Two Months On, Finishing the Camino Frances and Returning Home to the U.K.

It’s now been about 2 months since completing the Camino Frances, and I think an important part of the process is to look back and see what I’ve gained and what deamons I’ve still to work on.

When we arrived in Santiago with only 30 minutes to go until the office closed the post-Camino feeling had already started to set in. We both remarked on how inconcevable it was not to be getting up to cycle the next day. We had an itinery, stuff we wanted to do and we knew we had to get the bikes to the airport etc. but the purpose had gone from the journey. The meal that night and the treatment we received at the cafe near the Albergue helped to alleviate that but the next day it had returned.

We walked around browsing the shops and buying a few gifts to take home but a section inside me had just shut down, no longer required, served it’s purpose. It contained the drive I’d channelled into my training for the last 10 months and as I’d felt I’d aimed pretty high with challenging myself to complete this task i thought I’d feel euphoric at the end. But instead I felt a little incomplete.

What I wasn’t ready for was the feeling of being a little lost. Of course all I wanted to do was see my kids and Jill, in fact part of the driving force behind the journey had been visualising them at the end, but the Camino fills you with a purpose of its own and you cannot escape it until all at once it feels like its totally drained itself from you.

It wasn’t until the next day when I noticed pilgrims wandering around and on my return I read it in a fellow pilgrims blog that I wasn’t alone in feeling this way.

I’m not sure if it was the speed in which we had to pass through some of the most iconic places, this made me feel like I hadn’t absorbed the entire experience. Or whether I was just missing my kids and had started ticking off the hours until I was home. but over all I think I’d just placed myself into such a determined mindset that the Camino took over and I started to see the end goal, not the journey, as being the purpose. Some pilgrims walk over 40km in the final day in order to push on to Santiago de Compostela. I urge you, if this becomes you just slow down. You can’t really repeat those final steps. We are all rushing to get somewhere, there’s a hell of a view to enjoy on the way.

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This blog: Tony Hemans and Glen Eccles cycled the Camino Frances from St jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela covering 845km in 6 days in October 2012.  If you are trying to get fit, planning an adventure, long distance cyclist or just curious about my mid-life crisis then subscribe and share!

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