Friday, 14 October 2016

Another attempt at travelling light 14th October 2016 by Susanne Irving

I am on my way to walk the Camino Ingles from Ferrol to Santiago de Compostela. It is not as well-known as the famous Camino route through France, but you are supposed to be able to walk the 118 kilometres in a week.

Unlike my Kilimanjaro adventure, there will be no altitude sickness to worry about. However, there will also be no porters and no husband to carry my rucksack when I am tired – a great incentive to reduce the weight of my rucksack.

The decision to leave books, my Kindle and knitting material at home was easy when I considered who would have to carry them.

Every item had to earn its place in my bag, and I haggled for every gram of weight. (Did you know that you can save a few grams by taking a bamboo toothbrush and tooth powder instead of a regular toothbrush and travel toothpaste or that a small piece of Citronella soap can replace shower gel, shampoo and washing powder? It also serves as an insect repellent should there be any mosquitoes this late in the season)

Seasoned Camino walkers recommend carrying no more than 10-12 kilograms EXCLUDING food and drinks, and the weight of my rucksack is down to 9 kilograms, INCLUDING water and food. (No big container of homemade flapjacks either this time!)

Whilst I am really proud of this achievement, I have realized that reducing my physical baggage is only half of the battle. What is more likely to weigh me down is my mental baggage, all the what if’s (what if we cannot find accommodation, what if my ankle plays up again, what if we get lost, what if it rains non-stop…) and if only’s (if only I had trained harder for this, if only I had booked accommodation in advance, if only I knew that my plans will work this time). It is so easy to keep adding to the mental baggage and let my fear rather than faith do the talking.

Jesus recommends carrying a daypack, just big enough for the concerns and issues of one day, so I have a lot of unpacking to do.

I have therefore packed some spiritual food to meditate on like Psalm 23. I also rather like Teresa of Avila’s blessing:

“May today there be peace within. 
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.”

Or how about
“Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;

God alone suffices.

I do not speak Spanish very well, but I do like the sound of the original Spanish version. It ends with: “Solo Dios basta.” 

This has a ring of finality about it, don’t you think?

About the author:
Sue Irving is the co-ordinator for the Creative Communicators in Petersfield. She has co-written a book with her husband John about their experiences when climbing Kilimanjaro. It is aimed at both trekkers and those who are going through a dark time in their lives. How to conquer a mountain: Kilimanjaro lessons is available as a paperback and an e-book on Amazon, with all proceeds going to charity.

1 comment:

  1. Wow what an adventure and what a lesson for life. All the very best with your trip and I look forward to hearing all about it on your return