It really is simplicity in its purest form. To summarise a day: you wake up, put your boots on (since you are generally already dressed in your walking clothes, to save weight in your backpack you are not carrying pajamas and those luxuries) and you walk, stopping along the trail to eat, have a coffee (in Spain I order a café con leche – it really is very energising) fill your water bottle, find an Albergue to sleep at, eat a simple meal, take a welcoming shower and then back to bed. For as many days as you need or plan your walk – it is a repeat of that simple cycle.
While the day is purely simplistic, the process is engaging, invigorating and life-changing. Along the route, you might discover some very interesting aspects of your personality that you never understood. I am not a psychologist, and would never assume to provide guidance on this point, but for me, I learned to accept things that I couldn’t change, to accept things as they are, and to live with gratitude – gratitude for what was the past and gratitude for what is the future. My future had never seemed clearer.
It was clear to me when I really started to experience the Camino, that I didn’t have the need to restore a broken life. I was not filled with grief for loss; I wasn’t trying to get over a bad spell nor was I trying to right a wrong. While I miss my mother especially, I don’t feel trauma by her physical loss. In fact, when I think of all the people that are physically not present for me anymore, I don’t experience a wave of emotion for their absence. They are ever-present, and I always feel that they are by my side with every step that I take in my life, and on the Camino, it was the strongest presence of them that I had ever felt.
Undoubtedly, my mother would understand why I have gone on this journey. She would probably be able to articulate the reason why I am here at this point in my life, far better than I can. She would say that it is the draw of the adventure of the Camino; the simplicity of it all; and the spiritual upliftment that I experience when I am walking from place to place, and being very far from the noisy world that we all belong to.
We should really all experience this type of day – the simple day, where faith takes you on your journey and delivers you to your destination.