The Camino Truth is my way of describing what happens when we undertake the journey of Camino – but its not an exclusive Camino thing. No way. The Truth is a process that can happen on any travel experience, particularly if trekking or walking is part of the journey.
After my Camino journey in September 2018, I penned a reflection about the day to day experiences and emotions felt while completing the final 115km from Sarria to Santiago on the popular French Way.
I was privileged to travel with experienced Camino Host Amanda who had completed this section twice previously. The Camino Truth is familiar to her and we had discussed what Truths the Camino might hold for us both before we headed to Spain. I was familiar with Truths on other treks and trips I had done previously. Some of the most life-changing Truths for me had happened on the Kokoda Track, the Inca Trail, Mt Kili and on trails in Tasmania. These Truths for me were huge – working through relationships, career and overcoming shitty mental health and realising I was stronger than I thought.
Some of these Truths were so big at the time, I nearly got a tattoo after one of them! So while I am familiar with them, I want to share what a Truth might look/feel like. I see it happen on trips when women travel with us from time to time.
And it’s definitely not just a Camino thing – the Camino seems to have a different way of dealing them out. The Camino is seen as a spiritual, religious experience for many pilgrims and for many it offers healing and insight.The longer you walk or the more challenging the Camino or trek, the bigger the Truth.
Giving yourself the gift of time, to walk long distances in a foreign country with culture shock, language barriers, long flights and travelling with unfamiliar people might seem daunting, overwhelming and in itself, such a step outside the comfort zone.
Lisa Murphy (SA). Lisa is an Outdoor Leader, Travel Agent and Passionate Adventure Traveller. She runs Big Heart Adventures and Wise Woman Walking, and leads women on walking tours and also on bushwalks in the Adelaide Hills and in South Australia.
If you are someone who is really time poor, leads an incredibly busy or stressful life, the Truth might be a bit more extreme than others. The Truth has had to fight for your attention for a long time. Allow it in.
Travelling to seek a Truth might prove fruitless. And that’s OK. A Truth can’t be forced, sometimes you can ask for answers but you might get an answer to a different question and one that you didn’t even know you needed to ask.
Many would perhaps be disappointed if this giant Truth doesn’t happen for them. It’s OK if it doesn’t – it might just mean the Truth is for you to experience it as it is. In that moment of time.
So what do I mean by Truths? I am a believer that if you take yourself out of the regular routine of life and give your brain a break from the everyday, your brain is going to do some very different thinking.
Couple that with new people to hang with, a bit of culture shock, walking long distances (or up hills) and going off the grid (if you are lucky) and well, something called the subconscious mind will creep up from behind and give you a tap on the shoulder or a good smack on your bum or spook you by perhaps appearing out of nowhere when you least expect it with new information that you didn’t even know about yourself. Whether it’s on the trails or perhaps in the days, weeks or months after returning home, allowing the subconscious in will permit new ideas to flow through, increase creativity and maybe even ask you to reassess your relationship or career choices or something else.
Sometimes the Truth will simply bring up an unhappiness or realisation that something needs to change. Giving yourself the gift of time will simply open the door to a new way of thinking. And living life. When we travel away from our nearest and dearest, this time away can create a space that they haven’t experienced with us. They not only missed out on the fun, but they missed out on working out what the Truth was for us, how we reached it and will often be ill equipped to understand the huge leap in thinking and feeling, often in a really short space of time. So its important to realise this and be kind, to yourself and to them.
Every time I have trekked, I thank myself for choosing to see the world on foot. It’s a reflective, beautiful way to connect with nature, myself and often with the coolest people who share similar values and likemindedness. Living a fast-paced life means that to rely on my human power to stop, slow down and walk means that my brain can catch up to the rest of me. When it does, I have my brightest ideas, I feel empowered, I can acknowledge my strength and capabilities (something I find hard to do normally) and have insights driven by intuition and clarity that I cannot even try to create at home. For some reason, my ability to tolerate more than maybe I would at home shines through (like forgetting to care about daily showering) and in the same breath I can have my biggest internal meltdown about running out of butane gas and being unable to brew a coffee. Ah the contradictions!
The fact that these earthy lessons in the human school of life are really just the Truth. Learning this drives me to keep challenging myself and seeking trail time and lead others to hopefully experience the Truths they need to grow to.
Lisa Murphy (SA)
Lisa is an Outdoor Leader, Travel Agent and Passionate Adventure Traveller. She runs Big Heart Adventures and Wise Woman Walking, and leads women on walking tours and also on bushwalks in the Adelaide Hills and in South Australia.