At the recent National Conference the committee discussed giving a small gift to participants to take home with them after the Farewell Blessing. Someone came up with Karin Kiser’s bright yellow little pocket book called After the Camino and we thought it was the perfect choice.
When I sat down to read it myself, I actually gasped out loud several times at the frequent perfect descriptions of my own feelings after my
first Camino, and even subsequent ones. As Karin puts it: “The Camino isn’t something you do to check off a bucket list and return to your life as if nothing happened. Something did happen. The person who started the Camino is no longer the same person who finished it. This book is for that new version of you.”
Karin recommends putting in place an immediate post-Camino re-integration plan. Initially this consists of write it down, keep on walking and simplify your life.
Then start to live your life the Pilgrim Way: reach out to other pilgrims, let go of comparisons and obligations that are no longer what you want, get uncomfortable physically, mentally and emotionally, stay open to new people and ideas, forget about someday as now is all you’ve got, unplug the robot by doing things differently, practice gratitude and random acts of kindness and pay attention to signs in the world around you.
If travel is a process that helps you ‘find yourself’, it’s because it leaves you with nothing to hide behind.
Forget about someday – now is all you’ve got.
It takes lots of practice to break old habits. Impatience, ‘busy-ness’, being judgemental, fearful and closed to new ideas are all ways we cement ourselves into lives of rehearsed responses and dull comforts. It can take a Camino for us to realize this but as many of us know, those wonderful lessons are often hard to sustain. This little life manual could well be an answer.