This time last year I was nearly half-way along my Camino – it’s one year on from that and where am I and how did it affect me? It’s time I reflected on that and shared it with you … and share with you … and share with you……………
This time last year (the 24th September) I had reached Rio Lobos after a chatterful day with Le Pepe. Today, in Oz, I’m clettering on the laptop with my snoring dog on the bed behind me.
What’s happened in between times?
I got home from the Spanish Camino in a taxi with my dog therein and began my Oz camino is what happened.
From October through to now has been my Oz journey – none of it really easy or lap of luxurious or outwardly amazing to behold. In the wonderful Chris Guillebeau interview of yours truly, I was asked “what would be my next adventure?”. I didn’t have an exciting answer to that. I’d just spent a lot of my superannuation doing the Spanish thing. In fact, with a decided plop I arrived back in my mundane life a total legend in my own lunchtime.
Do you think that the street jumped up and down at my return? Do you believe that this introvert immediately dashed down to the local rag and gave the story of my walk? Yes, another person might have done that and good luck to them – but not this little black duck. I simply arrived home with my beloved pooch and sat on the sofa and contemplated what I’d just achieved. (oh – and I started to blog about it!)
For the next few months I toyed sporadically with walking – I figured out a 5 k walk, an 8 k and a 15 k walk. I ditched my remaining Camino shoes and had to buy a new pair of walkers that are still in use. I had to get through a solitary Xmas (which as those who have done it know is a hard, hard thing) and I had to get the new kitchen installed. (Having tradies in your house day after day is a whole OTHER blog site).
Now if that doesn’t hurl a person back into the mundane I don’t know what will. I had a tiny piece of super left from my sabbatical 2014 – and by April my little miner’s cottage of 1890 vintage could now boast an up-to-date little kitchen of which any miner would be proud. That done, I went off to wash dishes at the Vipassana 10 day retreat and learnt I could process 1000 items in half an hour! I was shit-hot (if I say so myself) but truly lacking in good Vipassana virtues.
But slowly what I had learnt from the Camino was sinking into my bones.
I knew I was capable of whatever I had the courage to attempt.
I knew that age didn’t hamper me as advertising and the culture we are surrounded by would have us believe.
I knew that I was my own worst enemy. I knew that I was my own best champion.
I realised that the system we live in (consumerism) is false and empty.
I realised that we are distracted by media (TV et al) from realising our true and best potential – yes, even in our 50s and later years.
I began to hate consumerism, advertising (always have), debt and the way we have been sucked in to wanting more and more stuff. This keeps us on the 9 to 5 treadmill.
I learnt I’m scared to step off the treadmill, I’m scared of poverty.
I have had to learn that my character failings are my own responsibility. And it’s up to me to deal with them and stop complaining. I know that if I just make 2 little adjustments in my life, then the scenario completely changes for the better.
That Camino walk was one of the best things I ever did for me! As are the continuing Vipassana 10 day retreats. But also, forgiving myself for not being perfect or diligent or self-regulating is good for me too. I had to learn that the hard way. I’m a bit of an idiot.