Post Camino PC #1 – Little Things

Two little things happened today, that tell me something has shifted.

And perhaps, for good.

I wanted to get an ice-cream. A gelato. Lemon and chocolate in a cone. My favourite.

I'm in a small town in northern Portugal – Braga – famous for its extraordinary church a few kms out of town, the Bom do Jesus.

But this morning I was in town, and so I went up to this ice cream stand. The lass serving was talking to a customer, who'd already got her cone and was now gas-bagging.

She went on and on and on and on.

She could see I was waiting, but still she went on and on and on and on.

The lass serving also knew that I was waiting, and wanted to extricate herself from the conversation but didn't want to be rude.

Pre-Camino, I would have done either one of two things: I would have glared at the gas-bagger and said in a loudish voice – Hey, send her a text!

Or I would have cleared my throat and said to the serving lass in an ever-so polite voice: Excuse me miss? I am just dying for one of your delicious ice creams. Would you mind serving me when you're done there?

Or words to that effect.

Post-Camino, I was patient. And I started to examine the situation. The lass serving was obviously anxious to do her job and attend to me, and yet she didn't wish to offend her friend.

This I felt was an admirable trait in her.

And I started to think that it's moments like these that define people. It's the little moments. Her allowing the conversation to come to a natural conclusion said heaps about her, and me not losing it said heaps about the Camino!

When the serving lass finally turned to me, she had a big apologetic smile, and she gave me huge scoops of lemon and chocolate, in my mind, to compensate the waiting time, and to thank me for being patient.


Pre-Camino, I was impatient. Everything had to be done NOW. I hated waiting for anything. I'd stamp my foot and purse my lips. And sometimes I'd even frown, sternly.

But the Camino teaches you patience.

There's no status on the Camino. No Platinum Frequent Walkers Card that gets you to a bunk in front of anyone else. No Personal Assistants to do your chores, so that you, the Exalted One, the Important One, has free time to change the course of The World.

Meals come when they're served. Your washing, that YOU do, takes so long to dry. If an albergue doesn't open its doors until 2pm, then you wait. In line. Like everyone else.

So today, I waited.

And I felt good about that.

The second thing that happened today was – I went out to do some grocery shopping for dinner. I walked about 2kms to the supermarket. While I was there, I reached into my bag for my iPad, and I couldn't find it.

I always carry my iPad with me.

I thought back, and tried to remember when I last had it. It HAD to be in my hotel room. So I slowly, and without any panic or sense of dread, walked back to the hotel.

(My knee is still cactus by the way.)

I calmly opened up the door to the room, and looked around. No iPad. Still, I didn't panic. There's no such thing as loss in the Universe, I said to myself.

I took another look around the room, and there it was, on the window shelf. I'd left it there while drying my undies, which weigh 75 gms by the way.

Pre-Camino, I would have rushed back to the room in a panic.

Post-Camino, I couldn't care less.

So I lose my iPad – so what?

These are just two little things that happened to me today, which tell me that there are big changes happening under the hood.


(Pic below is of Bom do Jesus, Braga, Portugal.)


28 thoughts on “Post Camino PC #1 – Little Things

  1. Change is good! So glad your still blogging. I’m not ready for the change of your not blogging. That change would not be quite as good πŸ™‚


      • Bill. I may be posting this in the wrong place but just wanted to compliment you on the blog, no on the Camino, no on your insights. I have been guilty of the same impatience you have and look forward to learning that not much is important in this world, and none of it deals with tangible things. I am working on it, and following you has meant so much to me. Safe travels home. Vaya con dios.


        • Thank you Steve – very sweet of you to say.

          Give it another 4 wks or so and you and Jill will be the same, although it appears you’re already well on the way!



  2. Are those STAIRS that zig zag all the way to the cathedral? Good PRE Camino training Ha! My husbamd and I don’t leave for the Camino for another 83 days. We have really enjoyed your journey. Am glad you are still blogging. Can’t wait to read your posts. My feet, knees and hips are so good but I know I’ll get through the Camino.Lynda and Dale


    • Hi Lynda, they sure are stairs. And that’s not all of them There’s another whole huge set behind where I took that shot. You can tho get a cable car up and back if you’re not in Camino training mode!

      Thanks for saying those nice things about the blog. You’re counting down your Camino by the days now, yes? You must be getting excited.



  3. Excellento you’re back!! I just checked the site. Woo Hoo. We leave tonight for Madrid and then to Irun for San Adrians Tunnel route – unless we get distracted by Spain in general.


    • Fabulous Jill – have a great trip. And I think if you “follow” the blog, then you’ll get automatic notification of a new post.

      Going that way will be wonderful! Have fun!



  4. Hi Bill. Your comment about your ipad reminded me of a similar thing happening to me in Tokyo where I lost my ipad in a shop…feel out of my bag. At first panicked but then relaxed about it. However it was not because of patience like you, it was because of trust in the Japanese people. They are very honest people and I knew if someone found it they would take to the police. In Australia it would be gone 80% of the time.
    Take care for the rest of your travels. I am off to Bali and Lombok in 3 days to be with my wife.


  5. Bill, welcome to the land of Serenity… where those annoying little things really don’t matter. How appropriate for me to read your blog entry tonight…. almost like a little wagging finger, because for the first time since coming home, I blew my stack. It took 7.5 months for me to loose my cool, over a stupid computer issue. Hmm, do you think you “loosing” your iPad and not panicking, somehow got transferred to me… πŸ˜‰ Well, I think I am going for a walk tomorrow to re-capture my serenity.


    Beautiful pic!


  6. Haha – easy to do, to get mad over little things. I just say over and over – Bill, you’re a pilgrim, remember?!

    Sorry for the karma transfer!



  7. πŸ™‚

    This is The Big Stuff, not the little things …

    It irrevocably changes one’s perception of both time and space, to the extent that it’s almost as if one has stepped into a completely different universe.

    This has some negative consequences — which are mainly social, because people can become frustrated with one’s post-Camino change in perception, but these are of little importance compared to the shape of time and space that one brings back from the Way.


  8. Hi Bill,
    These letters after your Camino are the lessons for us who are not yet out of the rat race! Ah, how many people would need their own Camino? I am the first! Thank you.


    • No worries Margit.

      Walking a long distance becomes meditative. Things arise in your thinking once you enter that state.

      The trick then is to later integrate it into your “real” world!



  9. Hi Bill,

    Still enjoying your blog, but from the Camino now! My wife & I left SJPP on Monday and things have been going great until today, when we were hit with blowing cold rain and a muddy trail. Maybe I need some of that patience.

    My undies weigh 2.125 ounces, BTW.



  10. Hi Bill. Again, your post hits the spot. Very tough week for me this week- mainly work issues. Last night I really needed to take a step back and reflect, rather than say or do what was on my mind. I was mad at a few choices made by others. BUT…I thought of you and this post and what really matters. It’s all about the choices we make. The choice I made- go and help out at the youth rally at our church, see a group of young kids having a great time in the name of faith and then come home in a much better frame of mind.
    Oh and then, the sweetest of all- a huge win over Collingwood.
    Bill, I feel the Camino is already working in me and it’s another 17 weeks until I leave. Your words and experiences have reached way beyond what you may have imagined. Thankyou.


    • Dear Anne – we can only control OUR choices, as you know. But sometimes it’s hard having to deal with the consequences of other people’s choices.

      Just take a deep breath and think of the Meseta!

      17 weeks will go very quickly!

      Yes, huge win over Collingwood. Typical Swannies. They’re always patchy at the start of the season. What was with that DRAW?



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