Camino de Santiago

Month: January, 2015

Camino Tree Groves – Pano of the Week

In preparing to walk through Spain, we wondered what kind of animal and plant and tree life we would see. We wondered what the forests would be like. Each day and week we walked we got to experience the unique and different trees, groves and forests. Sometimes we walked through groves of Chestnut trees. Later in the walk near the end we came across the tall thin Eucalyptus tree groves. The panoramic for this week is one I took about halfway through the Camino in a section of the very flat Meseta. Not sure what kind of trees they are though (they were tall and thin like the Eucalyptus trees but I don’t think these were Eucalyptus trees).

Camino Grove of Trees

500 Miles and 5 Minutes

20140920-Najera-Santo-10-10-3As many of you probably know I have been a Seattle Seahawk season ticket holder since 1976 and so it would only be fitting that I have something to say in the Camino blog this week in regards to “The Miracle at the Clink” last week. It was truly one of the most astounding and inspiring football games I have ever witnessed. It has been so much fun all week reliving the memories of the game last week with family and friends. Everyone loves to tell their story of where they were watching the game and what they were feeling during the historic comeback from being down 19-7 with 5 minutes to go after the 4th interception by Green Bay. It all seemed so lost at that point and yet this team never gave up and they trusted, supported and believed in each other. A hallmark of the Seahawk character.

I know it seemed that this amazing Seahawk comeback was truly an impossible task. That was the thinking that Terri and I had initially when we first started thinking about walking 500 miles. We were both very aware of how difficult a challenge we were facing. In fact, it was not uncommon that during some of the difficult times we faced on the walk to doubt ourselves and begin to wonder what we were doing. It was such a long distance to walk. Looking back now on it we can see how our preparation we put in helped us so much and we had a very strong desire to see it to completion. Terri, in particular, was faced with even more of a challenge to finish than I did. She was in pain the last half of the Camino from the stress fractures in her ankle and foot. Much like the end of the NFC Championship game, where Richard Sherman gutted out the last quarter with a hyper extended-elbow and played with one arm, Terri also gutted it out to the end. She and Richard had no quit in their game. They were going to finish it to the end. It takes guts, determination and strong will to finish and never give up.  It also takes the love and support of family and friends and fellow Camino pilgrims to get through the really difficult times and what appears to be impossible situations we may face.

We all have and are going to be faced with challenges that seem impossible. Let’s take some of our inspiration from the example we saw last weekend and always prepare ourselves the best we can for what we will face and never give up and always support each other all the way to the end!

The Long Road Ahead – Pano Of The Week

Not all our Camino walking was on natural paths. There were times when we walked along side a highway sometimes for a number of hours. This particular morning we had a nice sunrise to start our long day’s walk alongside the highway.

The Long Road Ahead

Work and Rest

20141014-Arzua-Santiago-314-2I have an app on my phone that I use when I exercise at the gym. It is a simple app that gives me an audio cue to start working and when to stop.It also cues me to begin my rest and when to return back to work. You can set the amount of time you work and rest. I started using this exercise technique when I learned about how effective this work/rest exercise routine can be for your health. You work out as fast as you can for 30 or 40 seconds and then you rest for 20 to 30 seconds (to catch your breath) and then you repeat this over and over. The research on improving your cardio fitness shows that this technique is more effective than a workout where you work at a steady slower rate for 30 minutes without rest.

When I was working out at the gym this week, I was thinking about how this work/rest routine as it related to our Camino walk. The one thing that Terri and I would like to have done differently in our planning for the Camino was to have a schedule that gave us a better  work/rest cycle. We found that we did not give ourselves enough time to walk the Camino and we were forcing ourselves into longer days of walking and not getting enough rest. Our booked flight home set our schedule and we did not rest enough each week.

“Rest is an essential enzyme of life, as necessary as air. Without rest, we cannot sustain the energy we need to have life.” (Sabbath, by Wayne Muller). I love this quote. It is one we all need to remember. Work hard but remember rest is vital and as necessary to us as the air we breathe.

Outstanding In Your Field – Pano of the Week

Every so often I come across a awesome landscape and I get really excited as I try and capture the scene. I saw this lone tree on the horizon and could see the lighting was very subtle and pleasant with this expansive harvested field stretching on forever.

Hope you enjoy this one.

Outstanding In Your Field

Internet of People

20140920-Najera-Santo-74-EditThis past week at the Consumer Electronics Show they were predicting the next big consumer electronics trend; the “Internet of Things”. The ” Internet of Things” is an interesting trend. It is the connectivity of the internet with the “things” we all use each day in our lives. The idea here is that the “things” we interact with each day will anticipate our needs and respond. What does this mean? Some examples are: Alarm clocks that go off early if there is traffic, plants that communicate with the sprinkler system if it is time for them to be watered, and medicine containers that tell your family members if you forget to take the medicine.

Things responding and anticipating our needs got me thinking about something I would call the “Internet of People”. What is “Internet of People”? It is people anticipating and responding to the needs of other people. We had an interesting example of this on the Camino. We found that as we walked, we met and got to know more and more fellow pilgrims. We were developing our “Internet of People” along the way. Each time we would meet up again with our fellow pilgrim friends it was always fun to get caught up with each other. Often we would be sharing with each other suggestions and tips we had learned along the way. We were anticipating each others needs and providing helpful suggestions to each other. We really enjoyed the learning and sharing with our fellow pilgrims.

We all know that people are so much more important than things. Regardless of what happens with this “Internet of Things”, I think the “Internet of People” will always be more important and you don’t need batteries!

God Bless,

John and Terri

Letting Our Minds Wander


Some of the pilgrims that walk the Camino are doing it because they are searching for answers. They might have recently lost a loved one and are grieving. They might have lost their job or have recently gone through a divorce. The Camino often is used as therapy for those pilgrims. I suspect that in many cases it delivers the answers they are seeking.

I remember overhearing a woman during one of our mid morning breaks at a cafe/bar talking to her friend about how amazed she was in coming to a solution with some situation she was facing back at home. She wondered aloud why she never thought of it before. It seemed the solution was right in front of her but she never saw it.

I am reading a book about learning. It provides techniques that you can use to help you be more effective and efficient in learning based on the science of how the brain works. The book describes two types of brain networks that our brains switch between, highly attentive state and the  resting state networks. They are also called focused mode and diffuse mode. You are in either one mode or the other, but not consciously in both at the same time. Both modes are highly important for learning.

The diffuse mode is interesting. The diffuse mode is what happens when we relax our attention and let our minds wander. It is in this mode that we often suddenly gain a new insight on a problem. That is why I suspect that walking the Camino is so important for those pilgrims that are searching for answers. There is a lot of time for letting our mind wander as we walk all day long for weeks. The Camino puts people in the state of mind to help them find some answers.

This is a good Camino lesson for us all. We must remember that when we are facing a tough problem or situation we need to remember how our brain works. It needs to have some time to work on the problem in the background. There is real value in going for that walk in the park and letting our mind wander!

Happy New Year!

John and Terri