When they say that in many ways the Camino is a learning journey, they are not wrong. If you have been involved in coaching in any way, everyone has a definition of what learning is. For me the Camino is absolutely experiential: no matter how hard you try to share what it means to walk alone with your thoughts for two days without seeing hardly anyone, the most I have achieved is to be asked if it is worth it and how boring it must be.
And besides being experiential, it is necessary to enjoy it for a minimum period of time. A weekend is not enough, no matter how long it is, because it is necessary to disconnect (unlearn) from our day-to-day reality. That is why it is so important to take the first step with the backpack already in order to enter “travel mode” (check-in). The pilgrimage and the Camino of each one of us always starts at the door of our home and even if we are going to use some means of transport to get to the beginning of our first stage, we are already with that little travel bug, with the excitement of the unknown (no matter how much planning we think we have done) and with the feeling that, even with a cell phone, we will have to fend for ourselves. And when we can’t, we will have to ask for help from someone we know little or nothing about. My father always told me as a teenager (and a bit more) that I didn’t know how to ask because I thought I was entitled to everything just because I made an effort to do so. I imagine it had to do with humility. And humility you will be able to learn in spades because just as El Camino provides you with everything you need (if you are attentive), it also puts you in your place from minute zero.
Once we are there (wherever there is), as Indira Benito said in her documentary about her experience going to Fisterra, we start to get into the spirit of the Camino little by little and it is difficult to meet unpleasant people. Especially when you are in areas with little traffic, although on the French Way it is complicated or impossible from Sarria onwards. The problem is when you return home you seem to forget everything. Or we let it slip our minds. That is why the Camino is therapeutic for so many people to the point that it is difficult to find someone (other than a tourist, of course) who does not want to repeat it.
Let’s get to the point. Let’s see if I am able to synthesize. If any of you would like to contribute your vision, leave a comment and I will incorporate it.