Getting ready for 4th Camino, Porto to Santiago

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Even though it is only July and we have +- 2 months to go before we depart on another adventurous Camino my heart beats with JOY everyday knowing that my feet will be on a spiritual journey again later this year (2015).  I feel so blessed that I am able to embark on yet another Camino for the 4th year in a row.  Just to recap…

2012, I walked the Francis Way, Roncevalles to Santiago, full pilgrim style from start to finish, stayed in Albergues and carried my back pack the entire route!  A painful and exhausting yet most INSPIRING journey!   The Camino allowed me the time to heal from deep routed “hurt” and “pain” from the past and I have never felt as free as I did while these “issues” were being dealt with, embraced, and then “left behind” as I continued step by step until Santiago.

On my return, and back into the swing of life all I could think of was the Camino. I put into my space as well as left it to the universe — the wish to embark on a second Camino but this time with my daughters, (ages 12 and 13 at the time).  Against all odds and not a spare penny to my name within one year (in fact it was less than a year) I was able to save enough money to take my girls on a journey of a life time and in 2013 the girls and I “journeyed” from Leon to Santiago, the walking part of this Camino was Foncebaden to Santiago.  I say “journeyed” rather than walk as we were forced to taxi a few days due to snow and heavy rain falls which we were not prepared for, however we did walk most of the way! Interestingly I booked this journey through one of the very well respected and established Camino travel agents, cost me more than double and in retrospect should have just planned this journey true pilgrim style.  I was hesitant at the time as I did not want to get to a village with tired children and no place to sleep, neither did I want the girls to carry their backpacks, the walk was tough enough and having an agent arrange all these little anomalies felt right at the time.  No regrets, however was taught an expensive lesson.

2014, I was blessed to take on another Camino, this time the Portuguese Way from Lisbon to Santiago to Finesterra.  I was accompanied by my best friend of 30 odd years, Sharon and another friend Alan from the start of the Camino in Lisbon all the way to Santiago.   Along the way my youngest sister Koren, joined the trio and later another friend, Janine joined our journey to Santiago.  Alan left us in Santiago and the ladies tackled the walk to Finesterra.

The Camino is with me everyday and it continues to amaze me how many people from all over the world actually take on this AMAZING journey to Santiago.  I once read you can travel the world but when you walk the Camino the world travels with you!

I follow Camino related blogs, read pilgrims stories everyday, read the chitter chatter on many Facebook groups about the Camino and every word I take in allows my heart to beat in anticipation for my dream to be able to walk all the Camino’s this life time, there are so many of which 12 are more popular than others.  I am by no means a religious person but there is an energy on the Camino that has a “spirit” that resonates so strongly with me that I yearn for it all the time.  The peace, the calmness, the beauty, the joy, the exhaustion, the fun, the meeting of new friends, the simplicity of life are all factors that play a roll in the “want” for the Camino.

There is the saying “The Camino always provides” so weird yet so true!  There have been so many beautiful inspiring stories of how the Camino has provided for pilgrims in need, whether it be a plaster, a hug, a laugh, shampoo, something to eat, a pain killer, help with your back pack, threading a blister, sun block, shady spot, a bush to piddle, etc. it is always there.  The Camino has its own pulse and is alive, it is not something I can describe, it is something you need to “live” and “experience” to understand.  The friendships made are instant and “pure” as we are all in the same boat when we walk the incredible path called THE WAY!

It certainly isn’t a walk in the park. If is by far the hardest and most challenging thing I’ve ever done, but the achievements each day of distance gained, mountains climbed and even harder still, de-climbed are so elative, exhilarating, enlivening and invigorating that the exhaustion at the end of the day, the feet aches and pains, even blisters is so worth it.  Not forgetting the awesome camaraderie of the pilgrims.

I can’t believe that I have actually done this 3 times already.  As the time draws closer for my 4th Camino (second one with my girls) I get more excited.   We are also blessed to have one of Cassidy’s friends (in fact her bestie) join us this time round.  Rachel #justsoyouknow – we are so excited about you joining us on this journey.  Anyone that knows me, knows that I don’t necessarily enjoy any form of physical fitness and maybe even verge of the lazy side when it comes to walking, but it is the friends I’ve made, the physical endurance, the pain, the elation of success that brings it all home. I have achieved what I know many thought I could not and I wear the badge with pride.

Soon (+- 55 days time) I will be hearing Bon Cominho (in Portugal) and the Buen Camino (in Spain), can’t wait!!!

PS, we start our prep walking tomorrow, 12km walk @ Kliprivier Nature Reserve, will blog about the aches and pains of muscles as we get them sorted for the 250km in September.  (insert big smile)

Interestingly I am posting this blog on the day 2012 (25th July 2012) that I reached Santiago for the first time!  Special memories, special moments, special friends made, special healing phase, special special special……….

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Showing 2 comments
  • Marta P.

    Hi Michelle!
    I discover your site today, and I will certainly follow here your journey through the “Caminho de Santiago” (as we say in portuguese) this year.
    Having lived all my life in Porto I’ve never felt the urge of doing the Caminho. Funnily enough, now that I’m moving abroad, I really want to do it. So, along with other friends, I’ll do it next year, and I’m already very excited about our journey. One year will be enough (at least I hope!) to prepare myself physically, mentally and to collect all the tips I can get about this amazing life experience.
    I hope you make a safe trip to Portugal and that you enjoy this year’s journey to its fullest.

    • Sparkalot

      Hi Marta, wonderful reading your reply on my blog, I will keep the blog updated along the way and also hope what I post will assist you in your planning for your Caminho. 12 days to go and we arrive in beautiful Lisbon.

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