Ten life lessons you will learn on the Camino de Santiago
Do you want to know what lessons you will learn in the Camino de Santiago? The lessons of the Jacobean route are, without a doubt, one of the reasons why thousands of people are encouraged to complete the Camino de Santiago every year. Some of them even visit the road several times in their lives.
The Camino de Santiago must bring them something special. If something many of those pilgrims that we have accompanied on the Camino de Santiago agree on, their trip to Compostela has changed their way of seeing the world.
Doing the Camino de Santiago is much more than just a simple adventure. The road has a lot to offer you. One of those things is great learning.
It is an experience that you should live at least once. If you have not decided yet, in this article we tell you what lessons you will learn on the Camino de Santiago. You will soon see that this is a very enriching experience, full of vital lessons.
Lesson 1: The Camino is self-improvement
“May the force be with you.” You don’t have to be a Jedi to get to Compostela, but you will need a lot of willpower and conviction to face all the challenges that arise along the way and reach your goal.
Of the first lessons, you will learn on the Camino de Santiago is self-improvement. You will overcome yourself, both physically and mentally.
Many pilgrims start out from Roncesvalles, following the Camino Frances. At the exit of the town, there is an emblematic traffic sign that indicates 790 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela. Most of the pilgrims, when they see it, think they won’t get there. Most people do!
Evidently, many pilgrims suffer in some moments on the Camino de Santiago. Blisters, fatigue, joint discomfort, heat, etc. are all factors that can make you want to throw in the towel and go home.
They are moments of adversity in which the power is mostly in the mind. To overcome these and continue, it will teach you that, although there are bad moments, in the end, they are outweighed by the good ones.
After doing the Camino de Santiago, you will no longer doubt when you need to be brave. You will learn not to give up so easily when you want to achieve your goals.
Lesson 2: The weight of the material and spiritual
One of the most valuable teachings of the Camino de Santiago is that you will learn to evaluate the weight of your backpack. Both physical and spiritual.
Learning to dispense with the material is one of the lessons that pilgrims and the most valued learn. Probably at the time of preparing your journey on the Camino de Santiago, you’ll think that you need a lot of things.
If you fall into the temptation of filling your backpack of “if only’s”, you’ll end up hating your decision in the first few kilometres. Soon you will realize that the weight of these material objects is too great to allow you to enjoy the experience.
The road teaches you to focus on your own real needs. To put aside superfluous material. If you look at your obligation to lighten your backpack, you will quickly learn that it takes very little to be happy.
Many elder people, who live on the edges of the Camino de Santiago, say that the weight of the pilgrims’ backpack represents their emotional burdens. They are the true sages of the Camino, they have seen hundreds and hundreds of pilgrims pass before them. Therefore, if they say so, we believe it.
As you complete, step by step, the kilometres that separate you from Santiago de Compostela, you will realize that the only really important thing is your emotions. These must also be light.
The Camino de Santiago will give you excellent opportunities to leave behind guilt, commitments, false expectations, etc. On the Camino de Santiago, you will also have the opportunity to get rid of your emotional backpack.
Time by yourself and conversations with other pilgrims will help you identify them. One of the lessons you will learn on the Camino de Santiago is that with less weight in your backpack, you need to make less effort in life.
Lesson 3: You will understand how important the Camino is
Of all the teachings of the Camino de Santiago, this is the most popular. If you ask anyone what lessons you will learn on the Camino de Santiago, it is probably the one you that you will mention. However, although many people repeat it incessantly, it is difficult to realize this.
Many pilgrims need to reach Santiago de Compostela, once there, to realize that the real wonder was on the Camino, and not in Santiago. It is certainly one of the life lessons that we should all take from the Camino de Santiago.
How many times have you not waited to have one item or another to feel happy? Without realizing that true happiness was what you were living to achieve your goals.
The Camino de Santiago teaches you that the goal helps you move. However, it is on the path where the magic is hidden. It is where you can find the experiences, enjoyment and a multitude of small treasures.
Lesson 4: The Camino is achieving small goals
Many times we consider goals in life that are not easy to reach. Achieving to them is a lot of work and, right away, we are discouraged and convinced that we will not be able to reach them.
The same goes for the trip to Santiago de Compostela. If you want to get the Compostela, you will not get to Santiago in a day. You will have to learn to value every step of the way until you reach your goal.
Just surpassing each of the stages on your pilgrim’s route it’s possible to reach the Apostle’s tomb. You will leave the Camino de Santiago, having learned that only by completing small objectives can you achieve what you desire.
Another of the wonderful things that you learn on the Camino de Santiago is that you will realize that by completing each goal, as insignificant as it may seem, you’ll experience enormous satisfaction with yourself. That energy is what gives you the strength to continue advancing towards your destiny.
Yes, that’s right. Even if you are a very impatient person, the Camino will teach you to be patient. You will learn to value the steps you complete and assume the rest with enthusiasm and without stress.
Lesson 5: Effort is personal and non-transferable
No one who has completed the Camino de Santiago would hesitate to recognize that it is only possible to do so with effort. That the key to success is in the effort, seems like an obvious life lesson. However, many of us need to be reminded of this.
Not all pilgrims make the same effort. Not everyone is in the same condition, nor all of them carry the same weight. This does not prevent all of them from successfully reaching their goal.
Each one will make their effort according to their limits. Some will advance faster, others slower. Some will travel more kilometres and others less. But each one of them will strive to achieve their dream.
Another lesson you will learn on the Camino de Santiago is not to compare your effort with that of others. Pilgrimage is a turning point to learn to live without giving up. Success implies sacrifice.
Lesson 6: The secret of not doing anything
One of the great problems facing today’s society is the vertiginous pace of life that we have. A lot of people want to stop, but they don’t know how.
The Camino de Santiago, like any pilgrimage, has a strong social feeling, but also has moments of solitude, stop, and rest. On many stages, you will finish the tour in places where there is nothing to do, just rest and wait the next morning.
Blessed are those moments! The famous Italian phrase: “Il dolce far Niente”. (The art of doing nothing) On those occasions, there is no need to have any plans. The only option there is to stop and see what the afternoon brings.
We advise you to avoid avoiding those moments using your mobile. You will see how the Camino de Santiago teaches you to enjoy doing nothing. It’s not that hard, it’s just that we’re not used to it.
Lesson 7: Santiago puts your problems into perspective
One of the reasons many people visit the Apostle’s tomb is to benefit from the favours of the saint. However, his miracles begin long before you reach his grave.
On the Camino de Santiago, you will learn an important lesson in life: perhaps your problems are not so great. It is common for pilgrims to speak on the journey to Compostela about their reasons for doing the Camino de Santiago or what they’re worried about in their life.
You’ll probably hear fascinating, even admirable stories. Some people have overcome great adversity in their lives and walk to Santiago as a token of gratitude. Listening to other people’s life stories will make you think that, maybe, you’re luckier than you think.
On the Camino de Santiago, it is said: Smile! Life is beautiful. If others have been able to overcome their problems, I can do it too.
Lesson 8: It will show you how to improvise and accept
Usually, when you go on a trip, you take a very detailed route with the places you will visit and the tourist stops you want to make. Of course, on the Camino de Santiago, pre-planning is also necessary.
However, improvisation floods the pilgrim path. The number of services that proliferate on all routes of the Camino de Santiago, especially on the Camino Frances, allow you to let go.
As soon as you get used to pilgrim’s routines, you will learn to improvise, even if you are one of those people who like to have everything planned. You’ll stop anticipating where you’re going to stop for coffee or lunch. You will simply stop at any location that captures your attention.
Unexpected things will also appear. Difficulties in finding accommodation, sudden injuries, even if you have spent a lot of time training for the Camino, etc. All this will force you to make decisions on the move and to accept things as they come.
You will leave the pilgrim path having learned that nothing happens if things do not go as planned. You had a great time anyway.
Lesson 9: You will learn about the power of a new day
Doing the Camino de Santiago is a demanding journey. An adventure that puts you to the test. Walking 20 kilometres a day implies considerable high physical demand. Hence, injuries (blisters, chafing, joint problems, sores, etc.) are very common among pilgrims.
One of the lessons of the Camino de Santiago is the power of a new day. There will probably be days you’ll suffer from some of those annoyances. You will arrive at the end of your stage, exhausted, wanting to leave.
However, after a night of rest, you will wake up the next day full of energy. Whatever it was that bothered you the previous afternoon, seems to disturb you less the next morning. You feel ready to go on with the adventure.
The same thing happens in our daily lives. Sometimes, after a bad day, we feel it’s the end. That we do not want to continue with that project or that we do not want to continue with a relationship. The world seems to fall in on us.
But the arrival of a new day is a new beginning. A new opportunity to keep trying. A whole new day. Radically different from the previous one. A day that, perhaps, comes full of gifts.
Lesson 10: On the Camino you will learn to go forward without fear
Many people come to the Camino de Santiago with fear of getting lost. That fear, sometimes, is the same fear they feel in their daily lives. Without a doubt, everyone, on occasions, is afraid to feel lost.
On the Camino de Santiago, you will realize that there are not so many crosses. Advancing in a straight line, it is impossible to get lost. Only when we reach a road intersection or when we pass by a detour, we have the option to take it. It’s at that point where you run the risk of being lost.
At most forks, or even in the vicinity of the detours, you will find a signal that will indicate the direction you must follow. You just have to keep your eyes peeled.
The workings of the Camino de Santiago give you an important life lesson. It’s not that easy to get lost. We can move forward without fear.
There are not so many crosses in our lives and, as it happens on the pilgrim path, if we look at the signs, we will know where we should continue. Have you read the “The Alchemist ” by Paulo Coelho? Well, the lesson is similar.
For us, of all the lessons you will learn on the Camino de Santiago, this is one of the most important. Because it helps you feel calm, both within your comfort zone and outside it.
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If you’re ready to accept the challenge of the lessons on the Camino de Santiago, here we leave the steps need to organize your journey to Santiago for you. If you want us to help with planning your tour, do not hesitate to contact us. We would love to share with you these lessons on the Camino de Santiago and many others!