The Camino called me for many years. It was that special pilgrimage about which others enthusiastically shared their stories; an adventurous trek of reflection and joy.
During my first Camino I consciously decided to walk alone. I was physically well prepared and I looked forward to finally having the time and space for myself. I felt that the geographical distance would help me gain clarity about why I kept falling into the same pitfalls, and why I hadn’t been able to change that.
In the little church of Saint Jean Pied de Port I affirmed my intention, hoping to receive the answers to my questions. Expectantly, I departed the next morning, across the Pyrenees. At the time, I was a manager of a large team in a constantly changing organization. I had a lot of responsibilities, I worked overtime, and in my private life, I also had too many balls in the air. My motto was: “Don’t complain, keep having fun, and just keep going”; a mechanism that had always helped me along in my life. As an innately optimistic person, I had underestimated the years of overload. Besides, I didn’t want to dig too deeply, afraid of the insights that would potentially force me to change my life.
And there I was, walking that famous path. However, I wasn’t walking the way I had intended; present in the here and now, and enjoying nature. I was running at a high pace from stage to stage. I was still “on”, focused on the outside world. And then something miraculous happened.
I had gotten up early again, ready for the next stage, and I was walking through the streets of a still awakening Logroño. Once I was outside the city, my left leg blocked itself. I was in so much pain, I couldn’t set another foot. I sat down on the next available bench and waited, hoping that the pain would decrease so I could keep walking. I only had one thought: keep going! In this way, I dragged myself from bench to bench, until I, deeply sad and disappointed, had to conclude that walking any further wasn’t an option.
The next day nothing changed. The pain persisted. In the end, I decided to stop and to go home earlier than I had hoped. A massive disappointment!
The next day I traveled to Bilbao, awaiting my flight home, and again something miraculous happened: the pain spontaneously disappeared, and I could suddenly walk normally again. Frustrated and confused, I flew home.