PC #48 – What does the Camino mean to you?

I'm going to do something different for this blog –

I'm going to ask you to post what the Camino means to you.

Whether you've walked it or not.

In your own words.

Be as brief or as verbose as you want. It's your blog.

Feel free to comment on others' posts. Let's get a discussion going here…

For me? What it means is Sacred Transformation. An opportunity to recalibrate my divine DNA.

Let the discussion begin!


 

45 thoughts on “PC #48 – What does the Camino mean to you?

  1. I am still a couple of months away from my first Camino, but I feel that I am immersing myself into a river of humanity that has coursed for thousands of years.

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    • I think you’re right Alex – and if you’re feeling this way now, then you will have an amazing Camino!

      They say your Camino starts when you make the decision to go. You are already on your journey.

      Bill

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  2. For me, The Camino was and is a vehicle to allow me time away from my day to day life, as well as time for reflection.

    It allows me time to get to know Arlene, it revealed to me the wonder of my life. The Camino gave me time to ponder the wonder of this old pilgrimage where so many before have trodden. It showed me how life can be so simple, that is if we allow it to be.

    But most importantly it taught me, God walks beside me with every step I take. I am never alone, not while on Camino or back at home.

    Arlene

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    • PS I forgot to mention – I walked the Camino Frances last year beginning in September. I will once again walk the Frances beginning September 15th, 2013

      Arlene

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  3. I thought I was being unrealistic to think I should even try to walk the Camino. I was concerned that the long plane trip would be enough to exhaust me. Yet here I am back home in western Canada with utter amazement at what I’ve done.
    Not only did I survive the plane trip to Madrid , the train to Pamplona , I took a taxi (!) to SJPP when told the bus was not running that day.
    At age 72 I still have much to learn . What I brought home with from this amazing adventure : (1) don’t be so timid to challenge myself.
    (2) do the very best preparation I can and just do it.
    (3) I loved being there and have the warmest memories of people I met .
    (4) even a well used human body can carry a back pack , climb to the top bunk in an Albergue , a d walk up und down hills.
    (5) bring my Guardians Angels with be always . I needed at least 2. One to push and the other to pull on the steep paths .
    (6) God is there for me .
    There is lots more of course….
    Thank you for this forum .

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  4. I am not sure what it means to me. My husband and I watched “The Way” back In November and both knew we had to do the walk. We are not very religious but ther is just this calling that we both have. We are moving out of our apt this weekend and leave in 27 days. I feel like maybe some enlightenment may happen or maybe just time for my husband and I to be together w/o the grind of our worklife here or if nothing else a great expierence with people from all over the world doing the same thing we are.

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  5. Dear Bill, remember me? It’s me, Sigrid from Austria! We first met in O Cebreiro and then in Samos (joined the “star wars” mass together, passed the 100 km marker together… and lost contact shortly before Ponferrada!
    I’ve been reading your blog every single day, never commenting but enjoying it extremely! I am not sure if you still remember: but when we met, I did my second camino starting from Sevilla, walking all the Via de la Plata up to Astorga, joining the Camino Frances! It was a great experience for me, but the one I wanted to tell you about was my first camino, starting September 1st, 2012 in St.Jean Pied de Port: I then was 41 years old, together with my husband for 22 years, my daughter has just turned 19 and finished highschool, I have been teaching for 17 years … and for the first time in my life(!!!) I wanted to do something on my own… (it took me 12 years to finally dare leaving and follow my dream and walk the camino)
    I wanted to walk at my pace, stay wherever I decide it’s beautiful, find my inner me, learn to listen to my inner voice again, finding out what I want to do with the rest of my life,… teaching or changing career??? losing some stupid guilt feelings I’ve been caring with me all my life,…so: lots of questions and plans! But the most important thing for me then was: being on my own, having time only for myself, not always caring for the others… that was the aim… and I didn’t even think about meeting other pilgrims: I wanted it to be “the way” just for me! … and it turned out to be completely different!
    One thing I learned: the camino gives you what you need! I met the most wonderful people, (even a soul mate) holding “mirrors” in front of me! For me, the other pilgrims made my “first” camino! Just by meeting them, talking to them, walking with them, lauging and crying together, being silent… I learnt so much about myself and thank to them I got to know: joy, laughter, friendship, caring, luck, pure happyness …
    Of course I also experienced a little pain (to be honest: terrible pain caused by infected blisters!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ but it was so worth it!!! Going over my physical and mental limits (especially on the Via de la Plata), the walking itself (alone or with other pilgrims) was such a great meditation for me and dissolved old patterns!
    I would answer your question “What does the camino mean to you?” the following:
    The camino taught me:
    *enjoy life now and try to live in the moment
    *there is no need to hurry… life is not a race (one pilgrim once said to me: “a snail can tell you more about the road than a rabbit)
    *lean back and enjoy life… I don’t always need to be in control
    *I learnt how wonderful, joyful,…life can be! (another pilgrim once said to me: “I love the camino… I am having a ball!”… and you could tell! :-))
    *I experienced how “easy” life can be: You pack your backbag in the morning, get some water and off you go! …wonderful!
    … and one thing I know for sure now: there are no coincidences in life! Everything is meant to be!

    I had an extremely hard time finding my way back home! But I am so glad and thankful that I had been so privileged to be on the camino! For me, I hope it’s a “bridge” to a better-more aware life!
    … and it has definitely not been my last camino!!!

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    • Hi Sigrid,

      Of COURSE I remember you! My goodness, you are indelible!

      I was amazed at your resilience, coming up from Seville as you did – and swimming streams!

      Thank you for this post, and for the detail. Somehow I knew when we met that you’d come back to the Camino again.

      You just felt so comfortable there…

      I have some photos of you – email me and I’ll send them to you.

      billpgsblog@gmail.com

      Bill

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    • Hi Sigrid, I was born in Austria, in a town called Villach. I know how hard it is to find your way back home. It takes time, it has been over 8 months for me, and I still walk it every night, what wonderful dreams, so I don’t mind. Gruess Gott und bleib net leise, schreib noch oefters. Ingrid

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      • hallo ingrid, ich bin aus lienz/osttirol… da waren wir ja beinahe nachbarn!!! ๐Ÿ˜„
        wo lebst du jetzt?
        bist du hin und wieder in deiner alten heimat???

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      • Hallo Siegrid, ja, nur um die Kurve, :-), nicht so oft, beide Eltern sind verstorben, hab keinen Schluessel mehr in Villach. Ich lebe schon seit 1973 in Kanada. Ingrid

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  6. My Camino was being at peace with myself and the world. I can’t wait to go back and finish.

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  7. Oh, rats! I just lost six paragraphs! Guess I was not meant to be that verbose! I will share just a wee bit. By way of background, I have very seldom traveled alone and never once outside the comfort zone of my own country. My brief Camino has changed that.

    I left St. Jean alone, and did not see a single soul until Hunto where I spent my first night. I probably averaged 1 km an hour maybe less. I stopped to look at anything unfamiliar. Being used to the Arizona desert, that was just about anything that caught my eye. I took lots of photos. I stopped and smelled the flowers, literally. I turned over rocks. I watched animals grazing, and a mother sheep nursing her newborn. The most amazing thing that happened was that I heard birds sing. This doesn’t sound like much unless you are a person with a significant hearing loss. I haven’t heard birds sing since I was eight: Almost 50 years ago. The Camino was so quiet, so peaceful, and I was so relaxed that I actually heard the sweet song. It brought tears to my eyes, and I sat on a rock and listened for the longest time. It was a miraculous time for me, and the Camino became the most magical place. I knew that the walk from St. Jean to Hunto had given me the foundation for the rest of my Camino. I was safe, in a magical place, and my pace was to be that of a snail rather than a turtle. The feeling was transforming.

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    • Julie,

      So many miracles happen on the Camino. You reflection on the birdsong was one of those miracles. The Camino is a wonderful, spritual place and all we need for a miracle to come to us is to be open.

      I’m intrigued – where in the Arizona desert are you? I live in Tucson.

      Buen Camino and thank you for sharing your experience with us.

      Arlene

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      • Hi Arlene: I lived for 16 years in the Phoenix area. Eighteen months ago, I moved to Prescott for retirement. I love this little community! I also love Tucson. Although I never lived there I was fortunate enough to travel to Tucson regularly with my job. Julie

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    • Julie, What a great way to approach the Camino. I would like to do it the same way next time. I did not think I was in a hurry, but in reflection, I was, and I was tuned to that guide book as well. I would take it again for the information, but not for the schedule. Steve

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      • Steve,

        I think being tied to a schedule on the Camino is the biggest mistake anyone can make. First let me say I did just that!

        So many of us believe we must follow the Brierley stages, you are so correct in saying you would take the book again for information and not the schedule. That is precisely what I plan to be doing this September. There were too many things I never saw and only realized that when I was home and reading the guide book once again.

        Arlene

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          • I set my return flight for 7 weeks after I begin. But that doesn’t concern me because flights can always be changed.
            Arlene

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          • You are giving yourself 49 days. If you do the guidebook average of 15 miles per day you can make it in 33 days. If you dropped that average to 12 miles per day that would be 42 days, not counting any rest days or travel days. All depends on how much you want to meander and stop and smell the roses and not get too tired.

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          • Steve, I’m beginning in Logrono and plan on walking to Finisterre and then Muxia also.
            Arlene

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      • Thank you Steve, for saying that. Ive always planned to go with an open return, (its the way I always travel), but I’ve never heard anyone mention it until now.

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        • Sister,

          I do not know if this applies to other than US Citizens or even if it still applies to the US. But I was told that one can only stay in Spain for 3 months without applying for a Visa and that is why a return ticket or a ticket to another country is required.

          Now my ticket is with United Airlines both this year and last, so maybe that is a United prerequisite(round trip tickets) , I’m not sure of the policy today but I would check it out first before you go on Camino.

          Arlene

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          • Thanks for this Arlene. I’ll certainly check it out. I went to Korea on an open end within a three month time frame, so perhaps there is an alternative like that. Or, I could apply for the visa!

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      • Hey Steve: I had Brierly with me but used it for directions, and for recording my thoughts along the Way. I also had notes I keep from reviewing various forums about things not to miss along the Way. I did not intend to stick to its stages. I was a bit distraught when the heavy rain outside Orisson about ruined it (my fault for not having it in a plastic bag). But I dried it out, and will take it along when I finish my Camino, hopefully next Spring! In other words, it’s a keeper even for the snail!

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        • Julie, It provided envaluable information to me, and I referred to it constantly, but next time will not pay any attention to the suggested stages. You should see mine. It is torn, tattered and taped. I kept it in a pants pocket and pulled it out and tucked it inside my rain jacket when it rained. But the same one will go with me next time.

          Steve

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  8. Hello everyone
    Having not walked yet, I sometimes feel like an imposter or voyeur listening wide-eyed and deeply enthralled at the well-worn, blistered feet of the achieved. However as I prepare for my CF walk in May 2014, I am so appreciative of all your knowledge and reflections on a deeply personal journey that has enriched not only your lives but rippled glory’s across the cyberverse.
    I have said before that my journey started when I announced to the world to make this wonderous dream a reality and begin the preparing, as is my way- which for me was August 2012. Each week I go for a long walk and trial equipment; experiment with water bottle placement; one pair of socks or two; one stick, two sticks; long pants and short. I am looking forward to the assault on mind, body and spirit as step by step I travel across Spain.
    To me the Camino is at first an adventure but I am open to the oncoming enlightenment of me.
    Bring it on!
    Michelle.

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  9. Bill, I wasn’t going to reply to this, but I started to think, well why do I want to go so badly.The Camino has been tugging at me for a long time through books and films. I’ve always known I’m meant to do this. At the top of my list is this:This may be the last trip I am able to take, after a life of extensive travel. If its going to be the last one, I want it to count, to be meaningful.I want to spend the time with God, immersed in the history, and enjoying the company of pilgrims past and present. I want to feel the history and the ancient spirit presence of the Way. I don’t think I can be closer to God than I am now, feeling His Presence in every moment, but I do love His company, so I’ll cherish the Camino as a special time between us.

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    • Sister,

      Thank you for posting this.

      Your Camino, when you do it, will be a very sacred / holy time for you. And you will touch many on your way.

      Bill

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    • Hi Sister! YES, I feel that with my fragile body, that I never know if I will visit a place ever again. I feel so compelled to do something that is meaningful…walking with God for a time. Bill, I love your idea of resetting your spirituality. That is exactly what I am hoping to do. I believe that has already started in me and I haven’t left yet! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Sister, you will cherish every second. That energy of past and present is powerful – non stop. Hoping you will be able to go next year, who knows, you might stop at an albergue I might serve. Ingrid

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  10. I think I first wanted to walk the Camino because I saw it as a physical and mental challenge. I also saw it as a time to enjoy my wife whom I had been separated from for 10 months. It was not about being committed to the Camino or about seeking spirituality or religion along the way, but should those things come to me, I think I was completely open to it. I have said before that I went without expectation. I just wanted to let it unfold. Where being with my Jill is concerned, I enjoyed every minute of it and regretted that her foot problems required that she quit halfway through. I think we had a great time. I considered quitting a few times the first couple of weeks because I did not have a commitment that would support continuing to walk in the rain and cold day after day. Having said that, we did walk in the rain and cold day after day as did many others, and I think it was about just one more step and one more day. When Jill had to leave and I returned to the Camino alone, many reading my blog thought a transformation came over me. Perhaps it did and my insight was not clear enough to see that. It was a grand experience and I loved being one with all of the other pilgrims along the way both before and after Jill left. It was an adventure of epic proportion for me and one that I will forever cherish and most likely repeat. I think I will walk the Frances again because there is so much that I missed along the way. I will walk it slower and I will delve more into the history I am passing. I will again walk without expectation and be grateful for all that is revealed. However, I might expect my feet to be sore this time. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  11. For me the Camino means the EXPANSION OF JOY in my life.
    To plan and then to walk part of the Camino was so joyful and exciting, and to have the friendship of my Camino pilgrim group and all the pilgrims we met (one who Bhasma knows who was so special to us all – a beautiful soul from the US who walked from Roncesvalles in memory of her husband who had passed away too young from cancer in 2011) was equally joyful and profoundly moving.
    My family and friends will all tell you that I am happiest when I am either talking about the Camino, involved in a Camino project (I have a Camino-inspired mandala that I am currently painting), or reading ‘anything’ Camino. The fact that I have the privilege and opportunity to participate in the PGS blog and Forum, and Ivar’s Forum also, has been a huge expansion in my already blessed life. This is what the Camino means to me – Jenny.
    PS I have to say that everyone’s comments on this topic are simply wonderful – thank you.

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  12. I might have mentioned before, so if I did, my apologies. I hope to return to the Camino next year, 3months, the possible allotted visa free time for Canadians as well. There are portions I need to go back to, simply to full fill a need to ‘walk’ it. I was not able to do that, at times last Fall. I also fell in love with Galicia. One day, I will tell you why. So I will go back, serve as hospitalera and amiga, for a spell, and walk those ancient steps from Ferrol, Santiago, Fisterra, and Muxia. It will, as it was last year, a homecoming.

    You ask what the Camino means to me: so much and more. An answer to an ancient quest, a walk of charity and gratitude, but most of all, a walk back to myself.

    Ingrid

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  13. Have been out all day, and am off shortly again, so no time to read all of the above, but for me it meant connection and friendship and testing my physical (body) barriers, of which there were many, but none that I could not, as it turned out, overcome ๐Ÿ™‚ And strangely, a very personal lesson, that I could live without breakfast!!

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  14. The Camino… Like so many others, I feel called to walk and have been thinking about it for 10 years. The decision to go was given wings by my wonderful employer, who wholeheartedly supports what I am doing as a form of personal, spiritual renewal. After 40 years of ministry as an educator, for the first time, I am taking time for myself. I am sure I will return renewed and refreshed, spiritually, so I can continue my ministry in Catholic education.
    Already, I can recognise subtle changes in how I see the world and respond to demands and challenges. The Camino is already transforming.
    Thank you to all the faithful followers and contributors to PGS The Way and especially Bill. Without realising it, each of you has contributed to this transformation.
    Blessings
    Anne

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    • Anne,

      It’s great that you have an employer who supports you in this way.

      It seems like you are heading towards having a very transformative Camino!

      Bill

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      • Bill, for the past couple of evenings Iโ€™ve been reading and enjoying your blog along with some great photos. Your way of approaching the Camino by going with the flow has enlightened me. Iโ€™ve been considering walking for over a year now and finally decided to go for it. I, like you am not religious and donโ€™t have a specific reason for walking, I just feel the need to do so. I am a planner when it comes to travel, so for me, going with the flow may be the hardest part for me, asides the physical aspect. But thatโ€™s what I going to try to do as it seems that it will be must less stressful and a more enjoyable journey.

        I plan on walking next year most likely in the fall. I too am not regilious and I don’t have a specific reason for walking other than the challenge of the walk it self

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        • Good on you for making the decision to go!

          You’ll have a great time between now and when you leave, doing the research, reading more blogs etc, and getting your kit together.

          Also, it’s a huge amount of fun just ANTICIPATING the walk, and allowing yourself to get excited. If you’re anything like me, it now takes a lot for me to get excited, but before I walked the Camino, I was like a kid on Christmas Eve.

          It seems like you’ve been bitten by the Camino bug though, and once it’s in your bloodstream, it’s very hard to cure yourself, other than by walking.

          Visit the forum – http://www.pgsthewayforum.com/forum – if you want to ask any questions about gear, stages, or if you want to join in on some of the discussions there that deal with the “head” side of the walk.

          Again, congrats!

          Bill

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