Camino story 12: Aparecida Campos (47, Portugal): ‘On the Camino I embraced my inner-child’

‘After 13 days of walking, I arrived in Santiago de Compostela on May 21st, 2022. Somehow I still feel I am still there at that exact moment when I threw my backpack on the ground in front of that imposing Cathedral while my tears streamed down my face. It was as if my soul wanted to caress me and show me how happy it was. I did it! I can’t describe in words what I felt at that instant. I would say that my emotion was as great as the grandeur of the Cathedral. It felt like it was going to explode! When I was a teenager and dreamed of walking the Camino to Santiago, I imagined how I would feel. At that time, this feeling I imagined was real. When I arrived at the Cathedral 31 years later, that same feeling emerged. I realized that my feeling was Surreal, Indescribable, and Immeasurable.

My Camino was magical! With everything that the Way of Saint James is capable of showing, I encountered difficulties that only served to give more strength and meaning to my walk. I found Angels everywhere I went. I experienced the magic of allowing the Universe to guide every step I took, simply trusting the Universe! I had blisters that could not stop me. On the contrary! They showed me how grateful and careful I must be with my feet at the end of the daily walk.

Although I dreamed of doing the Camino de Santiago for a long 31 years, the only preparation I did was mental. I imagined the path and did it mentally many, many times! I didn’t follow the countless recommendations. I woke up on a beautiful day in March 2022 with an inner voice telling me it was time to fulfill that dream and start walking in the springtime. I followed that voice and my heart! That’s how I am! But of course, I advise everyone to prepare for the Camino physically and mentally. But in my case, the Way of Saint James was not about being able to do 10, 20, 30, or 40 kilometers a day. It was about being aware that part of the old me, the person who didn’t dare to follow her dreams, was left behind with each step I took. It was about making room for the new me, that assumed responsibility for her own destiny.

The 16-year-old girl who dreamed of walking the Camino to Santiago was waiting for the 47-year-old woman I now was. They met in front of the Cathedral. The Camino to Santiago meant looking into the eyes of that child dreamer. That child hid her dreams inside her soul, not telling anyone because others considered her dreams daydreams. The year was 1998. I remember the exact day, February 2nd. The day I had stopped dreaming. I had put my dreams in a drawer, locked it, and handed the keys to someone else. Perhaps great foolishness! In 2015 my life changed profoundly. I found the keys to that drawer again by luck. The hands that once held them had dropped them. I opened the drawer and exhaled an indescribable aroma that invaded my whole being. Since then, I have opened that drawer every day and vowed to make my dreams come true.

So it didn’t matter how many kilometers I walked a day. The only thing I wanted was to look into the eyes of my inner child, hold her hands and say that the woman she has become doesn’t care what people say about her dreams. She only cares about making each one of them come true! The moment I walked down the road to meet this girl, I would only say one thing: Dream a lot, really a lot, because I will be with you to make it come true!

Walking the Camino to Santiago was more than a dream come true. It was an inner rescue. At each step I took, a little bit of myself remained on that magic Way. I left my tears in the rivers, so I became the river… At each rose and flower that I smelled, I became their perfume… At every bird song I heard, I allowed my soul to dance. With every step, I became pure gratitude and contemplation. The year was 2022. On May 21st, I threw my backpack to the ground and embraced my inner Dream Child, and we merged to move forward and dream together!’

Continue reading:

Ozi (Switserland): ‘I learned to solve problems by distancing myself from them.’

Eleanor: ‘On the camino I regained inner peace.’

Paul (60, The Netherlands) – ‘The camino taught me how to live again’

Carla (36, The Netherlands): Recovering from burnout while walking the camino

Sofia’s (54, Brazil) camino story: ‘At Cruz de Ferro came the sadness

Nagela Alexa’s Camino Story: ‘The Camino changes your life if you allow it.’

Fabrice (38, France): ‘I realized that walking the camino itself was self-imposed pressure

Andre’s story (58, Belgium): ‘On the camino, I had to face the hard fact of how horribly I treat myself.’

Emma’s story: ‘I learned to say goodbye on the camino (and in life)

Maarten’s story: The power of vulnerability

Agne-Henrik’s story: ‘The camino changed my life

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