Camino De Santiago: There Is No Going Back

Have you ever had an idea to do something, started it, and then gave up after no time?

On May 15th, after a crazy long experience hitchhiking to the small town of St. Jean Pied de Port in France, I started my first day on the Camino de Santiago.  The skies did not look promising and time was not in my favor.

As I was waiting for my pilgrim passport, the old lady working looked at me and said, “You don’t plan on starting this now – at 11:30 am – do you?  You do realize we have bad storms coming in.  It’s a very difficult path and given that you are alone, it could potentially be dangerous.”

With a variety of emotions, I obtained my pilgrim passport, smiled at her, took a deep breath and said, “I am going to start today.”  And so, I began at 11:30 am.

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I had never read anything about the Camino before starting my walk.  I had seen the movie, “The Way”, and I had heard a few things from random people who had done parts of it, but I went unprepared.  I left alone, with no map or guide, little protection from the rain, and the wrong type of clothes.

 What I did have was a whole lot of determination and confidence in my ability to walk the distance.

Around 2:00 pm, the weather changed drastically.  The temperature dropped and the clouds became dark as thunderstorms filled the sky.  The rain and winds were so strong that they literally knocked me off my feet.

Visibility became limited as the fog set in.  In addition, did I mention that the first day was walking all uphill through the mountains?  I realized that I had not seen a single car during the hours we had walked.

Despite how I felt, I had to keep moving forward.  It is easy, when life gets hard, to give up quickly.

However, if your ONLY choice is to keep moving forward, then you are forced to go beyond what you think you are possibly capable of doing. For hours, I climbed uphill through the mountains in extreme weather conditions, with no one else in sight.

At one point, the wind and rain mix was so strong and the confidence I had starting out the day with slowly decreased and doubts came creeping in.

“Am I really going to be able to keep moving forward?”

My whole perspective changed in a moment as I heard voices come up from behind me. It was 5 Spanish men.  However, instead of having my defeated attitude, they were full of smiles, singing and enjoying being in the moment. They danced along side me and my whole perspective changed.

That change – getting my focus off my current situation and onto something else was a transformation for me.

Standing in the Pyrenees Mountains in the middle of that heavy storm, cold and soaked from head to foot, I realized that this was only the first day of my month-long journey.  Moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other, despite the conditions around me was my only option.

 I had to dig deep and find a strength that I never knew I had.

When life gets hard, are you quick to throw in the towel and give up?

Are the conditions around you undesirable and unpleasant?  In these moments, when the storm is the strongest, we must take our eyes off our current situation and look inside.

You and I are so much stronger than we think we are. Dig deep and find that inner strength.  I promise it is there.

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Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.comCamino De Santiago: There Is No Going Back