla y Leon on a number of occasions and have really enjoyed my times there. So much so that I will postpone my walking through Galicia for another time. My flight to Madrid on the 4th of September still stands, and from there I catch an ALSA bus to Logrono. I’m half-tempted to walk to Navarette once I arrive but for the time being, I have reserved a bunk-bed in Albergue Albas

I get to pass through favourite towns of mine – Belorado (with it’s highly recommended Cuatro Cantones albergue), Azofra, Burgos, Boadilla del Camino, and Villalcázar de Sirga. The meseta has only been good to me when I walked through it, so I look forward to September. Many dislike this stretch, so much so that they catch a bus to Leon or Astorga. I’m not sure why. I suppose living so close to the Camino allows me to make these sudden changes and I’m grateful for that. I do apologise to any of my readers who were looking forward to my posts from Galicia but I will make it up to you.

Buen Camino amigos!

Ps – My post on my recent walk around the Bog of Frogs last Saturday has been posted on Camino Society Ireland’s new website.