I’m really enjoy this way of traveling. To follow intuitively our path, what leads to the most beautiful places. The first time an alberque (hostel) was full booked I started to complain. ‘No, I don’t want to walk anymore. The next village is to far and my blisters are to painful’. Feeling sad. One day between Burgos and Leon we had to walk 17,5km without passing anything, just one long road. We walked already 13km and I had so many blisters on my both feet that every step I took felt like 200 steps without blisters. Painful. Going very slow. It was a tough day. Thinking about the pain wasn’t very helpful. I was fighting against the pain what made it even worse.
It took a while to see what I was doing. Fighting, telling myself I didn’t want to walk anymore, being frustrated, poor me feelings, slightly upset with my dad because he wanted to walk further etc. I didn’t have any problems during the first weeks, nothing, my shoes are perfect, what made me even more frustrated, because within 2 days I had more than 8 blisters. The company of a pelgrim friend and my dad helped a lot to keep on walking instead of stopping every 5 min. But the amount of kilometers we had to walk stayed the same.
I thought a bout the t-shirt I have with the quote “Pain is inevitable.. But suffering is a choice” – Buddha. I realized that I was suffering all day long. This quote coming up in my mind changed something. Specially the choice part. Thinking about that for a moment I thought about the book what I’m reading, a book of Eckhart Tolle. To accept and to be fully okay with every situation you are in. To be the observer and only notice everything without judging or labeling it, whatever that situation is. I’m not the pain, and the emotions I feel is a choice. It is all in my mind.
Knowing, is something different than to feel and live this. Observing pain is difficult, but I tried. To be okay with the situation by knowing you still have to walk 15km isn’t easy either. But after a while I felt not that frustrated and ‘poor little me’ anymore. The pain was better too. I couldn’t believe it. I looked at the butterflies, blue sky and flowers again. I stopped complaining! I felt lighter.
After taking good care of my blisters during lunch time it started all over. My feet had to warm up. The first 300 meters are the worsted if you start walking after a break. And knowing that we still had to walk 10km didn’t help at all. I was thinking about Buddha and Tolle again. And it changed.. I felt better, less pain, enjoyed the walk more and talked with my new friend and dad. This circle of fighting against the pain, frustration and poor me feelings.. and to be the observer, accepting everything, repeated over and over. But every time I could change a little faster and for a longer time.
At the end of the long looooong road, behind a little hill, the village appeared. Because of the hill we where not able to see it. Surprise!! I ran of the hill with al the blisters I had. We made it.
The swimming pool in the back yard of the alberque was another surprise. We dropped our bags, took off our clothes and jumped into the cold, fresh and clear swimming pool. What a heavy, but valuable day. I had to practice to be the observer. This day allowed me to practice.
That evening, during dinner, a korean lady came to me with thin socks and an oil. The oil was an bean oil, used as a natural medication in Korea. She gave half of her flacon of oil to me and explained how to use it. I could wear the thin socks under my normal walking socks. She was so friendly. After diner an mexican guy came to me. His friend called him the blister expert. He told me how to treat my blisters and what had helped him the most after having so many blisters. He had everything I possibly needed and I could use everything. So nice. It was again a wonderful day.
It really feels like a big family on the camino. Helping others where you can and people take care of you where they can. All naturally without expecting something back.
It’s feels really good to be the observer and to let it be. I am practicing more and more. It’s becoming a natural feeling, a natural state of being. It’s like going to the theater and watching a show.
I start to feel so exited when things goes different then I expect, because it leads every time to beautiful, learning experiences. For example; we had to walk 5km further because an abergue was full booked.. We stayed at a beautiful alberque and had a very special meeting with the nuns. They prayed, sang, blessed and hugged us. Thank you full booked alberque; Thank you tiredness, so we walked only 15km and met this beautiful person, thank you …… , so we had this great experience or found this very special place; Thank you cafe for taking so much time for squeezing oranges, so we met our pelgrim friends again, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Camino and everything that just happens. It is al so f*cking perfect even if it’s not.