‘The world reveals itself to those that walk on foot.’
I’m currently in the small electronics room of a hotel in rural Bosnia. Around me buzz computers and hard drives, surveillance equipment and alarm systems. The air is still with an intense dry heat. My quick dry travel shirt is drenched with sweat. But I have access to a laptop and feel the need to write something of my recent experiences.
I walked the Camino Del Norte and Primitivo over 42 days, 28 days of which I walked without money.
I lost my wallet, most likely pickpocketed, and after the initial shock, decided I liked the feeling of having empty pockets and nothing left to lose.
I made some rules to test my idea that I could live without money –
*Dont accept money
*Dont ask pilgrims for anything
*Only accept help from someone for a limited time (eg 2 days)
I learnt what herbs to eat along the way. I learnt some basic Spanish to ask for old bread at cafes and bars. I did odd jobs for a bed in Albergues like painting, cleaning and cutting grass.
I photo documented the journey on instagram, so to save time, and also get out of this sauna, I will share some pertinent photo posts.
To live without money I had to live one day at a time. I had to simplify things, break my day into trying to achieve simple tasks – walk, eat, find somewhere to sleep.
I felt that by doing this I saw deeply into my own and other’s hearts. Money is such an important consideration for most people.
The last 100 kms was the toughest. I saw the true filthy heart of the money circus the Camino has become. In fact I would suggest anyone who only walks the last 100 kms of the Camino is kidding themselves to think they would get any type of benefit out of it. I didnt even stay in Santiago long enough to get my Compostella.
After my experience I decided I needed to give something back, so traveled to Lesvos, Greece to volunteer to help refugees at Europes largest Refugee Camp. Unfortunately I got a staph infection in my arm and spent a week in bed on antibiotics, but got to meet enough refugees to get an idea of their predicament.
The Camino experience seems a long way away now. Normal travel seems dull in comparison, very dull…and pointless. There was something about having a challenge, a goal, and putting all your energy into achieving that goal. I also felt I had to live in a certain way if it was to work. I felt I too had to share the little I had to be able to receive. One night I woke at 3am and wrote down this little poem/prayer about my experience. Reading it again, it is probably a good metaphor not just for the Camino, but life. Hope youve got something out of my ramblings, feel free to comment below.
‘Can you walk the Way, tired, hungry, injured, with empty pockets, and still feel the birds are singing you onwards and the flowers are smiling as you pass them? Can you accept that you may experience the worst but also, great gifts of abundance? Step by step, day by day. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Appreciate this moment.’