I think this will become my overall mantra for the next few years – One step at a time. I’m sure I’ll be telling myself this often during the hundreds of kilometers on the Camino Trail. In fact, in all aspects of our lives, we could apply the “one step at a time” thinking. I sometimes want things faster than they can be. I enjoy seeing results quickly. In fact, my favorite room to clean in the house is the bathroom – certainly not due to the type of work required, but the fact that within a short time I can transform it into a squeaky clean room and I see the results quickly.
Alas, I do know that some things take, and NEED time. Progress is not meant to be achieved quickly. I certainly found that out during my first completed marathon in Hawaii in 2000. I wasn’t as trained as I should have been, I wasn’t as fit as I should have been, I wasn’t as knowledgeable as I could have been. I did complete it, but it took its toll on my body. I think in all, I took more than a month to fully recover. I learned from that, and my following race events were never undertook without additional thought, time and training.
This Camino dream is one that needs to be done the right way. It needs to be planned, I need to be fit and not only physically prepared by mentally prepared as well. So far, I’ve been reading much about the mental side of this journey. Many have written that the physical component is one thing, and one can truly prepare for that, but the emotional side is hard to plan, anticipate or expect. Everyone gets something different out of the experience, and I expect that what I will have heard, read and research will only give me some insight into what it truly will be for me during my walk.
I’ve pretty much concluded that the best time to go is either in May/June,. or September/October. Our anniversary is in October, Thanksgiving is in October and well, snow can happen in October, even in Spain. The summer months are the most popular and with this come challenges in finding shelters in the albergues (specific resting places for pilgrims). Along with the smaller crowds comes more solitary times. I tend to be very social, but I can see how doing a big part of the Camino on my own would be beneficial in many ways.
I don’t think one can really plan on being alone or with others. There is always the possibility of meeting other pilgrims on the trail and one could decide to simply say “hi” or “Hola” and walk on. So far, most writers who tell of their adventure state that meeting others on the same path is one of the most enjoyable part of the journey. Right now, my focus is on learning as much as I can while planning my training. In fact, I’ve started tracking my walking to “virtually” complete the distance this coming year. I don’t have entire days to commit to this now, but one workout after another (one step at a time) will let me get to that goal.
Somehow, I just know this journey is coming at the right time for me. In fact, tomorrow a local sporting and climbing store is featuring a local pilgrim who completed the Camino some years ago. I downloaded his book and I am reading it to gain a bit more insight before his talk tomorrow. Is this coincidence, or the aligment of things I need to see, do and experience to prepare me for this journey? I also found out that two of my cousins have completed the Camino and I cannot wait to meet with them and hear all about their experiences.
One step at a time – slowly, but surely, this will guide me in taking my time, doing what’s right, and being as prepared as one can be. This will be a great adventure – in fact, it already has started!