The Post Camino Blues

As a disclaimer, I am no longer in a funk.  I still have the Post Camino Blues, however I have (thankfully) turned the corner from my sour and dragging disposition.  I felt compelled to go ahead and post this anyway, something I wrote about a week ago…img_7672For starters, I got a cold – and, it has been THE WORST!!!! I feel like I have had EVERY SINGLE cold symptom possible – and not all at the same time, but in stages. Two weeks after returning home from Spain, my cough began, with painful, middle of the night coughing jags lasting 20 minutes or so.  At one stage my eyes were weeping, then after a congestion phase, my right ear became completely plugged – and still is, a week later!IMG_6573  I finally got to the gym yesterday and did fine, but I am really amazed that my ear is still plugged up. img_3836I am grumpy and unmotivated.IMG_8647I live on a lake with a beautiful view in a really fun, walkable town. I am retired and have a husband who has no problem with my independent nature, many interests and mega involvement in a myriad of activities. I am healthy and energetic (usually), financially stable and want for little (if anything.) I am surrounded by natural beauty which I never take for granted and enjoy immensely – with ALL of my senses. I have supportive friends and family, can enjoyably escape into a book or music at any time and have a calendar full of fun and varied events. I KNOW all this, I am aware of my good fortune, I am Grateful, Appreciative and actively take advantage of the gifts I’ve been given and the lifestyle, that in many ways, I have earned by hard work, planning and goal setting, networking, ”showing up for drill”, endurance, perseverance and patience. Add that to the list – a sense of self worth.LindseyDenmanPhotography.1702220016WTFIMG_7170I MISS THE CAMINO! Yes, I know, “the camino” continues… I was on a “camino” before Spain and certainly I continue, but I miss the “Real” camino. Or do I? Do I just miss The Big Adventure, the unknown around every corner, the luxury (Ha!) and freedom to just wander (Ha Ha!), the lack of responsibility to anyone (perspective, ain’t it grand?!) I know that I miss my fellow pilgrims and the memory making we crafted together. I miss the cows. I miss the daily sense of accomplishment. I miss the fatigue (I do not miss the blisters). I (kind of) miss the challenge of navigating the foreign aspects of language, logistics, travel and getting needs met. I miss the crazy and warm connections with peregrinos from other countries, language barriers notwithstanding.

And what did I learn? How has this changed my life forever (as so many said it would)? I can’t tap into that. I literally cannot find that in my soul or heart and articulate it – and that makes me sad. Maybe mad. Certainly confused. One friend offered that I was already in much of the mode The Camino encourages for quite some time before I embarked upon the Via de la Plata route to Santiago de Compostela. Unlike many others who clearly saw their transformations, I was not one who was overwhelmed at work, out of balance in family/professional/recreational/spiritual/emotional facets of my life. I was not one who didn’t take the time to “stop and smell the roses”. I was not suffering a midlife crisis or mourning a major loss. Before heading to Spain, I already had a spiritual practice, walked along beautiful trails for hours – enjoying, praying, disconnecting from our toxic world and connecting with nature, as well as spending time in self evaluation and reflection of how to be less judgmental, more humble, more encouraging, more loving. She suggested that maybe that is a reason that my Life Changing Shift was not so perceptible…? Maybe… Honestly, I had hoped to make epic strides in my tolerance/judgement of others yet my experience of traveling in a group actually seemed to bring out the worst in me – which of course now I feel remorseful about, want a “do over” and ultimately am left with the “lesson” of how much further I have to go. That is good. That is tangible.

I looked forward to continuing my walking around town upon returning, with spring blooms everywhere, song birds and longer days – yet I have spent more time sitting on the couch these last two weeks than all the other months of this year combined… So “Not Me”. I cry a lot. I am crying now. I don’t have thoughts or tangible emotions attached to the tears.IMG_1871Friends are all, “I want to hear about your trip, tell me everything” and I don’t want to tell them anything. Seriously – how could I possibly share even an iota of my experience? How could they understand or relate? I decided I would just use happy and exciting adjectives to say how wonderful it all was in a sentence or two and then just field questions, taking early opportunity to change the focus to my interrogator’s life and, uh, move on.

I am trolling the pages of those pilgrims who post on the American Pilgrims On (the) Camino (APOC) Facebook group… I am spending hours looking at their pictures and reflections – often relating, often not. Searching, I think, for some clues to my “transformation”, certainly reminiscing.IMG_6696Layers and layers –
My head is clouded with them
When will the fog lift?img_6349

4 thoughts on “The Post Camino Blues

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    1. Certainly!! Not even close to the same, though. Those are both hiking/camping whereas the Camino has an infrastructure to support pilgrims with food and lodging. I also really enjoyed that it was something different. I have surroundings and opportunities all around me – in my own backyard- that are akin to the PCT & Appalachian…

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  1. This is such a fascinating post – kudos/thanks to you for posting it!! Who would think that after an epic life journey, sadness would follow, but it also makes sense! How did you turn the corner?

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