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Pyrenees, France - September 22nd 2013 - 23For all my previous Caminos, I’d done zero training; no extra walking and hiking and was overweight for each of them.  I’ve had this discussion with others who have completed the walk about training for it and we all agreed; you can’t train for what it is meant to be and you don’t need to train, as long as you can walk (and keep walking).  Sure, some of the times I was there it’s been more difficult than it should be but you get better everyday, drop inches off your waistline and start slow enough that you engage with others.  But this time is different.

To know why I’m approaching things differently this time, I need to explain a little about my walking style.  I power through everything.  My mind is too busy with background noise about such things as ‘why am I doing this’, ‘I’m bored walking’, ‘I wonder who’s online on facebook’, and on and on.  For me, walking at speed pushes all the extraneous chatter out of the way, has a period of silence and then magically, my own innate voice says to me ‘Hi, I’m you, let’s chat’.  We then discuss all kinds of wonders of the universe, process which personal and social direction we need to head in, create career goals together and just plain learn to love one another.  It’s a truly enlightening moment.

Rabé de las Calzadas, Spain - 15th August 2014 - 1I’ve heard all the arguments and comments; ‘it’s not a race’, ‘slow down you’ll miss the scenery’.  That last one in particular, always makes me chuckle because you’re traversing a country on foot and even if you were to run, you’re never going so fast that you can’t spend all day, viewing the scenery. The view is fantastic but the true nature of the camino is to take a personal (hopefully spiritual) journey of growth and learning.

So why am I training?  Simple – to maximize the time to finish getting some answers which started coming to me 2 years back. Let me explain…

There are distinct stages to the camino – first comes the physical (my feet are aching, when will this end?!?),  second the mental (why the !@#$ am I even walking this) and then the breakthrough; the spiritual.  For me, I’ve always ended in Santiago and my spiritual awakening has only just happened on the last few days of the walk.  It had taken half the journey to get my body into enough shape to then move on to the next stage.  You could argue I was only meant to get it at that point, after all, it is the journey which is important.  Well, I’m about to find out if I can get myself to that place, much sooner than my history has allowed.

Santiago de Compostela, Spain - October 20th 2013 - 1I’ve recently gone through several bouts of depression, a sense of loss over potentially screwing up a relationship which meant just about everything to me, issues with drinking for distraction and subsequent weight gain.  Something happened though during the free-fall; I went on a fasting diet to kickstart a cleanse and it, in combination with facing the reality of why I’d failed someone, just punched me through the wall and gave me clarity.  I remembered the answers I got on the 2016 Camino, started exercising like a man possessed, wrote down everything and meditated. Then I knew that I was going to be ready this time.  I will fly through the miles and be able to ask the questions long before the end, to hopefully, finally get an answer and some closure.  Of course, this is the Camino and she may just be keeping something else for me…