They say the journey begins when you commit to the Camino. I have been wanting to hike the Camino de Santiago for a few years now and just never could commit, until my mom told me she wanted to go too. Within a week we were booked and ready to go the very next month (that escalated quickly). We decided to take a non-traditional route that allowed us more time for sightseeing and exploring the towns along the way, and it was everything and nothing what I expected all at the same time.
There’s something about travel. It throws you off in the best way, and shows you a new way of being. You learn about different cultures, meet new people, eat new food, and have no sense of your normal routine. It gets you so disconnected that you find true connection. Especially when you go to a country across the ocean and English isn’t the primary language.
I spent two weeks in Spain to hike the Camino de Santiago.
14 days on airplane mode.
14 days of no routine.
14 days of adventure, (dis)connection, and flexibility.
I walked slowly so I could soak in all the sights, I made small talk and had deep conversations with complete strangers, I turned my phone OFF – yes like literally off, didn’t even take pictures, and I ate what sounded good to me. I didn’t worry. I didn’t worry about fears, anxieties, or the past. I didn’t worry if there was cheese or dairy in my dish. I didn’t worry if I ate enough protein or got 8 hours of sleep. I just lived in each moment and it was AMAZING.
It would be unrealistic to believe I could live as carefree in my day to day life, afterall a girl’s got bills to pay and marathons to train for 😉 however I learned something very valuable that I brought back with me. I need to disconnect to connect. I need to leave my phone in the car or a bag, and look at the people around me instead of my phone while in line or even at dinner. I need to let go of unrealistic expectations I place on myself, and on others. It’s not all or nothing, it’s being aware enough to catch the drift and dial back. It’s being able to find the calm in the hustle, to take things literally one step at a time.
The Camino refreshed my mindset and perspective. Things came up that I hadn’t thought about in years and I was able to let go of burdens as I walked and listened to stories from strangers, admired God’s creation, and weathered the storms (literally). Hiking the Camino is an unparalleled experience, but the thing is you don’t have to go across the country to do the work. Put your phone down, get outside, and take time to get quiet. That’s where the magic happens.