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8 Life Lessons from the Camino de Santiago

8 Life Lessons from the Camino de Santiago

In the 6 months because I boarded my trip home from Spain to the United States, my mind has actually swirled with representations on my experience strolling the Camino de Santiago. When I initially got back, I questioned if the 500-mile, 33-day expedition would certainly motivate a significant revelation or stimulate a substantial life adjustment when I went back to my life in Los Angeles, California. 

Would I tie up my footwear and opt for a lengthy stroll every early morning? Would I remain in touch with fellow explorers I fulfilled in France and Spain? Or would certainly I go back to my life and imitate absolutely nothing had ever before occurred?

Since returning, I’ve responded to those inquiries and acquired more understanding right into the lessons the trip has actually implied for me and for numerous others that have actually strolled the Camino de Santiago. 

What is The Camino de Santiago?

camino de santiago church

Before we begin, allow’s talk a little regarding The Camino de Santiago. Also called the Way of St. James, it is a network of expedition courses resulting in the temple of the apostle Saint James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain.

This historical expedition, which goes back to the Middle Ages, brings in hundreds of explorers from worldwide every year. Traditionally embarked on for spiritual factors, contemporary explorers likewise stroll the Camino for spiritual development, journey, and social expedition. The courses differ in size and problem, with one of the most preferred being the Camino Francés, which begins in St. Jean Pied de Port in France and periods roughly 500 miles (800 kilometers).

Jen Pellerito shares right here lessons discovered by strolling this historical path, and since we have actually reviewed it, we are extra established to tackle this extraordinary expedition in 2025! If you are preparing your Camino de Santiago walking, review Jen’s blog post regarding Where to Stay on the Camino de Santiago

Time relocates slower when you’re strolling

camino de santiago walking

When you stroll the Camino, you can cover a range of 5 to twenty miles each day, which takes anywhere from 5 to 8 hours. It’s a plain comparison to regular life in the house, where we can drive, fly, or educate our means around.

When you stroll, you take a trip at a slower speed. The outcome of essentially relocating slower added to a feeling of having even more time on my hands.

I seemed like I might see the flow of time. I saw the the sunlight dropped at various times of day, just how the weather condition patterns transformed, and just how the blossoms flowered as the days passed. 

I discovered that absolutely nothing ever before remains the very same. My day-to-day regular remained to duplicate itself, yet every little thing worldwide remained to progress, also via apparently ordinary minutes.     

You’ll never ever check out your feet similarly once more

camino de santiago feet take a beating

On the Camino, my feet lost. It wasn’t simply sores that came to be a concern — it was the effect of strolling on tough surface areas, specifically when declining. Read extra pointers to Staying Safe and Healthy on a Hiking Adventure

I saw my feet swell like they’d never ever inflamed prior to. I saw my toes hemorrhage from sores that took the chance of infection. And ultimately, I saw my feet recover. 

I invested hours fretting, chatting, and, yes—grumbling—regarding my feet. For the very first time, I discovered just how to look after them. 

I used Vaseline on my toes and heels several times a day and learnt more about the very best sort of textile to maintain them cool down and as completely dry as feasible in high-heat problems (it’s woollen, incidentally)!

I wrapped my feet, wished them, and thanked them when they ultimately came to be more powerful.

Your feet can take you numerous areas, yet just if you care for them along the road. 

Community and link 

camino de santiago community at hostel

Five days right into strolling, I was being in my Airbnb host’s suffocating cooking area, sweating bullets. My toes were full of sores, and my host was mosting likely to pop them for me. I was horrified.  Check out How to Pack a Travel First Aid Kit

Admittedly, I’ve never ever managed sores a lot in my life time. I recognized absolutely nothing of just how to look after them, treat them, or stop infection. Especially in a scenario where I intended to go on strolling – without time to remainder.

My host, that had actually been a registered nurse in her home nation, talked no English and extremely little Spanish. She made use of a translation application on her phone to assist us interact in bite-sized expressions, one line each time. 

My head swam, queasy. Would this go extremely incorrect?   

Finally, after what seemed like an hour going back and forth via her translation application, she popped my initial sore. Then the following. It injured a whole lot much less than I thought of. 

I’d simply fulfilled her minutes in the past, and she was looking after me in my most terrible minute. It generated an entire brand-new degree of susceptability and humbleness. 

Walking the Camino will certainly reveal you that we’re done in this, with each other. 

The Camino supplies

camino de santiago route

It’s not almost foot treatment. Sharing dishes, medication, language, and, just, the business of others produces a network of treatment. On the Camino, assistance isn’t simply offered; it’s provided. 

People prepare to keep an eye out for each and every various other, confirming that also when you’re strolling alone, you’re never ever really alone.

This spirit of sociability and assistance is what makes the Camino such a unique and unique experience. Whether you’re a skilled explorer or a first-timer, you’ll discover that there’s constantly a person ready to help or share a kind word.

As you make your means along the path, you’ll experience individuals from all profession, each with their very own tale to inform. Some are looking for spiritual knowledge, while others are just seeking a brand-new journey.

But regardless of what brings you to the Camino, everybody shares a typical bond of compassion and empathy.

We all stroll the very same Camino

camino de santiago getting stronger

When I reflect to my time on the Camino, I bear in mind the days when I strolled slower than numerous various other explorers, also those years older than me. But when I lastly neared the last stretch towards Santiago, I discovered my stride, I came to be more powerful, and I strolled much faster than I had in the past. 

Yes, some individuals still strolled faster than me—or two times as for I carried out in a solitary day—yet lastly, after weeks of strolling, the initial 8 miles of the day came to be a wind, when it had actually when been extremely difficult.

This experience educated me that life is not a race. We all progression at our very own rate, and there’s no worth in contrasting our courses to those of others. The Camino, just like life, is an individual trip for each and every person.

Learning to relocate sync with others, instead of in competitors, has actually brought me tranquility and aided me approve my present phase in life (my thirties) extra beautifully. It has actually likewise permitted me to value my very own landmarks without determining them up versus others’ successes.

The essential point is, we’re all joined by one typical objective — to get to Santiago.

Achieving an objective requires time

camino de santiago acheiving goals

I’ll confess. I’m a nit-picker. When I stop working, I stop working hard. I come to be so beat that I never ever intend to attempt something once more.

Walking the Camino revealed me that objectives are completed via a million landmarks along the road. 

One day each time, I relocated additionally towards my objective of getting to Santiago de Compostela. I didn’t give up when it obtained hard. I didn’t quit when it seemed like I’d currently fallen short.

Yes, I relaxed when I required to. I took the bus on the days when I dropped ill, and my feet couldn’t deal with the discomfort any type of longer.

But that’s not giving up. 

The trip hammered home the concept that excellence isn’t the objective. Progress is the objective. 

Each action relocated me ahead. Big objectives obtain completed via little victories. 

Real toughness isn’t regarding just how much you can stroll in someday. It’s regarding your determination and versatility, despite the variety of miles.

You discover to pay attention to your body

camino de santiago gear

I took the bus when I actually needed to. I didn’t stroll every mile of the Camino Frances, and it dissatisfied me at the time. But currently, I understand that understanding your body’s restrictions suggests toughness.

Recognizing when to press and when to stop briefly is a kind of knowledge. 

On the Camino, I discovered just how to tune right into what my body was informing me. The periodic lengthy stretch of silence while strolling alone likewise aided me pay attention to my ideas extra very carefully. 

Balancing passion with self-care is still a difficulty for me. In day-to-day life, it’s simple to neglect our restrictions to fulfill our very own or others’ assumptions. On the Camino, I discovered to worth self-awareness and the nerve it requires to recognize my demands.

Grief occurs whenever anybody leaves us

On the Camino, you may serendipitously wind up strolling with the very same team of individuals. Pilgrims phone call this your “Camino family.” Some individuals stroll the whole means with the very same team, while others, for one factor or an additional, wind up dividing. 

As I strolled, I discovered myself weaving in and out of various teams, rapidly clicking with individuals I’d simply fulfilled. But when the Camino got into 2 areas, and my buddies selected a various course, I needed to bid farewell. Saying bye-bye to these newly found buddies was difficult, like a mini broken heart. 

I questioned if our courses would certainly ever before go across once more. To me, it really felt like the despair I’ve really felt when a person near me has actually died. These minutes on the Camino were raw tips of just how promptly links can develop and just how shateringly they can split, resembling the bittersweet truth of the numerous partnerships we have throughout our lives. 

But extra significantly, the splitting up acted as a pointer to stay in today. I expanded to value the business of those I was with, in the minute. Grief is an all-natural component of the human experience. 

I discovered to value minutes of link, also if they were short lived, and make tranquility with the certainty of adjustment and loss.

Embracing the Journey Ahead

Thinking back on my month strolling the Camino de Santiago, the factors for my trip have actually ended up being much more clear.

It’s like looking into your shoulder when you’re treking. When you’re strolling, you’re engaged in the hills, and you just see rocks and dust. Miles later on, the complete sight of those hills comes to be clear.

At the moment, I couldn’t realize the complete effect it would certainly carry me. Now, recalling, I can value the value of the lessons discovered. 

Distance assists you recognize the enormity of what you’ve experienced.

And so, the stroll proceeds, one action each time.

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