The Camino de Santiago is a network of trails that run throughout Europe, all ending at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
The Camino isn’t just a walk in nature, it’s a spiritual adventure. A place where the good people of the world can live the simple life of a Pilgrim and experience the Camino spirit for a short period of time.
As the coronavirus sweeps the world, Spain has issued a shutdown to cope with the ongoing crisis, which means that the Camino de Santiago is officially off-limits for the foreseeable. Yet there are life lessons from the Camino that can be very helpful during times of crisis.
1. A Retreat From Everyday Life Is Good For The Soul
Many Pilgrims who walk the Camino de Santiago are seeking a retreat from everyday life to unplug and recharge or reflect on their lives. We all need time for rest and retreat yet so few people can find the time.
I guess the same could be said for self-isolation and social distancing. Let’s face it, the world we live in is hectic. The opportunity to reflect and retreat from day-to-day life during the coronavirus and take vital time for ourselves is needed by many.
2. Where You Are Now Is Not Your Final Destination
The idea of walking a Camino de Santiago can feel daunting, especially on the French Way which runs a total of 700kms. Even when you are walking, you can seriously doubt that you will make it through the day, never mind the whole journey.
If you are struggling during the coronavirus crisis, remember that where you are now is not your final destination. Just keep on, keeping on, one foot in front of the other. This, too, shall pass.
3. The Lighter The Load, The Easier The Walk
Many Pilgrims choose to walk the Camino with nothing more than a backpack filled with their belongings for the journey. Those who choose to travel as light as possible tend to experience an easier journey. Those who pack for every eventuality, usually out of fear, end up carrying a much heavier burden, which can have a negative impact on their Camino.
The same could be said for the crisis that we are now experiencing. Those who choose to panic, especially when it comes to hoarding, are likely to suffer more during this crisis because they are fearful.
4. The Camino Spirit Is Everything
If you have the pleasure of meeting a person who has walked the Camino de Santiago, you’ll notice that their eyes light up whenever they talk about the experience. Most will tell you that the Camino changed their life forever because of the Camino spirit of kindness and tolerance, generosity and acceptance that fills every Pilgrim. A sense of we are in this together, walking ourselves and each other home.
The same spirit is needed during the coronavirus crisis. We need to come together as one, to extend kindness and compassion to each other, and accept that we are in this together. We need to support one another through this crisis.
5. It Will Hurt
Walking the Camino de Santiago is a challenge for many different reasons. There are days when you feel you can’t carry on. When your shoulders are so sore from carrying your bag and your feet are on fire and full of blisters. The days when you mentally can’t see your way through and, yet, you do get through, every day, no matter how much pain you experience.
The world is hurting at the moment. We face a crisis of epic proportions. Tens of thousands are sick and thousands have died. The ramifications of the pandemic are still unknown. It’s going to hurt us on every level but we will get through this. We have to.
6. The Camino Provides
“The Camino Provides” is a popular saying on the Camino and many Pilgrims will talk about how they witnessed random acts of kindness and little miracles of hope along the way. The Camino gives you what you need, before you even know that you need it.
We face very uncertain times ahead in the coming weeks and months ahead. We must trust that life will provide for all of us. When we develop a sense of trust in life, we lesson the worry and the fear that is running rampant at the moment, freeing ourselves to act instead of reacting to the current crisis.
So, let’s remember this. No matter what the future brings, life will provide for us all. We have to remember that we are all in this together. Walking ourselves and each other home.
Read my book, The Adventures Of A Wild Woman On The Camino De Santiago, my story of an adventure of a lifetime. Available to order now. Click the link below for details.
(c) Samantha Wilson 2020. All Rights Reserved.