PC #54 – Permanent Changes

It’s nearly 3 months now since I finished my Camino, and I feel confident I can now list some permanent changes as a result of the walk.

I will restrict this list to those “outward” changes that are most obvious, not the inner recalibrations and reshufflings that have occurred as a result of the walk, and are more significant than this following list.

But this list of “little things” indicates greater and deeper change underneath.

  1. I don’t wear glasses anymore – I wore gasses for fifteen years before the Camino.
  2. I don’t do Facebook anymore. – I used to be all over it, every day. I have no interest in, or tolerance for, small talk since coming back.
  3. I don’t buy things anymore, unless I really need them.
  4. I don’t worry as much. Not much bothers me anymore. I’m calmer.
  5. I am slowly and steadily getting rid of things I don’t need.
  6. I don’t collect plastic bags anymore. I used to never throw out a plastic bag, in case I needed it. That habit is now gone.
  7. I don’t shoot with my big professional camera anymore. And I’m thinking of getting rid of it, and replacing it with a small mirrorless system.
  8. I don’t turn on the house alarm at night. I used to do this as a matter of course.
  9. I don’t watch or listen to the news obsessively, as I used to.
  10. I cook more.
  11. I drink more water.
  12. I’ve become frugal.
  13. I don’t shave daily anymore.
  14. I don’t walk anymore. My knee’s buggered.
  15. I’m writing a blog daily, and have created a forum.
  16. I’m writing a book.
  17. I liaise with a nun.

Who’d have thought that a “simple” walk could initiate such change – and I haven’t even begun to talk about the deeper stuff…

59 thoughts on “PC #54 – Permanent Changes

  1. Hi Bill,

    I, too, experienced changes when I returned from the Camino last year.

    The biggest change was I don’t get upset with people and things any more. I accept things for who or what they are. No more space for stressing over things I cannot change.

    Another major change – I stopped spending money on unnecessary items. I don’t shop any longer just for the joy of shopping and having something new. I realized I don’t need very much in the line of clothing as well as the other material trinkets I used to love to have.

    I don’t watch the news every day now either. For that matter I hardly watch television at all anymore.

    I have given many unnecessary things to charity or sold them. Basically, I am simplifying my existence.

    I’m sure there have been more changes but off the cuff, I can’t think of exactly what they are.

    Gosh, now I’m wondering what is going to change after my next Camino?

    Arlene

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    • Hi Arlene –

      what’s interesting is the commonalities, between our changes – for instance:

      No unnecessary shopping. The frugality. And getting rid of things you don’t need – the clutter. Simplifying your life. Not watching the news anymore.

      I haven’t listed the other “internal” things, such as greater tolerance, more forbearance, etc…

      Interesting hey?

      It would be fascinating to start up a thread on the forum and collect other peoples changes, and see what common things there are amongst us.

      Bill

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  2. Bill sorry to hear about your knee BUT what it is with not wearing glasses can you explain?? Les

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    • Can’t explain it Les. It’s just weird. My prescription sunglasses broke during the walk. I got a new pair – just regular sunglasses – and I haven’t worn prescription glasses since.

      There’s a blog here somewhere called I Can See – check that out. But I have no answer for it.

      Bill

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  3. I don’t think I have changed much as a result of the Camino. Many of the changes that you mentioned I had already accomplished, but then I am a lot older than you. I hope this does not sound improper, but I had made a lot of changes in the year leading up to the Camino. Perhaps the Camino reinforced them.

    I. I do still wear glasses, but only if I want to read. Otherwise, I don’t need them, but I wear them so I know where they are.
    2. I let people be whoever they are. I either choose to associate with them or not, but I make no attempt to censure or change them.
    3. I only do facebook when I get an email that someone has commented on or to me. I never read any of the mishmash of other peoples lives.
    4. Outside of the things I bought for the Camino, the only thing I have bought in the last year is 1 pair of Levis and that was just last week.
    5. I try not to worry or concern myself with the future. I am not saying I never think about it, but for the most part, I look forward with anticipation, but without expectation.
    6. I have not routinely listened to the news in years. If it is something spectacular someone will tell me or it will pop up on the internet, and if my name were in it someone would tell me. As long as my name is not in it, then for the most part it is none of my business. Thank goodness my name has not been in it in 30 years.
    7. I still don’t drink enough water and I am trying to work on that.
    8. I only cook the basics.
    9. I am very frugal. See 4. above.
    10. I have not shaved daily in over a year. Remember, they say stubble is sexy :-).
    11. I have not walked or worked out in the gym since returning.but I intend to start back tomorrow.
    12. My diet has been lousy, but I intend to correct that to some degree starting tomorrow also.
    13. I still post on my blog every now and then. I never considered writing a blog until someone told me to check on Bill’s blog two weeks before I left. The rest is history.
    14. I have new friends all over the world.
    15. I not only liaise with a nun from Canada but with a world famous film director from Australia also.
    16. I have never written a book but still wonder if there is one in me.
    17. Most of all, I admire and respect the man who brought us all together, my friend, Bill Bennett.

    Steve

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    • Steve –

      you make me laugh mate!!!

      ๐Ÿ˜€

      And thank you!!

      But hey, what’s happening tomorrow?? Seems like a lot. Exercise and diet? Anything else?

      I woke up late this morning – well, actually I woke up at 5am, wrote my book until 9am, went back to sleep for an hour, now I’m fully refreshed and eager to start the day anew.

      And I’m determined not to let this knee problem get to me. I haven’t exercised since the Camino, because of my gamy foot and gamy knee. But I’m going to put my bike on a stand and do some miles on that, strengthen the leg muscles. And once I’ve got them up to a decent level of strength, I’ll take the bike out on the roads. The roads around Mudgee here are gorgeous.

      If you want to know what Mudgee looks like, check out this website. Done by my niece, Amber, who lives and works in town here –

      http://themudgeeproject.com.au

      I have my big six-oh birthday in less than two weeks now, and that’s going to trigger more changes!

      You’re well ahead of me though on several counts, birthdays not withstanding, the beard too!

      Bill

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      • Bill,

        Tomorrow just seems like a good day to get back to the gym, and maybe even walk again. My hips have been bothering me to the degree that I did not want to walk, but I went to a neuromusculaar massage therapist Saturday and he really made a difference. It makes perfect sense when I think about it. I have been consistently working my body, and especially my legs with weights for 30 years. I have never wanted to take time to stretch. So, over time, the muscles have tightened and shortened, and that extended workout called the Camino made the muscles contract more and caused acute tendenitis. Nice to know. Hopefully I am the right path with it now.

        Stationary bike might be good for you as you will get exercise and more blood circulation which aids healing.

        I saw your niece’s web site and the pics are great. I did not take time to read all of the captions. I had already seen the official Mudgee web site because I wanted to know where you lived. Looks like a very historic and quaint town. So, you and Jen live there, her mother, your niece, etc., etc. I assume. Is that a long time place of residence for one of your families?

        Well, I have a little over an eleven year head start on you and I plan to keep that head start indefinitely. I don’t want it to shorten and you don’t want it to lengthen.

        Steve

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        • Hi Steve –

          Jen was born in Mudgee, and her family has a long association with the town, going back two generations. her mother lives here, and her sister and other family.

          We all get on well together, which is good.

          Jen’s sister lives next door to us, and her mom lives one house over. Jen is over at her mom’s house right now, cleaning it for her. She’s still incapacitated, with her broken arm.

          As for your hips – my brother who is 18 months younger than me and lives in Brisbane, was telling me on the phone yesterday that he’s been having acupuncture treatment for a very bad shoulder, and he said it’s been working fantastically. Maybe that’s something you should consider?

          By the way, Amber had a photographic exhibition a few weeks ago, and sold a huge number of her prints of the town.

          Bill

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      • Bill, re exercise and strengthening, have you considered using (coloured) bands? The physio would provide you with various strengths (hence the colour coding!) and exercises to muscle up, strengthen various parts of your legs. I’ve had to use these a lot over the years due to having stuffed up both my Achilles tendons and one calf muscle a various times in the last 15 years. Can be REALLY painful and tedious, but it works!!

        Steve, I agree with you that Mudgee is historical and quaint and for me quite magical! I was first introduced to that area by a bunch of Sydney yuppies in the mid 70’ies when we stayed at a property ’embedded’ in the near-by hills, in the ‘ruins’ of (for Australia) quite old stone buildings, including the cook’s hut with an open fire where we did all the cooking and washing of clothes and bodies happened in the (at Easter) freezing creek. Good times and memories!!

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        • Hi britta –

          haven’t been to a physio, but I’m seeing a knee specialist on Aug 15th, and so I guess he’ll proscribe a course of action.

          Ah Mudgee in the 70s. I first came here in 1982 I think it was- wow, that’s over 30 years ago now – when Jen and I were first courting. It was very under developed then, with a lot of its old buildings from the war years, and the 50s. Sadly a lot of that has now gone.

          Bill

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      • Bill,
        A birthday? The big six 0? No! now you are one of us “oldies” but definitely “goodies”! These are the best years of our lives. So when is the actual date? You could email me to keep it private ๐Ÿ™‚ if you like.
        Arlene

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          • Steve,
            I don’t know what it is, but I laugh at every post you write! When I see a post from you, I know there will be levity. Thank you!
            BTW, he’s younger than me also…..but I’m younger than you……so I guess I’m stuck in the middle!
            Arlene

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          • Me to. Don’t start with injuries or without stretching like i did. I want to walk it again with stretching. Being too tight caused a lot of hip, ankle, and foot pain i believe.

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          • Hi Steve –

            I did some very simple yoga stretches each day, and it helped a lot.

            Walking that distance each day, with a backpack, causes not only muscle tightening and compression, but also spinal compression.

            You need to do something to stretch back out again, preferably at the beginning and end of each day.

            Bill

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      • Oh, you’re all just so old!!!!!

        Not having walked the Camino yet,I don’t really qualify to be here,( a little suspicious, to me) but…
        My vocation requires a simplified life, and I liaise with a really sweet llama, and an Aussie bird- hater

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  4. Hi Bill, I’m wondering what will change in our lives when we finish our camino too. I’m also wondering how we will feel at the end – elation, sadness that it’s over, a sense of achievement – maybe a whole mix of emotions. We’re down to the last five weeks before we go. Did a 13 km walk on Saturday with 8 kg pack and a 20 km on Sunday, but no pack.

    Loved the Mudgee web site and beautiful photos. (Haven’t been there since my student days at Hawkesbury Agricultural College in the early 70s.) Did your niece take them all? Hope your knee improves. Peter

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    • Hi Peter –

      yes, my niece is a professional photographer here in Mudgee. She does a lot of commercial stuff, and weddings.

      As for how you’ll feel at the end – yes, it’s hard to know. For me, I felt nothing. Not even a sense of achievement. It was only later that it really hit me.

      Two days after I met up with the three people I’d shared a taxi with from Biarritz airport to St. Jean. then the emotion of it really hit me hard.

      As for my knee, I really should have got it seen to before I left. It’s an old injury, and I’ve avoided surgery for a long time. I think this time I’ll have to do it, particularly if I want to walk another Camino, which I do.

      Five weeks? Not long now! The time will whoosh past. Will you be doing a blog?

      Bill

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    • Hi Peter,

      I’m also following your blog, hope you don’t mind; I signed on after I read your reply to Bill.

      We might run into each other on the Camino, I’m beginning to walk on September 17th from Logrono. (You’ll recognize me if we do – I’ll be the one with the heavy New York accent!)

      I also have a blog: arlenemourier.wordpress.com, right now I’m only posting occassionally because my training, I fear, may be a bit boring for the second time around for my followers. I walked the Frances last year.

      Arlene

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    • Hi Bill, Iโ€™m wondering what will change in our lives when we finish our camino too.

      I wouldn’t expect change — many pilgrims go in and come out pretty much the same, maybe just with stronger muscles.

      You might get what you need (which won’t necessarily be either what you want, hope for, nor expect) — but this could just as well be “not very much at all”.

      Take the Camino as it comes.

      The Camino is more important than any personal changes that might occur there …

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      • You are right Julian –

        I think walking the Camino, to expect change, is approaching it the wrong way.

        If change comes, it comes.

        the pilgrimage is the thing…

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        • Walk without expectations and anything you experience will exceed your expectations. Just let it happen. And don’t worry about what someone or something told you that you should experience. How would they know? Like Nike says, just do it.

          Steve

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  5. Interesting about your vision being better. I’ve worn glasses for near sightedness most of my life and now I also have bi-focals… But recently, over the past few years have sensed some improvement in my eyesight. After making the decision to walk the Camino I decided to get a new prescription for my glasses. The Optometrist after all the testing and measuring claimed that I have close to perfect vision… That actually, it has improved. I’ve been seeing this guy for while now. Also, upon having to get my driver’s license renewed, a few weeks ago, it was found during my eye chart testing, that I answered correctly all the various letters and numbers that one has to say out loud to the tester, who proclaimed in astonishment, that the vision restriction previously attached to my license was no longer necessary and when the photograph for my new license was taken, asked me to remove my glasses. This I found strange.
    It sounds like the Camino has taught you to be relaxed. Which is lovely, isn’t it? Whatever level of “rigidity” you carried has been lifted or is being lifted. I bet the laughter you had and the tears that eventually came had a lot to do with all these “little things”, changes that aren’t that little, after all.
    I’ve always cooked. I taught two wives to cook. I’m teaching my girlfriend, Nancy to bake the 7 grain bread she likes, so she can make it for herself while I’m gone. I’m a good cook. And ther’s always more to learn. The thing is though, I cook out of the fear that if I don’t cook, then there won’t be anything to eat.
    That’s not very relaxed. I also don’t like store-bought food. Oh well.
    T.V. Watching. Stopped doing it around Y2K. Took up too much time… Although, when the Oscars come around, we take the dogs to the mainland, rent a room at a motel and veg out in front of the tube and red carpet watch!
    But I need to learn to relax.

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    • ha ha Peter –

      they say the Camino starts when you make the decision to go. I wonder if your eyesight improved after that decision??

      But what you say about being relaxed is true. Cooking relaxes me. I get lost in it.

      So does walking, but I can’t do that right now because of my knee.

      Your checking into a motel and watching the Oscars is a great idea. I love the Oscars, because it really does celebrate the best in cinema. And the US lately has been making some very fine films.

      Michael Bay excluded…

      Bill

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  6. Sight – we all need it. Have been interested in the comments about changes in eyesight. Went to my eye specialist yesterday, just to make sure all was well. [ I have worn glasses SINCE I was 15, not for 15 years as Bill has] As I am in the “old” classification, that’s a lot of pairs of glasses.
    My specialist explained a lot about changes in one’s eyes, especially with advancing age. Bill, it might be worth a visit to the eye specialist when you get that knee sorted out, just to confirm that there really has been an improvement.

    I haven’t yet walked the Camino, but already my close friends are commenting on how I am not so obsessed by my work, how I have started to relax a little, how I can let things slide without comment or response and how I now sometimes share a laugh. Is this the Camino?
    I attribute some of my changes to my reading of this Blog and all you wonderful, supportive, spiritual people who find this a safe place to be. I feel different on the inside and have certainly become more reflective.
    Blessings
    Anne

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    • Hi Anne,

      It sounds to me lie the anticipation of the Camino is starting to work it’s subtle magic on you already!

      And yes, I will go to an optometrist soon. But first, my knee.

      Glad also to hear that this blog is providing some sustenance for you!

      I do try and keep the tone on track, but I often get subverted by nuns and llamas…

      Bill

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      • Coming soon to a computer near you…”The LLAMANUN BLOG!!!”

        We know when we’re not wanted, Bill

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  7. Hello Bill
    I was interested in your comment that you don’t shoot with your big professional camera any more, and you’re thinking of switching to a mirrorless system. I remember your comments earlier in your walk when you talked about the camera you took on the Camino, and the camera you wished you had taken. Can you tell us a bit about the camera you are thinking of switching to?
    As always, a great post with lots to think about. I am planning far far ahead to when I retire, and all being well at that time I hope to walk the Camino. I’m looking forward to 2019! But I have a lot of preparation around fitness to do first.
    Regards
    Elizabeth.

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    • Hi Elizabeth –

      ah, you’ve got me on my favourite subject – cameras!

      If I were to do the Camino again, I’d buy into the Fuji X system of mirrorless cameras. Fuji will soon be releasing the new model of the X-Pro 1, no doubt to be called the X-Pro 2, and that’s the camera that I’ll get. It’s small, light, the sensor technology is terrific, there’s no anti-aliasing filter which means the RAW files off the 16MP sensor are nearly as good as the files off the Nikon’s D00 sensor, at 36 MP.

      Here’s the dpreview.com review of the X-Pro 1 –

      http://www.dpreview.com/products/fujifilm/slrs/fujifilm_xpro1

      I also like Fuji’s glass. Very sharp lenses – but I have a full system of Leica M lenses, from 18mm through to 90mm – and there’s an adapter for the Fuji X system, so I would be able to use all my Leica glass. Exquisite lenses.

      I would probably keep my Nikon system for my film work – DSLRs are essential for that kind of work – but the Fujifilm X Pro system would become my main camera, especially for travel.

      Bill

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      • The Fuji does look promising. I like the fact that it is so light as well. I’ll look forward to hearing more about it when you get it – and seeing the evidence of its performance when you post photos ๐Ÿ™‚
        Regards
        Elizabetg

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        • It’s a beautiful system Elizabeth – and the Fuji lenses are good glass.

          But I first have to make another movie before I buy any more photographic gear!

          Bill

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