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All of us who have done El Camino, in any of its forms and distances, in a sincere way beyond tourism or as a sporting event, know that it engages. There are thousands of posts, tweets, books, videos, … trying to give an explanation to that question. In my case it is the “simplicity” of the objective: you “only” have to walk to achieve the ultimate goal of reaching Santiago with clear intermediate milestones that are the stages. And from there on, it’s a world of its own because the issue becomes more complicated.
That apparent simplicity involves a lot of small victories and defeats that no one else will fight for you. For starters, because only you can put one foot behind the other and decide when it’s enough for today or when I need to rest. The mere fact of hearing what you think, without the ambient noise to which we have become so accustomed, is already a discovery. A discovery that not many people are prepared for. It is not easy to be with yourself if you are not trained. And once you learn to listen to your thoughts, or let them wander in search of new points of view (…Solvitur ambulando…), you start to hear your body asking for things: eating, drinking, resting, a little knee massage, … simple things, very low in Maslow’s pyramid, but fundamental… and sometimes we forget them. If you ignore him on the El Camino, you’ll see how quickly he complains.
And there is no greater simplicity to approach the Camino, again and again, than to walk it without expectations. Prepared to some extent but unplanned. This ties in with the famous “The Camino provides” although, in my opinion, it is more related to being attentive to what it offers you. You can never have everything planned, and even less so there. Behind a curve you see someone who needs some help, even if it’s just company, and all plans are changed.
And after a long day, a bed, a shower and that someone with whom you have crossed a few words and shared a few kilometers has saved you a bowl of hot soup, become the real luxury. And you remember everything that has happened during the day thinking it was “just” going to walk.