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.
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.
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…
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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