Camino update 5: I want to slow down

This was posted originally this day last year on beingthebestyoucanbeblog.wordpress.com as part of my Camino journey. 

I am sitting in Melide finally finding time to blog about the last few days from Ponferrada. As the title says “I want to slow down” and I guess that’s why I want to post now rather than wait until Santiago.

If you’re looking for travel posts then go to travelalphabetabc.wordpress.com as I have just updated from Ponferrada to Sarria.

If you’re looking more for what the Camino can bring you personally then please read on.

So I never thought I would be wanting to slow down at this point but I am. Over the weeks I’ve been forced to walk slower than I’ve wanted due to a raw right heel and blistered left heel and then my boots feeling too small due to swelling but this wanting to slow down is different.

I can now walk normally but when I got to the point of only having 2 weeks left until Santiago I wanted to slow this whole thing down. Walk slower, talk to more people, feel more present and experience every moment. I’m someone who naturally appreciates all the small things in life so this isn’t a great revelation to me but at the point where some pilgrims were walking longer distances or skipping parts, I was wanting the complete opposite. I was walking the usual distance for me but really slowing down my walking pace.

Some days I walk with another pilgrim or pilgrims but I generally find the next day I’ll naturally walk alone and be with my thoughts. As an introvert and a Buddhist (and yes there will be individual posts on these 2 aspects of my character too but at the end) I am used to being reflective and enjoying my own company so this is nothing new, however I’m finding my challenges or wishes lie in trying the things which have scared me previously. Taking the horse up to O Cebreiro was enjoyable but not an easy decision for me to make as I am not a natural animal lover and certainly not at ease on a horse. I knew it would challenge me and I went for it.

Jumping ahead which contradicts the title I know but I will say that in Finisterre I will also walk into the ocean, put my head under water and come back out again a pilgrim different to the one who began. This will conquer another fear of mine as I have learnt that my challenges are not the same as those who walk along this path with me. So through slowing down I need to acknowledge what those challenges are and be brave enough to embrace them as others have done by walking alone or thinking more about their lives and making life changing decisions.

I want to slow down and notice every moment and be grateful for everything I see, hear and touch. I want to slow down so that this feeling doesn’t end when I get to Santiago or Finisterre because I will not only know it but will incorporate it into my life after my return. I want to slow down and meet the people I’m meant to meet, hear the words which will impact me and feel alive in every second.

My last day of walking into Santiago is a long one. I’ve thought about getting up early and walking in the dark for a bit so I can get to Santiago in time for the noon mass. Then I realise that no, I’m meant to have that long walk in, time to think and reflect and get my emotions in order. If I only walked a few hours it wouldn’t feel the same so I’m going to walk slowly and focus on my thoughts abd what this journey has taught me and where it will lead me and then I’ll arrive at Santiago and queue for my compostela. The next day I will go to mass at noon all refreshed and ready to offer thanks to St James who brought ne on this wonderful slow journey starting in France and ending in Finisterre.

Until then Buen Camino!

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