“In 2011, I had a terrible accident. In a split second, my life changed dramatically. It was a stupid mistake, my mistake. I stepped out into the street without looking and was hit by a cab. There wasn’t a bone in my body that wasn’t broken. The doctors said I was fortunate to be alive. At first, I didn’t feel lucky at all. My body was in ruins, but so was my life. The only luck I had was that I wasn’t fired. I had only been working in London at a financial institution for a few months, but they kept me on. I’m still grateful to them for that.
I could hardly do anything anymore. I returned to France, where I rehabilitated for a year. Given the circumstances, rehabilitation went well. But according to the rehabilitation doctor, I would never be able to walk properly again. But I am a fighter, a go-getter. If someone tells me I can’t do something, I will move heaven and earth to prove the opposite. When sufficiently rehabilitated, I left Paris for Saint Jean Pied de Port where I started my camino.
I had constant pain while walking. At one point, I couldn’t do it anymore. I thought: who am I doing this for? What am I trying to prove, and for whom? The answer was that I wasn’t doing it for myself but to prove to others what I was made out of. That was such an eye-opener. Then I started to see that I spent my whole life proving myself to others. What pressure. Because, of course, it is never enough. To be more precise, I thought it was never enough! I did it to myself. I even started to realize that walking the camino itself was self-imposed pressure. A good friend of mine had walked the camino, and he was very enthusiastic. Then I thought I should be able to do that too. But I hate walking! I met fantastic people, but I hate sleeping in a dormitory with snoring fellow pilgrims.
I only had to walk over 100 kilometers to reach Santiago de Compostela, but I stopped. Of course, that little voice said I was a weakling. But I then said ‘no’ out loud. That felt so good! I have a double-edged feeling when I think about the camino; yes, the camino brought me a lot. But no, I’m not going to walk the camino 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’