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.