I have been wondering if everything I have done in my life up until now has been leading up to this adventure. But no, that cant’ be – I doubt there is anything in life (at least not in mine) that can have prepared me for what I am about to undertake – a 12 to 20 mile per day walk for a total of more than 500 miles over 45 days – with no material possessions except what can fit in a small backpack (hopefully no more than 12 lbs). I cannot recall anything that I have done that can have prepared me for this – not even in the past year and a half that I have had the Fitbit to keep track of my steps – I think there was only one single day (in Japan) where I even managed to walk 12 miles. I cannot even imagine walking this distance for so many consecutive days.
Not sure what I am thinking but there is no backing out now. the airline tickets are confirmed and today I even bought some pants and shirts that supposedly will make my walk comfortable- that is, if there is anything that can make walking such distances comfortable – let alone pleasurable – but we will see once we are on the Camino. I am sure there will be surprises, pleasant as well as unpleasant but in undertaking this, we have all agreed to complete surrender to whatever will be – there is really no other way to undertake a journey like this. There is consolation of course – in the bus rides that might be available and tempting – wonder if that will feel like cheating and take away from the glorious feeling of achievement that hopefully will come with completion of this journey.
I remember as a kid when my dad used to make us walk the 10~ miles to Patanga beach in Chittagong and we would be so worn out and unable to take another step and he would say, ‘oh it’s right there – we are almost there. I can even see the ocean’ and we would trudge along – what other choice was there. Years later, this training would help me complete the marathon and I am hopeful will keep me going on the Camino.
I started to read Enayet’s write-up about the camino and he talks about the 3 sections – first with the body, then the mind and then the soul. I think it is funny that my title of this post also refers to the same – I started out thinking this was a challenge for my body, then realized my mind had to be the driver if I was going to make it; but as we get closer, I think ultimately, it will be my soul that benefits – at least that is what I can hope and pray for, the rest will be up to God’s Grace. Since this past weekend, I do already feel detached from my worldly possessions – maybe I am ready for the Camino?
The key to successfully completing the Camino is to not think “I have 500 miles to go” (or 400, or 300, depending upon where you are). Think in terms of “I only have 12 miles (or whatever) to go today…I can do that.” Or when you’re feeling really tired and hot or your feet hurt and your backpack straps are gouging your shoulders, then think instead “I only have 200 meters to go to that tree up ahead.” From there, it’s “I only have 300 meters to go until I reach that small house up ahead,” and so on. Keep repeating that process each day and you’ll soon be standing in front of the Cathedral of St James wondering how in the world you ever made it so many miles. And as for your worldly possessions, detachment is a good thing. They’ll still be there when you get home, and you’ll probably be thinking about which things you can get rid of to simplify your life. Keep the clutter out of your mind and listen to what the Camino is saying to you as you walk.
Excellent takeaways to stay in the moment and be present in the here and now and not get carried away with with the larger challenge. I will remember “one step at a time”.