In 2013 after I quit my job and decided to take a sabbatical year, the idea of walking the Camino de Santiago began to take forms in my mind. I was not quite sure whether I was ready to walk the whole six weeks as it was more of an impulse of the moment rather than something I had been planning on.
One day I was talking to a very good friend of mine who at that time had two small children at home. She suddenly said to me “listen, if you are willing to walk the last 115km instead of the whole camino, I will walk with you.”
Said and done. Only a few weeks later in April 2013, we were sitting on a plane to Spain.
We were prepared for rainy weather as we knew that April was quite rainy in western Spain at that time of the year, however, our decision was deliberately made for that period as we knew that the place was crowded in summer with pilgrims and finding places to sleep was supposed to be very challenging.
The six days in which the rain kept pouring down brought out the best and the worst in us, and we experienced some tension between us. Imagine walking six to eight hours daily in constant rain. We got used to it at times, but sometimes, mostly towards the end of the day, frustration took over us and we cried out into the face of the rain “when will you finally stop?”
On the second day of our pilgrimage, we decided on a strategy though: we would walk only if we were still talking to each other. The moment we got too tired, and felt tension coming up, we decided to stop and search for a place to sleep.
The rain finally stopped on the last day when we were walking towards the town of Santiago de Compostela. The sun came out as if it wanted to reward us for all our efforts. The cathedral was covered in bright light and the air was full of happiness coming from the pilgrims sitting in the sun, eyes closed, enjoying the warm air on their skins.
We felt relief, happiness, sadness, joy, all in one. Arriving at our destination after six days of walking in the pouring rain changed something in us. I believe the biggest lesson for us was to learn to accept situations exactly how they were. Nature was indifferent to our yelling, anyways.