Post Camino #17 – …don’t let the bed bugs bite.

One of the things that terrified me about the Camino before I left home was bed bugs.

I read forum posts, I read blogs, I saw Google images of infected bites, I saw truly disgusting YouTube videos, and I have to say, the thought of bed bugs freaked me out.

The creepy little critters.

I read that the worst time for bed bugs on the Camino was late summer and fall, and perhaps that was one of the reasons why I suddenly decided to walk in the spring.

I did not want beg bugs crawling over me in the night, in my sleeping bag, feasting on my flesh. Disgusting. 

But, bed bugs have been known to feast in April/May too, and I knew as I set off from St. Jean Pied de Port that there was every chance I would have a bed bug encounter.

One of the things with bed bugs is that if you get bitten, you don’t want to carry them from albergue to albergue. So you have to go through an elaborate procedure to rid them from your clothing, your sleeping bag and your pack.

It takes hours of washing and drying, and the thought of hanging around, washing all my belongings and waiting for them to dry, bothered me more than getting bitten.

I’d considered bringing along an anti bed bug mat to put on my mattress, and I considered various sprays to douse my bedding – but in the end, I decided not to worry.

I’d decided from the outset that I would not walk the Camino in fear. Because I believe that you attract what you fear the most. 

If you fear bed bugs, then you’ll get bed bugs. That’s what I believe. If you fear rain, you’ll get rain. This might sound weird, but I do believe that you can carry your weather with you, in your thoughts. I say that metaphorically.

I consciously excluded bed bugs from my thinking, and I never had an issue with them.

But while I didn’t fear bed bugs, I feared my dodgy knee would act up.

And it did. Big time. It nearly derailed my Camino.

I feared the walk up to O Cebreiro and because of my anxiety, I couldn’t sleep the night before. Consequently, I did the climb exhausted from lack of sleep, and it was hard. But I’d made it hard for myself because of my fear.

You attract what you fear the most. 

I heard of some other pilgrims on my walk who got bitten by bed bugs. I didn’t. Maybe I was lucky, or maybe through my thinking I didn’t attract them. I don’t know.

But we don’t realise how powerful our thoughts can be.

Our thoughts are as powerful as our actions.


14 thoughts on “Post Camino #17 – …don’t let the bed bugs bite.

  1. Hello Bill,

    I can’t access this post from your site. Am dying to hear what you said about bedbugs! Before the Camino, I too was worried, but after a few bites – what the heck. It all seems so dreadful from our comfortable lounge rooms, but life on the Camino is another matter – it puts everything in perspective. And I strongly suspect that I got them at one of the 3 star hotels in a major city, not from a refugio. But one can never be sure so very difficult to make such claims.

    I have appreciated your post-camino thoughts. It is such a life-changing experience, but perhaps we seek something like the Camino when we are ready for such changes.

    With best wishes


    Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2013 20:21:46 +0000 To:


      • Yes, thank you Bill. Glad you didn’t get any bites. I too feared the rain, but by the time we got to Galacia, I had gotten used to it.


        • Hi Kay, in saying that you take your weather with you, what I’m saying is that it’s your attitude to weather that’s important. It can be raining, but you can barely notice it, or you can revel in it, if you dial that into your thinking.



  2. Sheesh we didn’t even think about bedbugs and got eaten alive!!!! I reprimanded myself for not preparing thoroughly enough, but gave thanks that we were indeed still alive! Next camino I will carry sunny days an bedbug absence and see if it works. I will also carry a raincoat;-)


  3. Hi Bill – another insightful post – thanks so much. Your recent posts about small and big changes have really made me sit up and take notice. An example … I’m acting on making a small change which we can all do really easily – picking up litter. Your discussion on this in previous posts, and those on the forum recently, have been a tap on the shoulder from the Universe for me – and I’m now picking up any litter I see – I’m ashamed to say that I chose ‘not to notice’ litter previously. A small change from a lot of people can start to make a bigger change. Remember our ‘Do The Right Thing’ ad campaign in Australia all those decades ago? … It really did make a difference.
    A question, how are you handling your dodgy knee now and what can you do about it to repair it? You mentioned in a previous post that you would strengthen the muscles so the knee was better supported. Are you working with a physio? As one who returned from my Camino last year with an injured leg which still gives me discomfort, and for the information of fellow followers of your blog who also have, or have had, injuries, I’d be really interested to hear how you’re working on your leg to fix the problem. Cheers Bill! JennyH


    • Hi Jenny – yes, good on you. If everyone picks up even just one or two bits of litter each day, the Camino will be cleaned up really fast.

      I must admit it amazed me how someone walking the Camino could throw a plastic bottle onto the track, or candy wrappers. How can they walk a pilgrimage and be so unthinking? That staggered me. I just could never understand that mindset, or the disconnect. Would they flagrantly throw their litter onto the floor of a church? Probably not. So then why do it on the Camino?

      Anyway …

      Knees. Hmmm – I’ve been back about five weeks now and I still can’t stand without my knee giving me real pain. I haven’t been able to do any distance walking since returning, it’s so painful.

      I hate going to doctors – but I might just have to go back to my doctor who specialises in knee injuries for sports people. He treats Test footballers etc. Last time he said I should get onto a rowing machine, and strengthen my legs that way. That would help my knee. Which is what I did, and my knee did improve. Then come Roncesvalles…

      What is more the worry for me though is that I have lost sensitivity in the ball of my left foot. I’m numb through all my toes, except for my big toe, and this numbness is creeping back through my foot.

      It seems to be getting worse.

      I’ve had problems with my sciatic nerve in that leg, and I’m not sure if that’s the cause. I’ve had no pain in my spine, or anything like that. I thought, after the Camino, that the numbness was just due to the constant pounding of foot in boot, and with time it would improve. But it hasn’t. As I say, it seems to be getting worse.

      Nerve issues aren’t to be messed with, so I’m overcoming my antipathy of doctors and seeing someone next week. (This is the leg that gave me bad shin-soreness, so perhaps it’s somehow connected with that. Hopefully I’ll find out next week.)

      Given this, and my crook knee – would I walk the Camino again if I knew I was going to have these medical issues at the end of it all?

      As we say in this country – bloody oath mate.



      • Hi Bill –
        Thanks so much for your thoughts on litter – especially the Camino example. So true!
        Knee and foot – maybe an MRI will show exactly what the problem is. If you’ve got an accurate, up to date, picture, your specialist can then give you a tailored rehab program. My leg discomfort has just been way too slow to heal (I’m possibly still on ‘Patience 101’ though!) so I’m seeing a Sports Physician too and the first thing he’s recommended is an up-to-date MRI. Once he sees where I’m at he’s going to give me an exercise programme to follow, with a view to returning to the Camino in the medium term. How lucky are we that we have access to such fantastic care from people who want to help us achieve our goals! Good luck with your rehab – keep us all posted. AND GO FOR GOLD in your training with your next Camino Bill! Cheers, Jenny


        • Hi Jenny, you make me laugh!

          Yes, I’m going for gold! My knee is slowly on the improve. I’m looking forward to walking again.

          I just love it.



  4. Hi Bill – cheers for the laughter! ‘Us Aussies’ with our collective larrikin sense of humour, can always find something to have a laugh about in any situation. It’s great that your knee is slowly on the improve, and you will get to the reasons behind your foot problems too. There’s a solution for every problem – and you’re working on it – so Buen Rehab Bill! Best Regs – Jenny


    • Yep, humour is so so important. And laughing. Particularly at ourselves!

      I’ll let you know, or at least I’ll post on this blog, the results of the check up with the doctor. Strange, this numbness in my left foot. That’s worrying me more than the damn knee.



      • Cheers Bill – I’ll be interested to hear how it all works out, as all your followers will be. All the best for a good result. Best Regs – Jenny


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