So, we’ve done the Camino de Santiago – though not the full distance, but 729km were pretty close. For 29 days we were living by a very simple routine.
- Wake up early in the morning (without any alarm)
- Brush our teeth and wash our face
- Get dressed – a choice between 2 sets of clothes
- Roll up your sleeping bag and pack your backpack
- Start walking
- Stop somewhere to eat
- Get to your destination and choose an albergue/hostel
- Make your bed (by rolling out your sleeping bag)
- Do your laundry
- Relax & meet new (and old) friends
One could add another point of “attending to your blisters” (for Corna). Call that her “beauty routine”.
There was absolutely nothing complicated about this routine.
And that is the beauty of the Camino … we did not have to plan anything ahead. Yes, we’ve had a look in our (Brierley) guide book to see how far we would be walking the following day and which route to take … but other than that, we’ve just lived for the moment.
There were days that we were chatting to each other or to other pilgrims, but there were also days that we were walking 50m apart (Berto normally in front) and did not speak a word. For the first kilometer or two we would think about all different kind of stuff, but then our minds would “shut down” and we would walk in absolute solitude.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT
We’ve realised two very prominent things:
- It was important for our bodies to get exercise,
- and our minds to get quiet
THE CAMINO SPIRIT
We came back home in Cape Town and a couple of days later we were back at work. We’ve told people about our journey, re-lived the moments when looking at photo’s and tried to hang on to the Camino spirit …
… But, before we knew it, we were back in the same old routine of getting up at an un-humanly time, only to sit in daily traffic. Then we were so stressed up and tired when getting back home that we’ve barely had enough energy to prepare dinner before going to sleep.
Constant traffic … frustrating!
After a month or so, we were discussing the whole experience of the Camino again and then made the following list:
WHAT DO WE TRULY NEED IN LIFE
- A simple house – no need for 3 bedrooms when you’re only two people living in that house
- A bed to sleep on – and that bed don’t have to be king size – just a normal bed (preferably with a warm blanket for the Winter)
- Clothes – of course we need clothes, but not 2 cupboards full each!
- Two meals a day are sufficient – and each meal don’t have to consists of many ingredients – a simple meal of soup and bread every now and then will be fine
- We need water – to shower and to drink
- Someone to share your dreams and life with, someone you love and loves you back
- Faith in our Heavenly Father
For the two of us, this was a list we could live by …
AND WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER STUFF
Yes, of course it is nice to have two cars, a big TV, plenty of seating in your lounge, a selection of shoes, etc. But, the question we had to ask ourselves was whether all these things were essential to have to make a living?
MINIMALISM IS THE WAY TO GO!
Then we’ve started a new project … the project of minimalism!
- The best place to start was in our closets … we gave away bags of clothes to people in need (and we’ve never missed any piece of clothing afterwards!)
- And secondly, our kitchen cupboards! So many things were stacked at the back of these cupboards we have not used in years – it was time to give these away to people who could still use it.
- We’ve kept the second car (for now), but only used one to travel to work. Though we work at separate companies, we traveled the same route and only a bit of planning and patience were required for us to travel together.
- We’ve kept the TV (also just for now), but stopped watching meaningless programs – in stead we’ve used the time to chat to each other and do outdoor activities.
- We’ve made the decision that if we buy something (clothes, shoes, kitchen equipment, etc.), we first need to get rid of the old piece in our house. This way we were replacing and not accumulating!
AND HOW DID ALL OF THIS MADE US FEEL
I can tell you – a huge sense of liberation! We’ve felt that we were adding more meaning to our lives and we’ve loved this new direction!
We knew that this was not the end of the road, but only the beginning of something much bigger.
We are happy that the Camino spirit is still part of our lives, even after we’ve finished walking the Camino Frances … we’ve just had to find a way of practicing it in our daily lives!