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Getting used to simple things is one of the things you learn first. The Camino de Santiago makes it very clear from the beginning. The typical recommendation of what to put and what not to put in the backpack and the magic figure of 10% or eliminating the “just in case”. Also keep a low technological profile (mobile phone is enough). All this gives you a little kick as soon as you do the first test with the backpack loaded… and remember that water is missing. These things are just the beginning. Remember, KISS, “Keep It Simple, Stupid.“
As soon as you take the first step through the doorway of your house and put the keys away, you unintentionally cross the border of your comfort zone (check-in mode). I imagine it’s the sofa and bed that you’re going to miss as soon as you get to the first hostel. But not to worry: we are human and we are good at coping with change…. well, some better than others.
Already in those first steps you realize that the objectives are simple: to arrive on time to that bus or train that will take you to the beginning, find the hostel and take possession of the bunk, find something for dinner, … In one fell swoop, those thousands of things you constantly carry in your head pass a non-critical priority level and your mental agenda is freed up.
An agenda that in the coming days will be very simple (and a challenge for many people): get up, eat breakfast, walk, eat, walk, get to the hostel, shower, wash, eat dinner, sleep. And by filling some of those gaps, you may have to physically suffer a little (sure…something always happens) and that will remind you that you can handle it. Those little (or big) aches and pains will remind you to make time for yourself. That you have to listen to what your body is telling you. And your mind.
Little by little you change the focus and start to value all those little things that we normally take for granted. A place to eat something, a cold beer or a hot and dry dish, a disinterested conversation, … here there is no need to pretend because having to walk, the sun or the rain equalize us all in the same way. You begin to wonder if certain things or concerns are really important or if you can do without them. Many will not stand up to scrutiny. Fortunately.
For those who have experienced it, and not only on the Camino de Santiago, the simplicity is addictive. Especially if you add a point less speed when it comes to living. Things take time… and for now, you’ll have plenty of time. That will lead us to the next lesson: how to spend time with yourself.