Walking the Camino – How to Prepare

The Camino de Santiago is an 800 km or 500 mile walk through France and Spain. It is a pilgrimage walk that has been around for thousands of years that has many trails originating around Europe. It was said that you could step outside your door and begin the pilgrimage from anywhere in Europe. During the time of occupation by the Ottomans in Jerusalem the Way of St James became a safer pilgrimage and acceptable in the eyes of the church for pilgrimage absolution.

St James was supposedly buried there after having floated there from Jerusalem on a ruder-less boat. I don’t know about that. There are many beliefs surrounding the pilgrimage that many believe or don’t believe but there is one binding factor with nearly all pilgrims who we encountered or spoke to had one thing in common: the sense of being called to walk The Way!

Many including myself when they find out about the Camino Way have a strong sense that not only would they like to do the long walk but there is a strong feeling of “having” to do the walk.

For me it started after I watched the movie, “The Way”, written and directed by Emilio Esteves and starring his father Martin Sheen.  It is the story of a father who completes the trek after his son dies on the Way getting caught in bad weather: something that is a common occurrence as seen by the memorial headstones dotted along the pathways.

Once I saw the film I knew I had to do it. But at the time I was pretty much chair bound with illness and pain. However, within a couple of years I set the date to make the journey.

It was 2 years down the track, the year we celebrated 40 years of marriage and Paul turned 60. Also, it would give me time to gain my health back, while starting to train for the walk.

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In training in the Philippines. Early hours of the morning because past sun rise, the heat was too much.

One of the first thing I did was buy a pair of comfy training shoes. They were light, a size larger then I needed (to help with blisters), and didn’t confine my feet and cause pain. The first pair of shoes that didn’t cause me pain!

I walked in rain, in the cold, the heat, the day, the dark, by myself, and with others. The time rolled by as the miles did.

So here are some of the preparations myself and Paul underwent to prepare for the Camino.

  1. Set a date – Setting a date  brings the goal into focus and plans will begin to take shape.
  2. Train – Set up a training program and stick to it. I tried to do at least 6-8 kilometers a day more on others in any kind of weather, wet, cold, hot, everything except for thunderstorms – They were a no go!  I would also recommend stretches to build strength. The one I didn’t do enough of was to door more hill climbs.
  3. Carry a pack – The more I started to walk I would add weights to a pack to increase my ability to carry a pack. I even used coral rock in the Philippines to get used to the added weight.
  4. Study – Increase your knowledge of the paths you will follow. Understanding the terrain and what is ahead in terms of weather, and accommodation. Also understanding how diet and water affects walking.
  5. Purchase the correct equipment –

       –  Pack – We changed Paul’s pack right at the end. It has to have a waist band to                 take the weight and not pull on the shoulders.

–  Rainwear  – A good rain coat is important. We will probably go with the Atalaa next time. Our ponchos were ok but not great. They needed to be longer although they were light weight – always a consideration. The Atalaa people seemed to just cruise by unscathed by the weather on themselves or their packs.

Footwear – Of course it goes without saying – correct footwear is a must. I was told to go a size bigger and it worked. Two pairs of socks fill the gaps. Duct tape is a must. Prevents blistering!

Underwear. We opted mainly for bamboo socks and jocks. I would hope for a better fitting pair next time that dried quicker. Also undergarments that wick moisture away from your body too.

 – Poles – this is not last for any reason but they definitely were our definite bring along. Some did walk without them – good luck to them. I would never think of it! They were invaluable. Spring loaded were good but not particularly necessary. We didn’t go very expensive due to financial constraints and it really didn’t seem to make a difference, except the tips do wear out after 40 days of pounding. They can be purchased along the way.

6. Stay the course – There may be  road blocks or at least detours so persevere. Keep focused. Don’t give up!

 

 

 

Posted in Christian living, Goal setting, health and wellness, Life, Uncategorized

Goals for the Year

The clock hits the 12 and the cheers go up! It is a new year! After the cheers go up the reflections for the new year start. Now it is February and those well thought out or emotionally charged goals are starting to hurt or are requiring effort. Some may have even fallen by the wayside already!

Goals – the desire to achieve a plan. We all would love to lose those extra pounds, get more dollars, find that new partner, or achieve those things we have wanted for a long time. We all have dreams, desires but seeing them come to pass is different to just wishing to see them come to pass.

Sometimes the goal is to complete the goals that we reset from the year before, that were set the year before that!!!! Hands up if that is you!! It is definitely me!

I once heard it said that the only difference between a millionaire and a billionaire is the billionaire looks at his goals twice a day and not just once. I love how we set goals and then don’t look at them for the rest of the year or if we do it’s with a slight glance not a deep longing!

Like everyone else, I have made goals, failed at achieving goals, achieved goals, and reinvented goals, and still continue to make them.  This year I wasn’t going to make any! I was going to sail into the new year on the boat of disillusionment and frustration .

But I succumbed! It took me about a week in to the new year. Paul and I were praying and each year we like to name our year prophetically. This year Paul called it – “Fulfillment.” We are in the process of a few projects and this thought started to resonate with me.

Eventually I started to set and refresh some goals and do the reset of the reset and start to believe that we will see them come to pass.

reset button

Some are so big they really are dreams! One year Paul and I sat down with brown paper and wrote and dreamed of what we would do if we had 100 million dollars. I found it last year and all of a sudden I am starting to dream again! One first goal is to keep looking at the goals!

I also am dreaming and planning of ways to see those 100 million dollar dreams come to pass. The 100 million is not for ourselves. Recently we were listening to sermons and reading about Joseph who had a dream. The purpose for his life was not just about him – it was to save the nations. That is our ultimate dream: To see nations saved!

Goal Setting

There is a curve, called the Sigmoid Curve, or S curve. It is like the ascending half of the bell curve, which shows that once you reach the pinnacle of anything, what follows then is  a descent. The theory in terms of goal setting is that once you are half way up the curve, you need to set a new goal in order to keep moving upwards and not start the decline down the other side.

Sigmoid-CurveWhen I first learned of this curve it made a lot of sense to me and something I introduced in to my life.

To explain how it works think of an Olympian. They work for years for their 4 minute event. They win! Now where do they go from here. They have conquered their goal. They have made it! If they have no new goal set already they often slip into decline in terms of depression, substance abuse, etc etc.

The Bible puts it beautifully in Proverbs 29:18 Without a progressive vision, people dwell carelessly – or another translation says they cast of restraint. Goals keep us restrained and focused.

Turning 60 this year means I have a whole new set that I am looking at on my dream board but I also still have others to see eventuate.  Yes I have a dream board as my screen back ground!  I will not stop dreaming until I dream my last!

What about you? Next time I will talk about planning. This is the why and how of goal setting. It’s how we see them accomplished.

Until next time

Don’t stop dreaming!

Narelle

 

 

Posted in camino de santiago, Christian living, energy, health and wellness, Life, Night shade Allergies, Uncategorized, walking, weight loss

Weight Loss Confusion!

Watching someone try to lose weight rapidly and discover the “journey” of weight loss and awareness of calories etc, has reminded me of just how consuming the whole concept of weight loss can be.

In 2012 when one of my daughters was encouraged to go on a Paleo diet for urgent health reasons, we both emptied our cupboards and cleansed! I also remember the absolute shock I felt as I discovered for years I had been looking at charts rather than the ingredients on products – sugars, salts, fats etc as compared to what was actually in the product. The shock stayed with me for months as I navigated the labyrinth of labels and what I thought were healthy alternatives only to discover they were laden literally with “poisons.”

I also remember the confusion of what is “healthy” and what diet is best etc. etc.

Here are 5 keys I have learned to help people maneuver  the “diet” world.

  1. Dieting sucks – lifestyle change has to be your mindset.

A “diet” insinuates a limited time span; a beginning and an end. Dietary changes have to be a life time mentality – unending. There may need to be a period of getting back on track or staying on track which requires a kick start but then you have to always be conscious of what you are putting in your mouth and why!

2.  Mindset is priority – Why do you overeat?

There is a whole psychology around overeating and I don’t intend to get in to it here as there are many reasons why people overeat: sadness, grief, rebellion, laziness, low self-esteem, comfort and the list continues. The benefit of a “time-frame” or health scare  can push us on-wards to changing our mindset to want to change our negative life habits permanently. That is only a kick start though and you have to realize this has to be a life style change – otherwise that weight will come back and stick like glue!

3.  Find what works for you – Find what will keep you motivated.

For me doing life in a gym or pool is never going to keep me motivated. Fresh air, meeting people, walking a dog, finding new paths, these are motivating and invigorating. Finding foods that work for me without making me feel I am missing out also helps keep me motivated. High allergies or intolerance from night shade plants, cause me some issues and can become frustrating but I have discovered that I love feeling well so not feeling well for the sake of a few mouthfuls is a high motivating factor! I really recommend initially working with a health professional to ensure there are no underlying issues and then find what will keep you motivated and interested in food control.

4.  Moderation – How much and what to eat!

There is so much confusion in terms of, “eat this – don’t eat that”. For example, eat eggs; don’t eat eggs. Eat butter; Don’t eat butter. Eat meat; Don’t eat meat. The lists go on. I believe God gave us everything to enjoy! It’s the over indulgence that is the issue for most western cultures. Limit the sugar, salt and fat products and you will see a change too.

So long as you use more then you put in you can keep the weight down. My husband, Paul has no issues with this one and really doesn’t understand my struggles  because he is constantly on the go and utilizes all he consumes. I on the other hand am more sedentary and have to work hard to do the same. My last few kilos I need to lose and have struggled with, mean I have to increase my burning and decrease my intake even more.

5. No Excuses

I can make all the excuses for why I am obese – too tired, too sick, too old, too much work but my health has to remain the utmost priority as it affects every area of my life. There is no excuse to maintain unhealthy life-style habits.

So these are 5 keys I have discovered over the past years of food issues and I will explore them more fully as I continue my journey of lifestyle habit changes.

Until next time – keep persevering. You don’t stop if you don’t stop!

Blessings Narelle

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Making it to the top of the ridge, following the thousands of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago or the Way who have passed this way before: a far cry from the couch potato of yesteryear! Determine today to follow the lead of those who have walked the paths of life style change!