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it's a bit like having your first baby........

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Magwood, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. Magwood

    Magwood Super Moderator

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    .......planning for and walking your first camino, that is.


    You read every resource available, many times over. You worry about whether you will cope with the disturbed nights, being woken way before you are ready for the day, and lack of sleep in general. Everyone tells you how painful it is, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing. Your life takes on a whole new routine, doing the same few things day after day. You are nurturing a desire and listening to your body and mind as never before.


    And along with all the discomfort and disruption, comes a whole new exciting and fulfilling world, a whole new circle of friends, priorities change, things that seemed so important a few weeks earlier drift off into insignificance. You have endless patience for mundane tasks. You are delighted by tiny changes in a strengthening body. Small setbacks are followed by huge leaps forward. And the sense of joy and achievement in something only you are responsible for is immense.


    But as with childbirth, immediately (only us women can truly appreciate this) you have given birth and the pain and effort are still fresh in your mind, you are likely to think that this is an experience you don't want to put your body through again. And miraculously, after only a day or two this wonderful thing that you have achieved eclipses any negative thoughts. And so, within days of reaching Santiago and exclaiming that you would never feel the need to repeat the experience, there creeps into your psyche, totally unbidden, this undeniable urge to stay in contact with the camino, to visit the forums day after day, and you very soon realise that there is nothing you want more than to walk that path again, be it the same one or a different route. And before you have even embarked upon your second camino, you are already thinking about which route to walk on your third!

    And I am so much more relaxed about my second camino, not panicking about training, I know I can do it, I have put in some long practice walks but don't need to prove anything to myself. I'm a little anxious about walking alone this year, but I know that I will cope with whatever situation arises. And I will be kind to myself - if I am really struggling, then I will get transport to the nearest accommodation and return to my stopping point the next day, so that I can walk every step without over-taxing my body.

    And just to take this whole train of thought full circle, the child that I gave birth to thirty years previously, introduced me to the camino last year, by inviting me to join her on her pilgrimage. Unfortunately she is not able to join me on my forthcoming camino Portuguese, commencing on 1 May, but who knows - maybe next year, on the Via de la Plata.......
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
    danvo, UnkleHammy, Jo Waller and 8 others like this.
  2. Devon Mike

    Devon Mike Well-Known Member

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    Very well said Magwood. I will be off on my first Camino next month walking from SJPP to Santiago and continuing on to Finisterre. I am a lifelong walker and have completed many long walks over the years. My advice to anyone considering such a journey is not to overtrain and to think basic and simple about what you need to carry on your back. Go at your own pace, particularly at the beginning as that is when your body settles in to the daily routine. Relax, stay calm, take it easy and just let the beautiful experience flow through your mind. If your mindset is right your body will follow!!
     
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  3. Taffy

    Taffy New Member

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    Loved your comments. I am just about to set out on my first Camino in May and your thoughts were great .I'm sure all my apprehensions
    will disappear along the way.
     
  4. Cindy B.

    Cindy B. New Member

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    This was beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I am going to do my first camino in July. Excited/terrified/ready. Mostly, looking for what you put into words, "listening to mind and body like never before." Yes, that's it. That is what I want and perhaps, need.
     
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  5. Celeste

    Celeste New Member

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    So happy to see your post comparing walking the camino to motherhood.

    Today is my first day on the forum and really only my first week in which the idea of walking the camino has become...well...an obsession. I'm 61 and I'll be walking it alone so any advise would be welcomed. The being alone part doesn't bother me, but the knowing where in the heck I'm going/sleeping scares the beegeebies out of me.

    Right now I'm not sure when I can get away from work (real estate) for 6 weeks (I like the idea of taking it slow) and do it but thinking sometime between now and fall 2016. As with a lot of things in my life my mind tends to go to the things I'm afraid of...top 4; can I do it, pain (knees, blisters etc etc), being safe, and lack of bathrooms.

    Your comparison to childbirth/motherhood actually put it in perspective. I was afraid of that too for all the same reasons. I have four daughters (22, 24, 30 and 34). I know if I waited until the stars aligned before I had a baby I would never had had the first...if I didn't have a bit of spontaneity in my life...I wouldn't have had the fourth. So it goes with my planning for the camino. I might not be as ready as I could be but if it's anything like being a mother it's a life changing experience, I met the most wonderful four women who at once can irritate the heck out of me while still bringing me my greatest joy and all things said and done I wouldn't have missed the ride for anything....so I hope it will be on my camino.

    I love the generosity of spirit and giving I've seen on the forum this morning and look forward to learning a ton and who knows maybe one day I'll see some of you on the camino!!!!!!!!!
     
  6. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Celeste, welcome :) Your 4 afraids:
    1a: knees: this was my afraid too, my camino was year ago, and until now i have no pain :)
    1b: blisters- somebody say that camino can do without blisters. I had some.. No problem :)
    2: you CAN DO IT
    3: on camino you are never alone, except if you want to be alone. As you can read on this forum too, there is part of camino, where is walking alone not recommended, but you can walkin alone with somebody 50m ahead or behind you.. I think it's enough.
    4.Bathroom is in every albergue, with hot water. :) Except Albergue San Anton :D (but i recommend it!!)
     
  7. Magwood

    Magwood Super Moderator

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    Hello @Celeste and welcome to the forum. You'll find lots of help and support here. Since writing the above piece I have completed the camino Portuguese from Lisbon and this year the camino Mozárabe from Málaga - both amazing experiences. I am now the same age as you and started from a point of no hiking experience three years ago. I found walking buddies for these last two caminos - on the CP because I was a bit anxious about setting off alone, and on the Mozárabe because it is a very little walked route and would have been a lonely experience walking solo. However on both occasions I happily walked on alone when the time seemed right. I posted to my blog every day from each of my caminos and you are very welcome to take a look via the links below.

    If you have any specific questions, don't hesitate to ask, either personally via a private message, or generally on the forum where members will be happy to share their experiences.

    And regarding your fears...
    Knees - I had a fair bit of pain on my first camino and popped many painkillers (or pilgrims' candy as they are known on the camino), but have felt hardly a twinge on the subsequent walks. Use walking poles to alleviate the strain.
    Blisters - I have suffered my share, but nothing too debilitating. The best thing is to buy your footwear early and get them really worn in before setting off, although it is impossible to train for walking such distances every day, without actually doing it!
    Safety - trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable about a situation don't hesitate to ask for help or maybe retrace your steps until you encounter another pilgrim to walk with. Have a whistle handy and enter the emergency number on your phone. Although there have been some issues on a certain section of the camino Frances recently, the various caminos are generally very safe environments.
    Bathroom facilities - I walked my first two caminos without having to resort to peeing off track. There are plenty of facilities on the CF - many bars along the way. However this year there were a couple of occasions when I had to find a suitable bush. I have to say, something so natural isn't that easy for a novice - the men have a much simpler task.

    I am sure that the more you research the camino, the keener you will be to get started. You will have an amazing time - buen camino!
     
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  8. Elizabeth2014

    Elizabeth2014 Member

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  9. mvanert

    mvanert Member

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    Magwood, I was just like you upon finishing my first camino in 2014. Thought I'd never want to see another arrow and now I look for them all the time. I can't tell you what it is, maybe by the end of my second beginning June 2, 2016 in St. Jean I'll have an answer, or maybe I'll have to go back for my third.
    As for be fearful of a first camino, you will be looked after, you will be surrounded by camino 'family' when you want them and left alone when you desire solitude. It is a remarkable thing this camino.
     
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  10. El Condor 2014

    El Condor 2014 Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    Magwood, I walked my 1st camino in 2014, and I could not understand why some of the pilgrims I met were doing their 2nd, and 3rd Camino.
    Yes, I did stay in contact with some friends I met in the camino and I also visited this forum day after day and kept on viewing numerous You Tube videos of El Camino. and before I realized it, I started making plans for my second Camino which will commence on the 8th of May 2016 ( leaving Australia ) and will start walking from SJPDP on the 13th of May. . Your comments are spot on . (although I am a male I can now relate and understand the bit about ""childbirth"" ) .
    "When the Camino calls you, you just have to pack up and go "!
     
  11. sean

    sean Active Member

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    Just back in from a longish street walk breaking in a new pair of Meindl boots. Boy does it feel like childbirth-feet first. Exhausted, but worth the effort. The best is yet to come. A bit like conception and childbirth, I suppose????
    Sean,
    Dublin
     
  12. mjfisher02

    mjfisher02 Member

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    Thanks for the encouraging comments. I am just starting the planning of my first (hopefully of many) trip to the camino. Very nervous at times. Have done all my research and now gathering all the provisions I will need for this quest. Not leaving until either next Spring 2017 of Sept 2017; depending on whether my cousin decides to come or not. But regardless I will be there soon enough. Please everyone keep sharing.

    Magwood...are you actually in the real Andalusia or the Andalusia from 'the alchemist'? Both look and sound beautiful.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  13. Magwood

    Magwood Super Moderator

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    Haven't read the Alchemist so don't know where that Andalusia is situated, but for the time being I am living close to Malaga, in the mountains behind the Costa del Sol.

    Keep enjoying your planning and Buen Camino for next year.
     
  14. Tina-Marie Brownie

    Tina-Marie Brownie Well-Known Member

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    OMG Magwood, that was so well written and even though I have yet to do my first Camino I can totally relate to what you are saying about the preparation - reading, shopping and expectations and can honestly see that "like childbirth" in a couple of days I would want to do it all over again :) You should write a book :)
     
  15. Magwood

    Magwood Super Moderator

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    Since writing that I have walked three more caminos ... I decided two babies were sufficient!
     
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  16. Tina-Marie Brownie

    Tina-Marie Brownie Well-Known Member

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    Haha Magwood, as my grandmother would have said "found the problem and fixed it" - gosh I cannot wait to have the time to think about her and how she would have loved to do something like this :)
     
  17. Terry Wilson

    Terry Wilson Well-Known Member

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    Go to the top of the class Magwood I dont think I have ever heard the Camino described better that this and I have tried many times. :):):).
     
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