Arlene has already walked the Camino.
She’s about to do it again.
Here’s her guest blog, about the power of the Camino to change you, from the perspective of an experienced Camino pilgrim –
How the Camino has Changed Me
And Why I Feel Compelled to Return
On September 1, 2012 I boarded the plane to take me to Biarritz, France. I had been training for almost a year and felt strong and thoroughly capable of walking the Camino. The hideous climb up to Col de Lepoeder did not look so daunting in the guidebook.
After all, I live in the foothills of two mountain ranges in Tucson, Arizona. I trained on top of Mt. Lemmon at 9,100 feet. I trained in temperatures over 105 degrees Fahrenheit every day. I was ready, willing and able. The Camino was going to be a walk in the park for me.
I was Desert Hiking Chick – hear me roar! I was arrogant in my self confidence.
First Camino Lesson – I was humbled. No, I was not Desert Hiking Chick! I was an out-of-breath, out-of-shape old lady who had to stop every 10 feet to catch her breath with a 22 pound pack on her back climbing the Pyrenees Mountains.
The Camino removed the arrogance and superiority I exhumed so confidently. I no longer feel the need to be smug; in fact I now believe such behavior on my part or in others is offensive.
Second Camino Lesson – The Camino showed me how being around negative people is conducive to being negative myself. I ran into an extremely negative, opinionated woman who didn’t have a pleasant thing to say about anything or anybody. After a day or two, I began to feel negative about the Camino experience myself.
The Camino taught me to avoid negativity. But at the same time, it taught me tolerance of others.
Third Camino Lesson – It became very obvious that all I needed while on Camino was a clean change of clothing, a place to rest my head at night and food to sustain me. When I returned home, I began, and still continue, to get rid of unnecessary stuff. I’ve donated many items to those in need.
The Camino taught me I live in my own world of excess. I may have the desire for certain material things but no true need for them. It has caused me to contemplate seriously the need of the item before I make the purchase.
Fourth Camino Lesson – The Camino showed me on a daily basis the kindness of others. There was always somebody willing to share or offer a helping hand.
While I was trekking up to Alto de Perdon, my trekking pole kept collapsing. The adjusting clamp needed to be tightened. I stopped to search for my Swiss Army Knife to tighten the clamp and two fellows from Minnesota stopped to help.
They gave me a 2 euro coin and told me not to use a screw driver it would strip the screw but to use the coin instead. We laughed at the idea of them giving me their 2 cents.
The Camino has taught me to be kinder and more generous. It has opened my heart to being more charitable.
Fifth Camino Lesson – Most importantly, the Camino reinforced the presence of God in my life. God walked with me every day while I was on the Camino. And, I am aware of his presence every day since.
I am returning to the Camino on September 15th, just a few short days from now and then again on the PGS Camino Tour in April, 2014.
I feel compelled to return to the Camino. I figure I have the Camino Virus or as I like to put it….Once Bitten!