Camino del Norte Day 21: Refocusing on our goals

October 21, 2015

“Travel is not supposed to be comfortable.”  —Quote from a travel blogger we enjoy reading

“Boy is she right about that.”  —Dale


We decided to take a full rest day today and bus ahead to the city of Aviles, thus skipping what was considered by our guidebook to be the worst stretch of trail on the Norte, due to heavy industry and significant road hiking.

This was only our second rest day in three weeks, and we were due for one.  Dale was having stomach issues, and it was his turn to have doubts about the hike.  We’d hiked almost 240 miles so far, over halfway, and so what?  What would it get us?  What did we have left to prove?

I on the other hand had recovered from the fatigue of the last few days and was regaining my motivation.  I’ll tell you a big reason why: it was the first time since starting the Camino that I had seen myself in a full-length mirror.  The weight that I had put on over the first two months in Europe was almost gone, and I had become stronger and leaner thanks to the daily 10-20 mile hikes through hilly countryside.  In fact, I hadn’t been this fit in years.  Vanity, it turns out, is a strong motivator.

But beyond that, I was developing a clear picture of getting to Santiago and finally believing that I could finish this walk.

So it was my turn to be the strong one and offer encouragement to Dale.  I talked him through all the reasons we should keep going:  1) Because we wanted to see Spain in a way that most people never would 2) Because we wanted to challenge ourselves 3) Because we wanted to get fit and strong 4) Because we needed to finish what we’d started.

This last one was probably the most important reason to keep going.  We’re both good at planning things, maybe even starting them, but not always good at following through. An example: multiple times in the past we’ve talked about taking off and traveling the world, even going so far as announcing our intentions to family and friends, but in the end we backed out.  This time we were actually doing it–we had made significant lifestyle changes (getting rid of our belongings, quitting our jobs) and had already spent two months traveling Europe and three weeks hiking the Camino.  By god, we were going to finish it.

While Dale’s doubts weren’t a good thing, what was good was that I was feeling strong at a time when he needed encouragement, instead of it being the other way around.  For the first few weeks of the hike, he was the stoic one, the strong, motivated one, providing extra support to fragile little me.  And yet today, here I was, giving strength to my husband when he needed it.  And that’s the way it should be.  We should be a team, not just one person carrying the other.

Look who’s getting stronger.  🙂

We’ve written a lot about Camino del Norte!  Read more of our Camino blog posts here.