Top Ten Lessons Learned on the Camino Trail: Personal Reflections

  1. I can go for days without any computer, tablet or phone connectivity. I can and I did. The world did not end. Who knew?
  1. I cannot plan everything. Even I (who previously thought that spontaneity was for slackers) have begun to realize that improvisation is often the most challenging and rewarding commitment of all.
  1. Music is a powerful tool. Numerous studies have repeatedly found music to boost mood, memory, learning, immune systems and performance (Source 1, Source 2, Source 3). After successfully using music to get me up the most difficult climbs, I am now a devout believer!
  1. I am an extroverted introvert. I love building connections with others (the Camino provides an ideal environment for this). I also need my alone time (once again, the Camino provides).
  1. The journey (heavily) outweighs the destination. Our deepest and fondest memories are not of where we ended up each day, but how we got there, who we met, and what transpired along the way.
  1. I need fewer material goods than I had realized. Excess stuff merely serves to weigh down the body, the spirit and the mind.
  1. I can achieve more than I ever believed I could. I simply need to start by putting one foot in front of the other (and one word down on my page)!
  1. On the Camino, kindness was the rule, never the exception. If kindness can be the norm on the Camino, can we also not make it the rule in our daily lives?
  1. There is incredible serenity in living life more slowly. (Just ask Eugene!)
  1. For some inexplicable reason, I have been blessed to meet and marry the most incredible person that I have ever known. This is a lesson that I already knew well, and it was continually reinforced on our travels. When the road became tough, Richard earnestly offered to carry my backpack with his. Although I never took him up on this, the offer alone made my pack feel much lighter. When my toes became battered and bruised, from too much rapid downhill, Richard lent me his hiking sandals and carried my boots. More importantly, without the distractions of home (and technology), we discussed our future, reminisced about the past, admired each other strengths and laughed…a lot!

For these reasons and more, we will be back.  In just over a year, Richard will turn seventy. It is our current plan, God willing, to return to where we left off in Najera and complete the remaining 600 kilometers from there.

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To be continued in September 2017! (In the meantime, I will go back to my regular weekly posts…now, what will I do with all of that free time?)

13 Replies to “Top Ten Lessons Learned on the Camino Trail: Personal Reflections”

  1. The list maker in me is doing a happy dance. Love this, and how it also relates to life. From #10 Unplug sometimes to #6 Enjoy the journey to #5 Unclutter your life to #1 Marry the best-est guy ever…. so, so true!

  2. #1, of course, is my favorite, but #2 – #10 are so important too. I would describe myself as an extroverted introvert also and really value the connections I’ve made traveling. But, I’m also very comfortable with myself as my only company – I think that’s a good combination to be. I’m so happy that you will be traveling the Camino again so I can go along (without the blisters and sunburn).

  3. Donna, this is a wise and insightful list. We are currently on a seven week trip in a camper, much of it outside of areas that have internet service, and I can certainly say that I have made many of the same observations.

    Carry your pack — wow!

    1. Thanks, Jude! I look forward to reading about your seven-week camp trip!
      PS – you are right about the “wow”…I married well!
      Donna

  4. Loved reading this, and look forward to getting together with you and Richard. Your trip sounds wonderful , for many different reasons than the “typical, self-indulgent vacation”. All your writing is very thought-provoking and serenity-inspiring, (if that’s a word!). Keep on writing. 👣

    1. Thanks so much, Dawne – I greatly appreciate your kind words. I will be posting about our ‘mosaic painting adventure’ first thing tomorrow morning. Please stay tuned!
      Donna

  5. My husband and I are making the same discoveries as we enter “late middle age”. Who would have imagined we didn’t know everything when we were in our 20s or even 30s. Thanks for sharing and I plan to explore more of your writing.

    1. Thanks, Aletha – I just checked out your blog. Looks like we have much in common. I too look forward to reading more of your posts.

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