I met the Way through friends who had done it. I am a nurse and I do not have many vacations in the summer, while the friend with whom I wanted to do it is a teacher and was only available in summer. For this reason I had to consider doing it alone.
I started to prepare and decided to do it three years ago, I wanted to walk from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and I knew that I had to do it alone because my husband did not want to come. Yes, my daughter was willing to come but she did not have time for all the Camino- she could only walk with me from Nájera to Burgos. And so I found myself starting alone, very well organized, with reservations for sleeping, etc … but it was 5 days out of 15, not every day. It was my first Way.
This year I have walked alone from Burgos and things have changed, I do not make many reservations. The Camino has taught me to relax. I walk without all that organization. I was able to take a whole month of vacation and so my time on the Camino lasted a month. I am happy, never before in my life had I felt so relaxed.
When I did the Camino with my daughter we had problems with some meals, my daughter got sick and we couldn’t find a room. But someone from the Camino appeared and gave us a reservation for another pilgrim … It’s always like that on the Camino: you learn that something always happens that fixes everything. Walking with my daughter was good, we got on well together. As for my daughter, she also underwent changes on the Camino. She is an artist and she really enjoyed the monasteries and churches, she loved Nájera, Santo Domingo, Burgos … But as she was sick she did not have such a good experience of the Camino.
This year I arrived very happy, with five weeks of vacation thanks to the help of my boss. I was able to walk at my own speed, ten miles a day. I walked and prayed, and I had no problems with food. That is the only point where I still maintain some ‘security regulations’ and I usually carry some food with me. But in the end I also forgot about the food.
This time she also took a private room many times, ‘I also slept in shelters but alternated. I could have done the Camino in less time, but I spent 32 days walking because I liked it that way. I wanted to go slowly, enjoy my time, I liked being with others at night, at dinner, but I love being by myself and for much of the time I spent my day alone.
I have a religious side, I am Christian but not Catholic, but I do feel religious, so the Way is also a spiritual experience. I also like to enter and visit the churches, meditate or pray there, so I am sorry that so many are closed. I also like the masses and blessings of pilgrims that are made on the Way.
On the Way you feel that you are strong, you learn things, you feel calm, serene … I have also found religious people with whom one can share many things. On the Way I felt blessed. There are no distractions, you can talk to God and yourself.
My husband has watched with me a documentary about the Way, in which a young man walks the camino and plays the cello in different churches. He liked it a lot, he is a photographer and, although he said “not now”, I think that in the future we will come together and without time limits. Maybe when we retire, we can walk very slowly and he can take pictures.