Camino Audit #10 – Why I walked the Camino.

Two years ago, I started to think about walking the Camino.

It soon became a fixation.

In Mudgee, in the small country town where I live north west of Sydney, I’d go walking each day out into the lanes through the vineyards, and I’d imagine myself walking the Camino.

Sometimes farmers and vintners would stop and ask me why I was walking.

I’m training for the Camino de Santiago, I’d tell them – and they’d look at me strangely as I walked off. Back then, I didn’t know when I’d do it, only that it was inevitable I would.

People who knew me, people close to me, would rib me, believing it was a phase I was going through and soon I’d get over it. I never did. In fact, I could feel the pressure building. This inexplicable need to walk the Camino in Spain.

I read books, I looked at YouTube videos, I watched documentaries. I bought boots, I bought hiking gear, I went and bought a backpack and began doing 12 km mountain treks with the pack fully loaded.

I started to get fit. I wore my boots in. I weighed everything that was likely to go into my pack. If anyone asked, I could tell them down to the gram how much my undies weighed.

No-one asked.

And then one morning the dam burst and I decided on a date.

I made a booking and paid the airfare, and within a couple of hours I received an unexpected royalty cheque for exactly the amount I’d just spent, plus $200. Down to the dollar. The $200 would cover taxis and incidentals to and from airports.

Weird.

Still, I had no idea why I was doing this walk across a country on the other side of the world. And when those people who’d chuckled at me asked, I couldn’t give them any sensible answer. Only that it was something I just had to do.

As I began the Camino, I decided that I wanted The Way to answer three questions for me:

  • Who am I?
  • What am I doing here?
  • What really matters?

It’s been about ten days since I arrived in Santiago, and so I don’t have the perspective of distance and time yet to fully answer these questions, however I do believe in the notion of the Three Stages of the Camino – LIFE, DEATH, and REBIRTH.

I believe that I’m at the start of the rebirth stage. And it’s crucial that as I begin to re-enter my everyday world, I adhere to the concept of being a pilgrim, and making each day a pilgrimage.

If ever I’m confronted with a situation where in the past I might have responded with anger or conflict or disappointment or envy, then I must remember what I’ve learnt from the Camino: Humility, gratitude, need / not want. And keep on putting one foot in front of the other, and eventually you’ll get there…

Okay

  • Who am I? I’m a story teller.
  • What am I doing here? I’m here to communicate to others, in a way that I hope will be affecting.
  • What really matters? As I said in one of my last posts, love matters. And truth. And beauty, in all its forms. Beauty is a function of love, and love is a function of truth.

Why did I walk the Camino? Maybe it was to do this blog.

So that one day you too might walk the Camino…

Thank you to everyone who’s followed this blog. In a month I’ve had in excess of 35,000 page views, which is quite amazing.

I’ll put up a contact page on this site, so that you can get in touch – but my email address is:  pgstheway@gmail.com

I am considering doing an e-book, based on this blog and my photographs. And of course I hope soon to be making the film, PGS.

(We’re looking for money right now, so if you know of any investors who might be interested, please put them in touch with me and I can provide more information. There’s also more info on: http://www.pgsintuitive.com)

This blog helped me through the Camino. It gave me strength and purpose each day. It helped me see things I would have otherwise missed. It helped me consider things I would otherwise have dismissed.

Each day with your comments, you helped pull me up that hill, helped guide me down that mountainside. It was you, really, who gave me the strength.

So until the next Camino, my knee willing…

Bill Bennett – May, 2013

28 thoughts on “Camino Audit #10 – Why I walked the Camino.

  1. Sigh……….It is a contented sigh……….with a tear of appreciation…….and a smile of gratitude….and simply …thank you.
    I am sure…I will hear your footsteps beside me when I go back in August, for that is the lasting impression you have left with me.

    And my final words for you Story Teller (for you are a wonderful story teller)…are the same I shared with you some weeks ago.
    Solvitur ambulando

    Until next time……..

    Abbey

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    • Abbey, you’ve been gorgeous and supportive and yes, you pulled me up hills and guided me down the other side.

      Have a wonderful time in August. I’m sure you will. The Camino you have is the one you take with you in your heart.

      And thank you!

      Bill

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  2. Bill its been fabulous. i will miss your stories and insights . when we next meet i will enjoy going through your favourite pictures with you to understand your criteria . i am off to the Kokoda track again in July …. my 15th time ,,, this time leading recovering wounded soldiers from Afghanistan .. mostly IED blast victims . They are lovely brave guys .
    so i would like to do the same blog thing as you but unfortunately no reception in the Owen Stanleys of New Guinea .!! See ya soon Rusty

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  3. Thank you for a nice blog, I’ve been following it with great interest. You’re 1,5 month ahead of me and I’ve seen your blog as the most up-to-date-news-channel that can be found. Due to my close departure I’ve chosen not to make any comments (yet), I’ll come back with them after my walk.

    Until next time..

    // J

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  4. Bill, as you know, I have been reading your blog every morning when I wake up (in Australia) after the link has magically appeared in my inbox during the night. Your e-mails light up my inbox. Like so many of your ‘followers’, I have walked the Camino with you in spirit. When I read your blog, I heard your voice speaking to me and your thoughts and reflections were carried with me during the day. You have done an awesome job turning your thoughts (hours of solitude and thinking, thinking, thinking) into simple tenets, written in plain English and not too wordy. I appreciate that this process has probably been more difficult than it may appear to the reader. I have also received a free lesson in photographic composition, which was unexpected. I am being flippant when I say that I am pleased that animals feature strongly in your top 10 photos as I requested more animal photos very early on in your journey. It has been a ‘journey’, hasn’t it? I have strongly urged Rusty to walk the Kokoda Track (again!) for many reasons, but partly to simply slow down and take life just one step after the other for a short time – although there will be the added inspiration of our returned servicemen if he goes this July with Mates for Mates. You have played no small part in my desire for him to go. Whilst the Kokoda Track does not match the Camino with respect to history etc, I know that many people have found walking the Kokoda Track a life-changing experience and a pilgrimage of sorts. Rusty may not have access to WIFI but he will have a paper and a pen so he can write his ‘blog’ the old fashioned way! Ha ha. We are very much looking forward to dinner with you next time you are in Brisbane – yes, hopefully soon! AND, I have already told Rusty that we will be walking the Camino together on or before my 50th birthday! Dx PS To all the followers – I have enjoyed reading your comments enormously as well. Steve and Jill, I hope YOUR Camino gives you the answers that you are looking for. Abbey, I like the way you think.

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    • Dear Donna – ahhh, you know how hard it is to write simply, yet with resonance! Sometimes I would rewrite the blog half a dozen times before I was happy with it. Other times I would just be thankful at the end of a long walk to have the time to dump down anything!

      It would be terrific for Rusty to do the Kokoda with those blokes. And yes, Kokoda is a pilgrimage too. A very important one, for Australians in particular.

      I loved some of those dog shots. I tried to get some interesting pics with cows too but was never entirely happy with what I shot.

      And as for composition. – haha, that’s just such a personal thing. I just “feel” a shot. And in the end, like with anything, a good photo takes itself. I just press the shutter release.

      Looking forward to catching up with you both, and discussing the pros and cons of Asolo boots!

      Bill

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    • Thanks from Jill and Steve. Will be a great experience for us. Bill, follow Jill at boomerinbloom.wordpress.com.

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  5. Good Morning Bill, that inbox lid up again during the night and I knew it was your last segment and for a while I delayed reading it… but journeys end and new ones begin, time does not stand still. I will miss my morning read with my tea, it has been a privilege to be a spiritual hitchhiker. I read a few blogs each day, rarely comment and if, rather sporadically. However,so much of what you experienced and wrote about, were echoes in my mind and a challenge to stay quiet. Am I going to miss your daily musings, heck yes! I also know, you will be back… and your knee might not even be the deciding factor. Camino callings are so powerful…. there are people who choose to walk the Camino…. but sometimes, if you are very very lucky… the Camino chooses you. Bill, the Camino chose you. We both have been blessed. Safe journey home!

    Ingrid, a pilgrim friend and fellow story teller.

    P.S. Camino Gifts of Friendship, is a “closed group” I created once I returned home. In the beginning it was only pilgrims I had met and spend time with, they little by little found me and we have been keeping in touch. Once in a while I add pilgrims who I have not met in person, but feel a great connection with. You would be in great company, so I hope, the yellow arrows will guide you there as well. 🙂

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    • Dear Ingrid – that’s a really interesting thought; that the Camino chooses you. When I think about that, a whole lot of things start to fall into place.

      Thank you.

      You’ve been so encouraging and inspiring to me Ingrid during this whole crazy experience. I can’t thank you enough for your support.

      Through the blog I tried to make sense of what I did day to day – and when I discovered that people other than my mother and her next door neighbour were following what I was doing – that there were people other than blood relations out there (such as yourself) who were reading it seriously, then the blog became something very important to me. And as I said, on one level too it helped me get through each day.

      But the big kicker for me came when I realised that the blog was starting to resonate with some people. That’s when it really became important to me.

      If you’d like to consider me for the Camino Gifts of Friendship, I’d be delighted and honoured. Thank you!

      And again, thank you for sharing the journey with me.

      Bill

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  6. Thank you so much for your blog. I am keeping today’s pix on my home screen as I plan/dream about a camino next year to mark my 69th birthday and the beginning of my seventh decade. Going to go Very Slow and probably start at Astorga.

    Mary Clarke, Maryland USA

    Sent from my iPhone

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    • Dear Mary – I have three words for you:

      Go for it!!

      I remember seeing Joan, aged 72 (wife of Bob), handling those hills and mountains like a giselle. She was amazing. You can do it. And you might be surprised how fast you end up going!

      (By the way, Astorga is a great place to start. See if you can have a few days there before you start walking. It was one of the very special places on the Camino for me. It’s a truly beautiful little town.)

      Bill

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  7. Bill, I will miss your well tended blog. It has helped me put my kit together for my Camino start later on in August… Best wishes for you as you continue your pilgrimage!

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    • That’s great Peter. I figured that it was worthwhile putting in that level of detail on the gear. Now thinking back over what I carried, I would probably ditch one of my phones. I had a iPhone, a Nokia, and an iPad.

      I used the Nokia to accept incoming calls. It has better reception than the iPhone, and the battery lasts longer. However I found the wireless reception in Spain (on Vodaphone at least) was very good pretty much everywhere, except for Foncebadon up in the mountains.

      On the walk in to Pamplona, on the outskirts of the city on the right hand side as you walk in, there’s a little Vodaphone shop. That’s where I got my SIM cards. It kept me connected then for the rest of my walk.

      Good luck with it – hope it all goes well!

      Bill

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  8. Bill, thank you so much!! You have inspired me through your writing, showed me great beauty in your pictures and helped me prepare for my pilgrimage!!

    Some people think I have really lost it because I want to walk 500 miles with two outfits and sleep in a room with strangers….I just smile!! I know it won’t be easy, raising four children wasn’t either but, putting one foot in front of the other and facing whatever comes with the day is The Way!! You have showed me I can do this and have taken much of the fear away for me.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
    Debbie

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    • Debbie, believe me, raising four children is harder than the Camino!!

      I think the Camino you have depends so much on how you approach it. If you believe you’re going to have a good time, then you will.

      But this concept of just putting one foot in front of the other got me through some hard stretches.

      So yes, you CAN do it. Definitely. Not only that, but you will have an extraordinary time. And your memories will stay with you the rest of your life.

      (And no, you can’t explain it to anyone!) Good luck, and let me know how you go.

      Bill

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  9. Thanks for the journey, Bill!

    Know that your writing in this blog has helped calm, focus, prepare and reassure at least one pilgrim – my daughter Jess, who as you know is currently headed into the meseta. She has followed and listened and internalized many of the things you wrote about here — not letting fear take control, trusting your PGS, one step at a time gets the job done, embracing the moment, etc. – and it has made all the difference for her (and even for us back home). She’s having a wonderful, joyous time. So I thank you for that too.

    I’ll be looking for the ebook and the PGS film, and wish you a safe journey back home.

    Jim in Kentucky

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    • Hi Jim – I’m sure your daughter is having a ball. And glad that the blog help allay some anxieties. Fingers crossed she has good weather.

      Let me know how she goes.

      Bill

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  10. Fitting finale to a superb blog Bill: I have enjoyed following you across Spain. Good luck with your film venture in particular and life in general.

    Keep applying the ointment!! 🙂

    Sean.

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    • Ha ha – thanks Sean! Damn knee. Still not better yet. But, it got me through it, and I have to be thankful for that.

      And thank you too for the well wishes. And the kind words on the blog. Very sweet of you…

      Bill

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  11. Good luck and thank you for taking the time to write this blog. I will love to see your film someday and I will keep my eyes open for investors. Take care

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    • Thanks Ariam.

      I’m looking forward to making the film too. Fascinated by the subject of intuition. Want to learn more!

      And thank you too for being a loyal supporter of the blog. Very much appreciated!

      Bill

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  12. Good morning Bill, from my breakfast table yet again. ( no kangaroos at the back gate today)
    I too have delayed in posting as I wanted to absorb much of what you have written and reflect on many elements. You have guided us through and shared many personal moments, deep emotions, everyday activities and quirky twists. I am beginning to realize the WHY of walking the Camino may never be fully answered. You have attemped to verbalise the answer but I feel that there is much more to say. Waiting for the book!
    When asked what I am doing I respond with “just going for a walk” ( quite a long one) Why am I flying out alone in September? I’m not sure and I don’t know if I’ll ever have an answer. You have helped me to accept that the answer is not that important; the experience, the lessons, the people, the gratitude, the spirit, the simplicity, the trust, the joy and the sorrow – they are what is important.
    Bill, again I attempt to express my gratitude to you. You have touched the lives of many, in ways you may never realise. Thankyou.
    Blessings.
    Anne

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    • Thank you Anne for writing these very kind, and wise, words. It’s amazing to think that by documenting what I went through, the highs and lows, with frankness and sometimes humour, that others might have got something from it. That wasn’t my intent. If anything, my intent was to use the writings and photos to help ME understand what I was going through. Not to proselytise.

      All I can say in reference to your coming trip, and your walk, is that you will be bowled over by the beauty – of the land, the Spanish people, the hospitaleros, the other pilgrims, and by the act of doing what you’re doing. Walking across a country in pilgrimage.

      Bill

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  13. I have followed your blog with great interrest. I am now walking the camino,and by your stories and photoes I could try to imagine what was ahead og me.thanks

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    • Hi Hilde,

      Thank you, but what’s ahead of you is WAY better than whatever I could have photographed!

      I hope you’re having a great time.

      Bill

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