CAMINO PORTUGUESE – Reflections Part 1 (2018)

It’s nearly a year after we’ve finished the Portuguese Camino … and now, we are ready to share our reflections on this journey of 630km …

“But why only now”, you would probably ask?

The short answer: Because it took us almost 10 months to turn our thoughts and decisions into actions … and what a journey it’s been!

The simplicity of the Camino once again had a huge impact on our lives – for five weeks you sleep, walk, eat, making new friends, experiencing a new country, as well as the generosity of their people.

So, what do you do when you live this life for a month … you think … you think a lot … and at the end of the journey (or sometimes even during the journey), you may come to the following conclusions:

  • We are complicating our lives unnecessarily.
  • We put extreme pressure on ourselves to perform (and eventually on our family as well) … at a very high prize.
  • We are earning high salaries, but does that necessarily bring happiness?
  • We are surrounding ourselves with meaningless stuff that requires all of our attention (and time and money).
  • Before you know it, the above (might) lead to a lack of balance between work, family and friends.

Reflection 1

We came back from our Portuguese Camino at the end of April 2018 and just knew the time was right to make major changes to our lives … it was time to live more and find that balance between work and fun!

So, what did we do:
  1. I (Corna) resigned the first day I got back to work – I’ve worked as a Patient Experience Officer at one of the biggest private hospitals in South Africa. And I resigned, not because I did not like my job, but because, after 11 years of working with patients and their families, I was emotionally drained. I love working with people, but the last year I’ve started to act like a robot … just doing my job … and realised that I was busy changing as a person. It was time to find myself again.
  2. Berto had the same objection … he worked under tremendous pressure for the last couple of years. Although he would have probably also liked to resign shortly after our Portuguese Camino, his work was much more complicated than mine and he set the target to resign from his job by the end of November 2018 … which he did!

In retrospect, the above worked out perfectly: With me at home to be able to take care of the “house stuff” and Berto still earning a salary, that gave us time to get our ducks in a row …

  1. We’ve owned two houses – lived in the one near Cape Town and another beach house in Langebaan (where my mother lives). We’ve decided to sell our house in Cape Town – the house we’ve been living in for 18 years and where we had great times. This house’s bond was almost fully paid off and it just made sense to sell it.
  2. We also had two vehicles in Cape Town and another one in Langebaan (for my mom to use). Immediately after I’ve resigned, we’ve sold one of our cars in Cape Town … there was no need any more for two cars. That meant that I sometimes had to walk where I would want to be (shop, etc.) … but hey, after the Portuguese Camino, walking was not really a problem 😉.
  3. We’ve started to get all our finances in order. Cancelled unnecessary “luxury” expenditures (like DSTV – that is like cable TV … we’ve actually gave our television to my mom and did not missed it one day!)

We’ve also cancelled those small “life insurance policies” that accumulated over the years for “just in case” … it was hair raising to realised just how much we’ve forked out to “insurance policies” over the years! Yes, you probably do need an insurance policy, but one policy should be enough … oh yes, and make time to check your policy once a year to see if this is still fulfilling in your needs (this way, you might save yourself a lot of money).

  1. The spirit of the Camino was still well and alive … we’ve chosen only a couple of furniture to take to our beach house and then invited our friends for a braai (or barbeque as known to the rest of the world 😀) and said they can take whatever they want – not selling anything, but giving away.

The rest of our stuff that we’ve gathered over the years, we’ve donated to an institution that take care of unwanted babies … because we could never have children of our own, this is very close to our hearts!

To say the least … this was a very rewarding and satisfying feeling!

We would urge you to do this at least once a year. You don’t need to give away everything as we’ve done, but at least “clean your house from clutter”. You would be amazed at how much stuff one gathers over a period which you have not used in a very long time!

With everything we’ve started to do, our friends asked: “But what now? What are you going to do?” … we did not yet know at that time, but we were sure of one thing:

It was time to get out of the rat race and start living a more balanced life. Where that “life” was, we did not know, but we were ready to find out!

More about this in our next post …

In our next post, you can read about how we’ve sold our house in Cape Town, South Africa (that is an amazing story on its own!). We will also tell you about an unexpected direction in our lives and our move to our beach house in Langebaan.

Make sure not to miss this! Chat to you soon!


26 thoughts on “CAMINO PORTUGUESE – Reflections Part 1 (2018)

  1. Jinne Corna, ek is ook nou op ‘n stadium waar ek vra of die onderwys nog as beroep voldoen aan werksbevrediging – ek het nog 2 jaar voor ek moet aftree maar wonder of ek nie nou al moet oppak en loop nie. Geniet dit wat julle doen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gesina, ek kan 100% verstaan dat om in die onderwys te wees ‘n uitdaging kan wees – ek bewonder jou wat al so lank in hierdie beroep is!
      Ons wil nie by “eendag” kom en dan wens ons het “dit of dat” gedoen nie … dis gewigtig, want hoe weet ons of dit die regte besluit was … waag die kans en tyd sal leer. Dankie, ons probeer om ook te geniet terwyl ons ons voete vind!


    1. Yes, we were in Oporto – have a look on our blog under Day 14 & 15 to read about our wonderful experience in this beautiful city! We would love to visit Oporto on day again (and stay longer!)


  2. OK, so I am going to do the Portuguese Coastal Way in the fall of 2023…..I love all of the life changes this experience invoked for you all. Have you reverted back to any old habits since then? I am also planning to do part of the Spain route with one of my blogging buddies! It will be the year of the Camino!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have something really great to look forward too!! It seems that 2023 will be the year of long distance hiking for you! That walk (as well as our Camino in Spain the previous year) really changed our lookout on life … it’s all about balance.
      And no, we have not reverted back to any old habits … three years later, we are still living in our small house on the West Coast, have only one car, camping and hiking whenever we can. Berto is doing on line consultations for different companies (and studying further when he gets an opportunity), while I’m involved in our small community with various projects. Things might go into a different direction soon, but we will never forget the lessons we learned on both Camino’s in 2017 & 2018.
      Pam, you’re going to have a GREAT time on the Camino … that I can promise you 😁!


      1. That is fantastic!!! good life lessons that stuck! I am going on sabbatical some time in May/June for about 6 months. I am pretty sure I won’t be going back, but do want to make sure I am not being impulsive. I do love my company, I’m just burnt out so not really giving it my best. I’ll keep on reading about your Camino adventures!! Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s where we were when we quitted the rat race … I am a very passionate person and the day that I wasn’t passionate about my job anymore, I just knew it was time to leave.
        I must maybe just add that before we’ve done this, we already planned 5 years before to pay all of our debt and getting things in order for this move. So, it wasn’t really an impulsive decision … it was both exciting and scary 😉 … but 3 years later, we still know we made the right decisions!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’t like not being able to give it my all for sure! You are giving me confidence to make the move! I have been talking about this for years. Pretty sure all my friends are over it and secretly thinking – JUST DO IT already. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

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