The Camino de Santiago was a great experience that both of us enjoyed immensely which none of us regretted to undertake at the end. However, as this was a challenge, we faced a lot of troubles. We did the part of the pilgrimage walk from Ribadeo to Santiago de Compostela (197km) in Spain in 10 days.
We are soon to start university which might develop our minds academically however, the Camino was a University of Life because it teaches you a lot about yourself and those around you.
This walk was both a challenge of physical and mental growth to undertake. We were physically challenged by the distance considering none of us have ever pushed ourselves to that extent. We were mentally challenged not only because of the great distance but also because of undertaking this challenge together. We had to cooperate and support each other as well as individually prepare ourselves to be resilient and persevere throughout.
We learnt to persevere the hard way. When walking 20km a day, it is common for your back and feet to start hurting. At times, we thought we could not take it anymore but then focused on our goal and carried on walking. We learnt that we can pretty much do anything we want if we really put our hearts and souls into it in order to achieve our goal.
We realised that we should do things in the moment rather than leaving them for the next day. We left a few kilometers behind one day meaning that we had to walk that extra bit the next day. As a result, we walked 36km that day and we ended up completely exhausted and regretted so much walking less the previous day. However, we learnt from our mistake and we did not repeat it ever again.
We learnt that we do not need a lot of things to be happy, we just lived with whatever we carried in our backpack and it turned out to be more than enough. We got to experience emotions we had never felt before. Walking along through those paths a sort of magic can be sensed and sharing experiences in the albergues (pilgrim’s hostels) at dinner time was exceptionally one of the best things about doing the Camino.
Reaching the city of Santiago de Compostela after walking 200km is immensely gratifying and creates an intense feeling of being alive. The paths leads physically to Santiago however, it is truly a walk within yourself. You get to know who you really are, your strengths and your limits — or what you thought your limits were. It is not a race. It doesn’t matter who arrives first to Santiago, what matters is enjoying every single step walked in the journey.
At the end of this experience, we believe that we really grew as individuals. Now we know that, even without any supervision, we are both mature and independent enough to able to deal with any unexpected situations on our own and we are ready to face anything that our future has in store for us.
From this experience, not only did we grow as people but we met amazing people that didn’t think twice about lending us a hand when needed. We met people from all around the world and sat together to eat and drink and talk for hours about our beliefs and cultures, just like old friends. Those hours spent with those amazing people are something that both of us will never forget as they are precious memories which made this challenge unforgettable.