We’ve shared our challenges of elevation gain, distances walked and getting lost, but we haven’t mentioned one important challenge of walking the Camino: It can be boring!
Take, for example, our walk from the monastery in Sobrado to a tiny village called Goimil. The last 10km of this hike was on a paved road — not quite wide enough for two cars — with no shoulder and bordered by eucalyptus farms. Seemingly endless eucalyptus. And the road continued as far as the eye could see. Boring.
Whatever the perceived hardship on the Camino – be it boredom, fatigue, or body aches and pains – the mind starts chattering and moves into negative thinking. When will this be done? I’m SO tired. My backpack is too heavy. My shoulder aches. That pain in my knee is back. Some truth in the statements, but getting caught in that mindset only makes things more difficult. Let the negativity persist and you enter the world of ‘what ifs’. What if we are lost? What if my knee pain worsens, and I can’t finish the walk? What if we arrive too late, and the albergue doesn’t have beds?
In these moments, it has been helpful to take a pause and remind ourselves that . . . it’s only walking. One foot after the other, repeat, repeat. Just keep doing it and you get where you’re going. Everything else will sort itself out. If we’re lost, we’ll eventually find the way. If the knee pain worsens, see a doctor. In the meantime, it’s only walking.
The Camino has required some persistence. And this simple reminder has calmed emotions and made the Camino do-able on more than one day. We’re not the only folks who have employed such strategies. As Barry recently pointed out, you don’t meet too many moaner-groaners on the Camino.
There may not be many photos from this day – because it was mostly boring!