In one of my first blogs about the Camino, I talked about the why for this 5 week hike. Today, I want to talk about whether or not I achieved my goals. My goals were three-fold: Get in better shape; connect with God; research potential short-term teams for the Camino.
During my first week on the Camino, one of the hostel owners told me that most people don’t lose weight on the Camino. That boggled my mind, until I realized that the average person walking the Camino didn’t have to lose much weight, so the balance of gaining muscle and losing some fat would tend to leave them close to the same weight. I was not the average Camino hiker, so, yes I did lose weight around 25 lbs (~12kgs). I also definitely gained muscle and was in better shape when I was done than when I started. Did it jump-start weight loss though? Sadly, not really. It is easy to eat less and healthier when you are hiking every day because who wants to feel bad when they have to walk 6 hours the next day? It’s been a tough transition back to the “regular life” where I don’t have time to hike 6 hours a day and the goal of being in better shape is not as physical as a place you need to reach. It’s been tough, but the desire is still there.
My second goal was achieved, but just like the weight loss it is tough to continue. During the Camino I prayed every day and multiple times each day. I talked to God as a much more normal part of my day. Back in “real life” and the distractions are much more prevalent. Again, the desire is there, but finding a routine is much more needed than on the Camino,
The last goal was the biggest success of them all. My friend and I want to do a Camino hike short-term mission’s trip, so throughout my time I was thinking about how we could hike and serve simultaneously for a week, but then also serve for a second week while remaining in once place. What I found was that there are so many opportunities throughout the whole 5 weeks that it we could be very flexible and even hike the whole Camino over a 5 year period. There is a coffee/tea shop run by GEM missionaries at the end of week one where part of our team could serve while the others could set up break stations for people along the path leading to and from the city. The toughest section of the hike (the Meseta) can get really hot and boring, so providing cold water, or friends to walk with could aid those in need. I’ve got so many ideas that to share them here would get a bit long, but needless to say, I can see multiple ways in which we could effectively serve the pilgrims and show them the love of Christ. What comes of this is yet to be determined, but I would love for this to be a team I could lead every year for many years to come.