Cathedral windows #CaminoDeSantiago #spain #travel (at Catedral de Burgos)

Seems that we have another tumblr user just a few days behind goldiknocks.


Cathedral windows #CaminoDeSantiago #spain #travel (at Catedral de Burgos)

Seems that we have another tumblr user just a few days behind goldiknocks.


after dinner, i sat with a group watching liz and sebastian perform skits in french from a book they found in the albergue. slipping on red wine. feet up on benches. laughing. watching the energy flow from liz, a lover of all things, i tried to think about how to explain the camino to ordinary people in “real life.”

in between applause, kjartan leaned into me and asked, “would you ever be able to write about this? like, write to convey what this thing is about?”

i looked back at liz and the donkey and the fellow pilgrims smiling in unison, watching.

i laughed to myself and thought never. it would be impossible to capture the feeling of fatigue, losing control, of accepting, of joy.

this morning, like all mornings, it was hard to leave the comfort of this special oasis. lying in the tee-pee, facing the ceiling, kjartan looked to the left at liz and to the right to me.

"suddenly, i would be ok if we never made it to santiago." he said.

i feel the same way.

This so much reflects my feelings. This whole blog is about conveying something about the camino, but apart from giving tips and tricks to future pilgrims, it’s quite useless as far as conveying the Camino-feeling is concerned. And through this blog, I learned that you cannot convey feelings. Writing is just inept to achieve this. Either you’re there in Spain in the real mid-nowhere, and there is constant Spanish blabbering in the background, with house animals around, in peace and silence sitting on your shouder, carelessly, or you’re not there, and you can’t feel it. Words just fail to display what’s going on on the Camino.

Whenever I told my friends after coming home that I wished there was no Santiago and I could keep walking, walking and walking, they all looked at me as if I was crazy. And I can bet you anything that when you get home, you’ll be much more applauded about the 500 miles you’ve walked than the spiritual journey you’ve taken. And this is insane. Because by now you also know that the physical walk does not actually mean much. It’s a daily “chore” like cleaning the flat or catching the bus every morning. It’s just there.

And one more thing: your journey does not end in Santiago. You’re learning too much on the way to say that you’ll stop the way in Santiago. No. You’ll walk on with your Camino-wisdom.

Going with the flow

Following the pilgrimage of goldiknocks, I’m reliving my own pilgrimages from the distance of four and seven years, trying hard to put in writing what I have gathered on the way. It’s quite difficult, to be honest. Obviously, what I’m going to write now applies to me, so it may not work so well with others, and I also have to admit that this philosophy that I’m about to share had been in the works when I was walking. I had been living by this four years ago as well (and to a lesser extent, seven years ago too), but I have been following this path much more consciously since then.

The main motto for this philosophy (mantra, if you like) is this:

Go with the flow.

That’s the essence really, but I think it requires some guidance and explanation, now does it not?

Going with the flow to me means giving up. Giving up the burden of thinking too early, of making unnecessary decisions. I think, this is the essence of what the way taught me. I was so happy that I didn’t have to deal with complicated-looking issues of social relations (will my friends be hurt if I don’t drop them a line saying I’m fine? will x be angry with me if it turns out I invited y to a party but not x? well, fuck that.) I didn’t have to deal with what to eat. I ate what I had. If I didn’t have any food, I walked. Did I have other options? Thank God no.

Once you give up to live your life with you at the helm, life reveals its true face to you. Once you learn to ask questions when they are appropriate and not before; once you make decisions on the spot and stop contemplating over them ages before, you’ll realize that life gives you abundance and meaning that you would have skipped if you yourself were to navigate the way. It may turn out that you didn’t even have to think about making a certain decision, because the option to choose is not even provided to you. (I remember walking on the meseta seeing a village in the distance. I was thinking for at least 20 minutes trying to figure out if I needed to stop or not, then I realized the Camino just flew by the village I was thinking of stopping at. So I was deprived of being present on the way and I was deprived of enjoying the walk for 20 minutes. What a waste, what a waste.)

Going with the flow also means not to have expectations. By giving them up, you’ll be able to be happy and satisfied with what you’ve got, you’ll learn to appreciate whatever is given to you. (This is one of the golden rules I gave to goldiknocks: Accept whatever is given to you.) And yes, by giving up your expectations, you’ll be able to be joyful about those tiny gifts life’s giving you each day which you wouldn’t even have recognized, had you not gotten rid of your expectations. What do you deserve? You don’t deserve anything. You just get things which you have to use to the fullest possible extent. But by saying you deserve this, you imply that you have expectations, and if these are not met, then you are dissatisfied and unhappy. Now can you afford that? Can you afford not to be positive any minute of your life?

Going with the flow, as I mentioned, also means that you give up being in control, and hand over the steering wheels to… well, how do you call it. Some say God, others would say Superhuman or Supreme Being, still others would say Providence - the name you call it makes no difference. But to give up steering your life you need something. You need trust. You need to trust that whomever you give the wheels over to will know better where you are or should be heading. And yes, lack of trust is the reason why most people decide not to give up driving. Because “How would I be able to trust something I can’t even call a name, let alone see or meet?”

But you know, giving up control means turning on the auto-pilot. And the auto-pilot has some great ideas about where you should go. And it will surely bring good things, and it will give you challenges. One thing, however, it will not do: it won’t let you face shit you can’t handle. It will not give you the unbearable. And yes, unbearable is a direction that you, as the captain of your ship might navigate towards.

Going with the flow gives you a great realization. (This I actually figured out on the way.) The realization, that this stuff that I’m about to do has been done by so many others. Some better qualified than me. But, for God’s sake, there were, there must have been some (actually many) who were a lot less prepared to walk 20+ kilometers a day. And still, they did it. So who am I to say that I can’t do it.
On a personal note, we’re thinking about moving to an other country. We’re planning to wrap it all up here, and head elsewhere. Not because we’re unhappy here. It’s just that we want to test ourselves. And my wife shares her worries with me: “How are we going to manage with the kids all alone? Without the help of our parents? (They help us a lot indeed.) How will we cope with a different culture and language? How are the kids going to fit in?” And as the wise man I am (kidding), I’m always answering her: “Do you think we are the first to do it? Do you think that we are the first couple with kids to move to a foreign country? Haven’t many others faced the same challenge successfully? Yes, they have. We can’t see them, but we’re in their footsteps.” Countless, countless pilgrims have walked the way. Some are over seventy. And they can do it. So can you. Seemingly, many of us learned to drive - it seemed so impossible on your first lesson with the instructor sitting next to you, right?

So, to wrap it all up for now, I think this is it. Going with the flow means that you agree to give up your expectations for the sake of finding joy in whatever is given to you. It also means giving up control, so that life can take you wherever it pleases, but you must have trust that it will not fuck you up. Or at least not that badly. And going with the flow also means a realization that you are not alone. You follow the footsteps of others, and others are following you. And those who are forced in the same situation as you will be open to help you, because they have no reason not to do so, and you can rely on their insights.

I’m wondering why it works only on the Camino. I’m wondering why helping each other works there and not outside it. I’m wondering why you share your bread on the way with basically anyone who’s wearing a scallop shell, and why you’re not doing it to a beggar in the city.

I’m sorry, I was heading in a different direction in the end. These are just poetical questions you’re free to wonder while you’re going with the flow.


today’s word: the meseta. (inner plateau).

one fellow tumblr friend, @elcaminodesantiago, has been sending me amazing messages of support throughout this journey. they come at times when i need a cheerleader, even though i have never met him and probably never will. i always feel grateful.

a few days ago, he wrote to me about “the meseta”: a 12 day stretch of aired county in spain where life becomes a series of small/dry town after small/dry town. it’s hot. it’s not scenic and many pilgrims choose to skip it.

i am in it right now.

@elcaminodesantiago mentioned that the meseta is the second phase of the camino. if the camino is truly representative of life, the meseta
is the teenage years. a time of maturing and really thinking about the things necessary for a pilgrim to become a seasoned journeyer. like the passage into adulthood. he also warned that many people meet their devil in the meseta.

i have already met mine.


i am afraid of being vulnerable, loved. accepting the real me and actually getting the kind of life i envision. the kind i deserve.

my devil has presented himself in a few different forms since burgos. it’s been confusing and hard and beautiful. so far, i’ve been only accepting his presence. asking questions. and trusting that the camino will provide answers to my deepest concerns.

i am not usually this kind of optimist, but at this point i have no choice. i can do what i usually do which is try to control my thoughts/feelings/actions. in an effort to evolve, i will do what is uncomfortable, which is to let go. face my devil head-on.

bring it, mother fucker.

and for the first time, i feel like i might finally becoming an adult.




yesterday’s word was: leaving.

i didn’t want to leave burgos. it was a magical experience with liz and kjartan. at one point as we sat around a small cafe table sharing our responses to “why are you walking the camino?” we talked about leaving home behind. seeking truth. forgiving ourselves. and love.

i reached into my pack and pulled out my journal. i read a quote from “eat, pray, love” and in the best, most special way possible, the quote used all the words we had just spoke about. the three of us looked at each other and in that moment, my heart felt like it had found its place.

leaving burgos meant leaving behind that moment.

walking the following day i felt panicked. like in my head i actually had a mini temper tantrum. i didn’t want to walk. to move forward. to leave. “i want to stay in burgos!” i said aloud. yelled actually.

we walked late, and around two in the afternoon we found a little oasis in the middle of the meseta, the hardest part of the camino. in the shade, we sat. we rested. and again, my heart felt like it had found its place.

getting up and walking into the hot sun, i said aloud again, “i want to stay here!”

"you really have a problem with leaving, don’t you?" kjartan said.

i think i do.

to leave means leaving something behind. a feeling, a person, a place. something nice.

but i’m realizing that you have to leave in order to arrive at something else that could be even better.

it seems easy to leave behind bad things. a career or location or even a person. why do we cling to these things? comfort? control?

at the camino, you have no choice. well, i could have stayed in burgos, actually. but i didn’t. i am choosing to continue, to keep walking, continue to make room for new experiences. new people. new places to rest this little heart.

i am choosing to leave.

and i am really glad about it.




long day past vineyards, olive trees, wheat fields and grass. in torres del rio.


someone please kill me if i ever say these word again: lets keep going. it’s just another 6km.

#neverforget #neveragain #fried

you will soon learn to notice when enough is enough.:)

It was four years ago yesterday

Logroño - Najera

Pilgrim Goldiknocks is starting tomorrow.

Pilgrim Goldiknocks is starting tomorrow.




10 things that i have discovered so far on my trip. 

1. walking 500 miles is a crazy idea. and i’m not quite sure how i am going to do it.

Well, I believe you start once, and then you never stop.:)

Don’t think, “I still have 487 miles to go!” etc. Instead, each morning, think only of the day’s journey ahead, like, “Hey, Villatuerta is only 20km from here, let’s see if I can make it there today.” Just do each day’s journey… The Camino will put itself together for you :)

Or just follow the one-bit attitude.

I need to walk. Can I?

  • Yes - Go
  • No - Stop, find medicine, cure, doctor, whatever it takes to answer with Yes.

Go. Are you hungry?

  • No - Go.
  • Yes - Do you have food?

Yes - Eat, then Go.

No - Go.

Go. Are you thirsty or need coffee?

  • No - Go.
  • Yes - Have you got any water or is there a coffee bar nearby?

Yes - Drink water or coffee, then Go.
No - Go.

Go. Do you think that you have walked enough for the day?

  • Yes - Stop.
  • No - Go.


10 things that i have discovered so far on my trip. 

1. walking 500 miles is a crazy idea. and i’m not quite sure how i am going to do it.

Well, I believe you start once, and then you never stop.:)