|With my daughter Lee... Kinda her fault all this started.|
In fairness, there are many times in my life I have desired something, but for a multitide of reasons the seeds never grew and the ideas died... I never had blasted off into outer space in a spaceship.... But THIS seed... THIS seed wouldn't be neglected and as that idea grew the calling started and with this idea having grown from the summer of 2011 till I started actually walking the Camino Frances on September 5, 2015, that calling became an outright shouting borderline on a screaming!
As I planned for my journey, I joined a gym weighing in at a heafty 270 pounds (122.4 kg) and much to my surprise I stuck with the gym, loyally! In 2 1/2 years of prepping I managed to lose a grand-total of 10lbs (4.5 kg), not a lot by any means, but what I did gain was muscle strength and endurance which I was so going to need. As the departure neared, I started working heavy with my pack and working on endurance, hiking mountains I never thought I could do and walking distances I never thought I could in my shape at the time, but the proof was there at the end of the day with each increasingly challenging hike completed and new friends made as a bonus.
|First mountain conquered solo.|
|Well, committed now. No turning back.|
|Oh Yeah, I owned it.|
|Getting my compostella - Proof of the journey.|
The journey, 500 miles, which had a few weeks prior seemed such a large undertaking, was now easy and do-able. Not that the entire journey was a cake-walk, there was plenty of challenges, but by taking it it pieces one day at a time, I conquered the challenges and persevered. If I could walk 500 miles solo across a foreign country without the safety and comfort of home, I could conquer so much more.
So this brings me to today:
I have gained a whopping 2lbs (>1 kg) since returning. I still go to the gym loyally and have increased the intensity of my workouts to not only keep myself in shape, but to push my fitness higher. I continue to try to look at obstacles as challenges that just need to be overcome. I still do computer support, but not really... I now support people who are experiencing technical issues. I have journied with Tina to Italy and felt comfortable walking around outside of the tourist zones and engaging the locals. My love and committment to my family is as strong or even stronger than before. In short, my inner-pilgrim lives strong and keeps guiding me in life... I might not be walking the pilgrimage, but my journey is for life.
|Keeping the pilgrim in me alive in Quebec City.|
While I was in Spain I formed a Camino Family who were my immediate supports and provided the necessary encouargement to not only keep me going but helped me grow as a person. Ray Gibbs was cheering me on as I walked into Roncesvalles after conquering the Pyrenees - we walked as family from then on. Nancy Earl joined the family and became our spiritual advisor about 10 days in - she also walked as family from then on. Also along the way my Camino kept colliding with Alabama (Melanie Causey), my Camino Sister - we never walked, but we always seems to bump into each other - we destroyed Leon!... And Santiago!... And Finisterre!!!... Then there is the multitude of pilgrims in the extended Camino Family that traverse the glove. Ed and Pat from Florida, we walked the Pyrenees, the sheep were scared. Tom and Gwen from California, translators and helpers of the down. Marge and Bella from Australia, kept me sane while I was separated from Ray and Nancy. Sue, Susan, and Beth, the trio that just wouldn't stop and provided encouragement to the rest of the family. Tim and Lexy from Massachusettes who were also there supporting me (Lexy thought the whoo-hooing was cool!). Charlton Slack from Wales teaching me to say "Well, that's fare" when life hands you a curve-ball. The list goes on and on, people in New Zeland, Australie, Canada, South Korea, Germany, England, and all over the US, all supporting each other!
Worth menting again, if it wasn't for Tina, Lee, and Jasmin for their support, all the other support in the world wouldn't have mattered :).