When I decided to walk the Camino, after quitting my job early in the year, I joined a closed FB group of women who walk the Camino alone. At that time, I had thought I might attempt a solo walk. But in the end, I walked with my 15 year old daughter. It was still really challenging, and for other reasons than just the walk.
Part of the responsibility of completing your Camino, in my opinion, is being supportive of others who are thinking of doing it, and helping them overcome their fears. So I’ve stayed connected to this group and periodically, I read their posts with questions about gear and those questioning their sanity in attempting this monumental undertaking. There are also people who talk a lot about how hard it is to reintegrate after returning home. Family and friends can’t relate to what they have been through and their struggle to re-enter their lives with the new knowledge and confidence they’ve gained. Sometimes others are intimidated by their transformations.
I had a friend once who told me ‘When you’re a lion, you don’t ask for advice from sheep and mice on how to live like a lion. You only ask other lions.’ And of course, she was right. Remembering this today, it made me smile. But it also made me think at how different my life is since all those years ago.
As women, we tend to doubt ourselves, even on some of the smallest undertakings. And THE BIG STUFF? Forget about it. Self doubt all over the place. Am I smart enough? Am I being realistic? Is this crazy? And on and on. And there are plenty of people out there who will validate our fears. Advising us to play it safe, by not playing at all. But during this move to Europe, it’s caused me to look at my life. To assess my own strengths and weaknesses. And honestly, I like what I see.
Subconsciously, I have surrounded myself with lions. Both virtually and in person. People who are brave and bold. People who seek new adventures and new experiences – both large and small. I married a man who created his own Camino by riding the Arctic Circle, solo, on his motorcycle. He was ill in urgent care two days before but pulled out of our driveway. But he was unafraid – at least he seemed to be at the time.
‘There’s always going to be good reasons not to go.’ he said ‘I just gotta do it.’
And he was right. Sometimes, people’s personal Camino’s are smaller or take longer. Getting a degree that has long been out of reach. Finally, breaking through some invisible barrier no one else can see, or conceive of, that has held them back. These are the triumphs that can make us lions too.
We are lucky. We’ve gotten so much encouragement from our friends for this new adventure we’re planning for. I’m blessed that the pride of lions that surrounds us can understand our roar, and what it means to be bold.