Camino de Santiago: Learn To Rest Not Quit

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My Camino de Santiago walk this summer was the experience of a lifetime.  Yet my Camino was nearly over before it started….here’s why.

The week before I was due to start the Camino de Santiago, I was rushed to Hospital because of a serious reaction to antibiotics. My blood pressure was badly affected and I had to have an ECG and blood tests to check my heart was ok.  There were a couple of days when I experienced severe palpitations and an erratic heartbeat. Talk about rushes of blood to the head!

During those two days, I was scared.  I was scared of the feeling of my heart hammering in my chest.  I was scared of the drum that was banging in my head as my blood pressure went crazy.  I was scared of the tiny lumps that appeared in my neck as my lymph system went into overdrive.  I was scared of the challenge I had set myself.  I sat in my weakened state and felt completely overwhelmed at the thought of walking 700km.  I was ready to throw the towel in.

Until I came across a quote on Facebook.  “When you’re tired, learn to rest not quit.

So I took the Doctor’s advice to go to Northern Spain to rest in the cooler weather and delayed my start of the Camino for two weeks.  I arrived in Pamplona, the first major spanish city on the Camino route.  I watched Pilgrim after Pilgrim passing through.  Still unsure whether my Camino would begin.  And I rested.

After 11 days, I was given the go ahead to begin my Camino.  I was apprehensive with no option but to go day by day for the first week to check my body would hold up. And it did my friends. The first week was an absolute killer.  By the second week, I was back on form and walking on air.

The Camino is a four to five week walk through mountains, the desert and vineyards at high temperatures. The walk really began in the months beforehand, when I trained to get ready. I believe my level of fitness helped me to overcome the reaction and the reason why I recovered and was able to go head with my Camino walk.

So I’m blessed to have walked the Camino. I had the time of my life yet I came so close to throwing the towel in.  I’m grateful for the one line quote that shifted my perception.

So if you are tired, learn to rest not quit.  You never know what you might miss if you throw the towel in too early.

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(c) Samantha Wilson 2016.  All Rights Reserved.