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Lessons from home confinement applied to the Camino

It is time to stay at home and be responsible to get over this situation soon, the best possible way. 

But it doesn’t mean we have to stop dreaming. In fact, we are learning many lessons from home confinement, that can be applied to the Camino de Santiago. Let’s discover some of them.

10 lessons from home confinement, applied to the Camino de Santiago

1. The ability to adapt to change

Our lives have experienced a radical change if we compare them to the previous months; and, probably, they will never me the same.

Many of us used to have busy routines, outside home, full of trips, social gatherings… Now, we have to see life through our windows.

We have learned that our existence is characterized by changes. And our survival will depend on our ability to adapt to them.

This is one of the lessons we have learned from home confinement that can be applied to the Camino de Santiago. You may be surprised by the torrential rains during the walk, or when you get to your destination, all accommodations might be fully booked… An injury could prevent you from getting to Santiago de Compostela on time, or you may have to walk during the night because you had to help another pilgrim… Planning is, undoubtedly, a great idea. But, without the ability to adapt to change, and solve the unexpected problems you might have on the way, you will be lost.

Home confinement Camino de santiago

2. The virtue of simplicity

Same as on the Camino de Santiago, home confinement forces us to enjoy a simple life. We had to learn (quite fast) to amuse ourselves always inside the same setting. To come up with ideas to take the most of our days at home, lacking of nice plans outdoors.

Somehow, it is a lesson that we can extrapole from home confinement to the Camino de Santiago (even if the first one is indoors, while the Camino is outdoors). The Camino de Santiago is characterized by simplicity, by appreciating small details, gestures… By getting rid of all the superficial elements, and concentrating on getting to our next destination. Very similar to what we are experiencing now.

3. Learn to wait, listen and get to know ourselves

Sometimes, we are caught up by a hectic routine, and we don’t have time to listen to ourselves.

Despite the bad news, we must find the positive side of this situation, and try to understand home confinement as good excuse to stop, reflect, and try to know ourselves a bit better. We may never have such an opportunity again.

This is, precisely, one of the main benefits pointed out by pilgrims who did the Camino de Santiago. The fact of getting out of this fierce routine, having time to reflect, to think… Individually, we can’t really change the situation we are experiencing at the moment. But are responsible for trying to get the most of it. Finding and taking advantage of its benefits.

Camino de Santiago Tours

4. On the Camino, we are all equal

This virus does not distinguish our sex, economy, nationality… Regardless who we are, or what we do for a living (unless exceptions) we must all stay at home. This lesson from home confinement can be applied to the Camino de Santiago.

It is a unique experience that attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world. It doesn’t matter their age, money, race of profession. On the Camino de Santiago, we are all equal.

5. Express your gratitude and be generous

In Spain, everyday at 20:00, we go out the window to applaud the sanitary personnel. To express our gratitude for all the effort they are putting to help us, to get through this. But we don’t  forget all the people that have to go to work everyday, those professionals that are so necessary in our daily routine: police force, firefighters, supermarket workers, cleaning services… We thank all of them, because thanks to their work, we will get over this.

On the Camino de Santiago, we also find many reasons to express our gratitude. To the neighbors who encourage us saying “Buen Camino”. Those pilgrims who help us when we are lost. The innkeeper that gives us a strip, to take care of the blisters…

During this home confinement, on the Camino, or life itself… Saying thanks shows how much we value the rest of the people. And it says a lot about ourselves.

Home confinement Camino de santiago

6. Being patient during home confinement and on the Camino de Santiago

Without a doubt, one of the virtues we must work on during home confinement, but also on the Camino de Santiago, is patience.

It is understandable that we can be carried along by our nerves in some particular moments. But this ability of being able to wait, being calm and tranquil, will allow us to bear with this situation the best way. We must work to endure adversities being strong, trying to get rid of constant complaints (that can be very toxic).

Same happens on the Camino de Santiago: walking hundreds of kilometers, day after day, means a real exercise of patience for many. Without this virtue, it would be really difficult to achieve our goals.

7. The importance of a routine

We have been confined at home for many days, and now we know that it’s importante to establish some routines, to keep our mind busy. Getting up and going to bed at a particular time, having a shower, cooking, working from home, reading, watching TV… having a daily schedule is fundamental. This way, you won’t spend so much time on those activities that do not contribute to your well being, and could consume your whole day.

Even if many pilgrims describe the Camino de Santiago as a way to get out of the routine, this word is very important. The Camino de Santiago requires routines, of course. From setting the alarm very early in the morning every day so you can get to your destination on time, to establishing the suitable number of stops, so you can achieve your objective…

8. Establishing small objectives

When home confinement started, we were told about the importance of having small objectives, milestones. Reducing the number of people infected, the number of people in the hospital, increasing the number of saved patients, flatten the curve on Coronavirus… To achieve a long distance goal, it is important to divide our project in small pieces. And celebrate each one of them, when it’s done.

Something very similar happens on the Camino de Santiago: the route is long, getting to Santiago de Compostela is time consuming. However, each stage represents a short Camino itself. Each kilometer we walk, each day we arrive to our destination… Those are the small objetives, so necessary to reach our final goal.

Quedate en casa pero no dejes de soñar

9. Sense of humor

This situation is very difficult, no one is questioning this. But a very important element to cope, is our sense of humor. We are immersed on an emotional rollercoaster every day: sad moments when bad news come, big moments when the numbers are positive… Grief and respect are very important, but also is our sense of humor. It is an essential tool during home confinement, on the Camino de Santiago, and in our normal life.

Sometimes there is nothing we can do to change the reality. But we can face it with some sense of humor.

10. And the most important thing to remember: people

The Coronavirus crisis is having a huge impact in many sectors: work, politics, economy… But, undoubtedly, in our order of priorities, people goes first. We had to stop working as we were doing before we were home confined, and this will affect families. But the priority are the health services, to try to avoid the number of people infected as much as possible, and save lives.

It is very very curious to recall that, on the Camino Santiago, the human factor is also a key element. When we ask pilgrims about their best anecdotes or memories related to their experience, the people is always mentioned. From that pilgrim I had an amazing chat with in my albergue; that old lady who came with me to the closest pharmacy; the kid who cheered me up with a loud “Buen Camino!” when I thought I didn’t have any energy left to continue my walk… We should never forget this, during the home confinement, or on the Camino… it is always about the people.

What about you? Which lessons have learnt from being at home, that can be applied to the Camino de Santiago?

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