Camino De Santiago: The Power of a Positive Attitude

From May 15th to June 16th of 2015 I embarked on a exciting journey where I walked 650 miles over 31 days from a small town in France to the west coast of Spain. Everyday I walked an average of around 20 miles, but on somedays I walked more, with my record being 38 miles!

This adventure is something that I’ve always wanted to do because its an experience like none I have ever tried before.  The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage that attracts over 100,000 people each year for many different reasons:

Religious: The Camino has its base in Catholicism, although people from all different types and religions walk. There are many beautiful cathedrals along the trails and each night there is a special opportunity to attend mass. Its a great way for people to learn more about history of their religion and to feel a deeper sort of connection to it.

Spiritual:  These are the people that are not necessarily believers, but find a part of the experience spiritual. There are many moments in the Camino where you will be walking long days completely along (if you choose to),  with your own limitations of pain from the weight of the backpack and pure mental and physical exhaustion. In addition, depending on the time of the year, one might face different climate changes: rain, heat, wind, storms, freezing temperatures etc.

In those moments of walking in silence you will face a side of you that you don’t always have to face in your regular day to day activities, and these moments of silence can truly be transforming.

Physical Challenge:  Many people walk for the physical challenge and achieving a fitness goal. Its a great chance to test your limits, while at the same time seeing beautiful nature, villages and mountains.

I started this challenge for many different reasons,  but more than anything, because I wanted to achieve a personal life goal and prove to myself that I was able to do something physically that I didn’t think I was capable of doing.

I started the camino completely alone in a small town of St. Jean Pied de Port, France with not a person in sight.  The people I talked to told me that the first day was very difficult because of the steep incline through the Pyrenees Mountains, but I felt full of energy and unstoppable. I started late in the afternoon and the weather was absolutely perfect.

I was all smiles as I walked the first couple of hours with the nice warm temperatures and beautiful nature all around me. The longer I walked, the harder the hike became, but I felt like I was in heaven as I was taking it all in and taking pictures.

[cml_media_alt id='6580']camino[/cml_media_alt]

However, after a couple of hours walking up the mountain, the weather completely changed.  The sky turned dark, the weather dropped to freezing and it began to rain and storm like I had never seen before. Hail broke out all around me and the sky filled with a thick fog that did not even allow me to see my hand out in front of my face.

I walked blindly for hours, literally unable to see what was coming head, but just taking one step at a time, while trying to stay warm.

I was NOT prepared for this type of situation. I had nothing but a small plastic poncho and a bag full of summer clothes, which did not help me at all.

Feeling a bit discouraged, I continued up the mountain, one step after the other. All of the sudden I heard voices from far away coming from behind me. I was not able to see them through the fog, but each second that came the voices grew louder. When I turned around I was completely shocked….

Through the fog I saw five lively men singing, dancing, laughing and enjoying their difficult hike up the mountain, despite the harsh weather conditions. They ran up to me, gave me a high give and said “BUEN CAMINO,” which means “good walk” and said “MAN, its a beautiful day right?!”

Shivering and soaked from head to foot, I thought, “How in the WORLD can they be so happy right now with this situation, knowing the fact that we have 5 more hours of hiking uphill until we stop for the day?!”

Their happiness and energy was contagious.  I began to walk my mindset changed within a matter of minutes and within no time I began to sing, dance and laugh with them.

This was a moment very important for me, because in this moment I realized that if I was going to successfully finish the camino all the way until the end, or accomplish any goal in my life, I was going to need to work hard to incorporate this positive attitude into all that I do.

From that moment, I saw everything different.

I don’t want to say that the fact that I change my attitude meant that everything got easier from that point. Actually, there were many days after that I really wanted to give up and take the bus back home.

However, my attitude helped me in those moments where I thought that I could not go forward and it allowed me to enjoy the experience more by concentrating on the good, instead of filling the air with my complaints.

 

Don’t forget to also check out: 

TRAVEL LIKE GANDHI

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VIPASSANA 10 DAY SILENT MEDITATION RETREAT FREQUENT Q & A

 

  • When life gets hard, what kind of attitude will you choose?

  • Will you choose to see the good in your situation, regardless of the difficulty and pain you might be facing?

 

Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.comCamino De Santiago: The Power of a Positive Attitude