Change

When you travel you take something with you and you leave something behind.”

I’ve changed every time I’ve faced personal challenges such as marriage, motherhood, living in a new country, death of my parents, but the biggest life-changing experience for me was when I walked on The Camino to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Though I didn’t have dreams like Shirley MacLaine 

Through a range of astonishing and liberating visions and revelations, Shirley MacLaine saw into the meaning of the cosmos, including the secrets of the ancient civilizations of Atlantis and Lemuria, insights into human genesis, the essence of gender and sexuality, and the true path to higher love.

I learned to face my fears of the unknown and to believe in myself.

I didn’t feel I’d completed the pilgrimage when I reached the Cathedral in Santiago. Though the church service for pilgrims was a thrilling experience and a proud moment for me, it was too crowded, as was the city of Santiago which is overflowing with pilgrims, tourists, and souvenirs [!].

Inside the Cathedral during the service

Inside the Cathedral during the service

I needed a quiet place to reflect on what I’d achieved.

I took a bus ninety miles further west to Finisterre, a rock-bound peninsula on the west coast of Galicia where the Camino ends.

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In the Middle Ages those who ended their pilgrimage at Finisterre believed those rocks were at the edge of the world. It must have been a terrifying experience to go there.

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Some people celebrate the completion of their pilgrimage at Finisterre with a personal ceremony where they burn their clothes or leave their boots behind.

DSCN6355

This man is adding his blue jacket to the fire.

When I hiked out past the lighthouse onto the cliff and looked out over the huge expanse of ocean, I didn’t need to burn my clothes or leave my boots behind to know I’d completed a life-changing journey.

I felt the presence of the countless pilgrims who’d sat on that windy rock before me, and enveloped by an enormous sense of accomplishment, and pride, an inner peace such as I’d never known before filled my heart.

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For previous posts on my pilgrimage to Santiago, go to TRAVEL POSTS at the top of my blog, and look under SPAIN.

This week’s WordPress photo challenge is Change.

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About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
This entry was posted in Not America, Photography, Tutto va bene, Wondering and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

81 Responses to Change

  1. I love the juxtaposition of the ‘largeness’ of the feelings you have when you accomplish something that like and the ‘smallness’ of your physical self and reality on earth as you sit contemplating timeless and enduring Nature.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Tara,
      Its hard to put into words how one feels back in the world after completing something as huge as that little walk in Spain, but you just did. The “largeness” of my feelings vs the “smallness” of the me on that rock is exactly what I was trying to express. You’re a wordsmith!

  2. shoreacres says:

    While the pilgrimage was clearly a life-changing event, it occurs to me that you had been changing for a good long time before you set off for Spain. Otherwise, you never would have done it. And now that you’ve had this experience, change continues. Who knows what next life-changing event awaits?

    I was thinking of you just a day or so ago. A blogger who knows Japan intimately reviewed three books on his blog. One is called Running the Shikoku Pilgrimage. I think you’ll enjoy reading about it. The parallels between Shikoku and The Camino are obvious and very interesting.

    • dearrosie says:

      You’re quite right Linda. I had to wait almost 20 years before I could walk on the Camino, and though I was frustrated that I couldn’t walk when I was in 40’s I now realize that I walked at the right time for me. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and personal growth over the past few years and last year I was spiritually ready for the challenge. Of course completing the Camino doesn’t mean end-of-story! Its exciting to see that I continue to change each and every day.

      I hadn’t planned to write this post I thought I’d done enough on the Camino and WP only gives out the weekly challenges on Friday mornings, but my hands took over and wrote it for me … perhaps I needed to remind myself that I’m not scared of anything and that I’m ready for whatever’s next.

      Many thanks for mentioning the Japanese pilgrimage Shikoku. I hadn’t heard of it. (and for the link). So much to read now.

  3. Change becoming transformation, may it always be so!

  4. mithriluna says:

    What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge Change | 2013 Weekly Photo Challenge Blog

  6. nrhatch says:

    What a great place to end your hike, Rosie. The photo with all the boots left behind is priceless. Love the one with you and the sea too.

    • dearrosie says:

      Although I loved the pilgrims service in the Cathedral in Santiago I didn’t feel as though I’d ended the walk until I’d gone to the end of the line…
      I don’t usually include photos of myself on my blog but that photo of me on the rock was the best way to illustrate “life changing”.

      I don’t know what they do with those boots left on the rocks. I hope they don’t let them rot out there.

  7. a friend of mine is hiking the camino right now and i’m hoping she is having the kind of life-changing experience you had. I just love that photo of you on the rock, looking out over the ocean. i can feel your peace!

    • dearrosie says:

      Dear Betty,
      I’m sure you can understand my frustration that I had to wait til I was 60 to walk on the Camino, but looking back I realize that I walked at a time when I was spiritually ready for the challenge. What about your friend? Is she walking on the Camino after much soul-searching and personal growth or because she wants to “tick” off another country or “thing” on her list.

      I feel peaceful every time I see that photo of me on the rock. I’m so happy to know that you feel that peace too.

  8. A really good interpretation and story – I enjoyed it!

  9. likeitiz says:

    What an experience. One day, I will be as brave as you and I will do this journey too. Thank you.

    • dearrosie says:

      Thank you for taking the time to write and tell me you enjoyed reading about my Camino experience ikeitiz.

      I had to wait almost 20 years to walk on the Camino. If you really want to go, you’ll go when the time is right for you.

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  14. MaanKind says:

    Lovely! I just loved Shirley’s book! All those channelings!

    • dearrosie says:

      Thank you MaanKind. I think Shirley’s book will always be in print not only because she’s a courageous woman, but because of all the past lives and loves she describes 😀

  15. I really admire the adventure of your walk along the Camino, Rosie. I can’t imagine taking such a trip without it being ultimately life-changing. I admire you so much for taking the trip. I really do think it was a courageous journey to take! oxo

    • dearrosie says:

      I love your new gravatar Debra. I’m finally talking to the woman with the beautiful smile. 😀

      Thank you for your lovely comment.

      When I was in Spain I saw that the Camino has also become popular with folks who want to tick off their “bucket” list [ouch! I really dislike that word and never thought I’d use it in my blog] of “adventure-vacations” and the tour groups that cater to that kind of tourist organize a very different type of “Camino” to the one I had. These people stay in hotels every night, they walk without their backpacks, and some of them even have “service vehicles” which drive past their guests and offer them water and snacks. Yes I saw that. Why did I mention this? Perhaps I’m mistaken but I cannot imagine a trip like that would be life-changing.

  16. Amy says:

    Beautiful post about the process of a life journey change!

  17. aFrankAngle says:

    A wonderful post looking back at your journey … and what a fitting end to your journey.

  18. mrscarmichael says:

    I really want to do that pilgrimage.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Mrs carmichael.
      Its really lovely to see you here again.

      I waited almost twenty years to go on my pilgrimage. I realize that I walked at a time when I was spiritually ready for the challenge. If you really want to walk the Camino you’ll get there when the time is right for you.

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  21. Rosie, it sounds like it was really a life-changing and awakening experience for you. I think I would continue on to the “end of the world” as you did, to just enjoy the solitude and the sense of accomplishment and awe. I really do hope to go NEXT summer, so when I’m preparing, I will enjoy reading all about your experience. Amazing! And your photos are great too!

    • dearrosie says:

      Something I really loved when I walked was “the freedom and the peace” I felt every day out there along the paths. I think a lot of people go back to the Camino because they don’t know where else to find it.

      Cathy when you’re ready to go I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

      • Ok, thanks so much, Rosie. I’m sure that freedom and peace are amazing things on the Camino. I feel that way every time I go out for a hike in nature, but only in short bursts. I really hope I can get it together to go next year and I will definitely have lots of questions for you. 🙂

  22. i.e. fullstop says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for taking us there.

    I’m glad you didn’t burn your hiking clothes or boots. You’ll need them on your next hike.

    Long live the Sticky Monkey Trekkers!

    • dearrosie says:

      Ciao i.e. fullstop
      I don’t know about you but I could never burn my boots. After carrying me “blister-free” all those days for all those miles, they’ve become my best friends 😀
      I know a woman who left her boots behind because they were falling apart and that I can understand, but I don’t know why they’d burn a decent pair of boots or their jackets…?

  23. restlessjo says:

    Quite a journey, in more ways than one, Rosie.

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  25. Sue Kenney says:

    Love your writing. Brought back many memories of walking with you. Suseya pilgrim!
    Sue

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Sue, it’s almost time for you to lead the next group.

      If anyone reading Sue’s comment wants to know what “Suseya” means:
      Sue started a virtual pilgrim’s group:
      “Suseya is a Latin word meaning Upward. When the pilgrims of the past walked to Santiago they were greeted with the word, Ultreya. (Onward) Once they arrived in Santiago, they had to walk all the way back home. They were often greeted with the word Suseya.”
      http://suekenney.ca/the-camino/suseya-virtual-pilgrims-center/

  26. dadirri7 says:

    what a wonderful journey and post rosie, i totally understand needing to ready for such a challenge and the transformation it promises … i love that you went to the end, the end of the earth … so very meaningful … i would love to do the walk one day too but we usually try to avoid tourists when we travel .. i know that sounds silly, but it works … last autumn we stayed in Perigueux for a week and saw the scallop shell is set into the medieval roads there, part of the pilgrimage route…

    • dearrosie says:

      Hey I understand the need to travel far from the crowds at the popular places. Mr F and I also avoid tourists when we travel. We never travel in Europe during the busy summer months, and last time we went to Italy we ended up in Piedmonte because it’s not as popular as Tuscany.

      Its sad in a way that the Camino has become so popular. I think its now one of the destinations favored by adventure travelers.

      Where is Perigueux?

  27. lexiesnana says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing adventure. I loved reading it.

    • dearrosie says:

      Its good to know you enjoyed reading about my adventure lexiesnana.
      I didn’t think I could do it. I’m not in my 40’s anymore and I have health issues but I did it… more power to us. 😀

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  29. This is fantastic, Rosie: to imagine what it must have been like to sit at teh end of the world, for real. It really is an incredible place.

    • dearrosie says:

      Kate I was nervous about going alone without Mr F and I wasn’t sure I could do the walk after all I’m middle-aged and have health issues, so when I sat on that windy rock at the edge of the world looking out at the vast ocean I felt as if I were on top of the world. I’d successfully faced my fears. Nothing would ever stop me.

  30. I love the quote you started with and the way you used it to show what you gained along the way. I always feel like the destinations I have visited become a part of me and hopefully, I leave something of myself behind with the people I have met. We could even say that about our blogs, couldn’t we?

    • dearrosie says:

      I don’t know where I found that quote but it so perfectly illustrated my feelings about my travels. I’m pleased you noticed it Renee. When we make a connection with people we leave something of ourselves with them, and hopefully they take away something “nice”.
      You’re right that if we’re successful bloggers we should be doing that with our blogs. I also try do that with the strangers at my cash register.

  31. I like Renee’s comment to your quote. My thoughts were running similarly. So pleased to have “met” you in time to experience vicariously–not truly– your walk. A friend of my sister will be walking it soon and she wrote her a note including Joan Manuel Serrat singing “Caminante”…go to youtube and listen to it. It’s powerful like the road meeting the sea. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DA3pRht2MA

    • dearrosie says:

      I’m so glad to know you’ve enjoyed experiencing the Camino vicariously through me Georgette. I thought my blogging buddies may be bored of it by now…
      Its interesting that even now, almost a year later, the experience is still filtering down, and I’m still gaining inner wisdom and being reminded of my courage.

      Thank you for including the youtube link to Joan Manuel Serrat singing “Caminante”. He’s got a beautiful voice and though I didn’t understand it, I felt emotional listening to it.
      What does “golpe a golpe mean?”

  32. one pounding step after another…See you did get it!

    Here’s the translation…
    Wanderer (one who walks), your footsteps
    the road, and nothing more;
    wanderer, we have no road,
    we make the road by walking.
    As you walk you make the road,
    and to look back
    is to see that never
    can we pass this way again.
    Wanderer, there is no road,
    only the wake in the sea.

  33. Dinah says:

    Dear Rosie,
    I was so moved by that photo of you sitting on the rock overlooking the ocean and reading that reaching your destination made you feel connected to all who came before and gave you such joy. If that isn’t a spiritual experience, I don’t know what is! May the truth of that moment remain with you always, my friend. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

    • dearrosie says:

      Dear Dinah,
      Oh my goodness what a lovely comment. I sincerely hope the truth of that moment will always stay with me. At the moment just looking at the photo and I’m taken right back to that windy rock – may it continue to do so.

  34. Marianne says:

    What a lovely post – I’m hoping to do the pilgrimage too! 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Marianne,
      I’m always delighted to welcome someone new to my blog. It makes me happy to know you enjoyed my post. Thinking about doing the pilgrimage can take years. I know all about that. It took me almost 20 years before I actually managed to get there.

  35. Beautiful and inspiring my friend. I’d been to many places, met so many people, changed a lot and yes, ““When you travel you take something with you and you leave something behind,” felt and lived this by heart.

  36. A real trip of a lifetime. Brava you! 🙂

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  40. sybil says:

    What a wonderful experience. Change can be a marvellous thing.

  41. munchow says:

    I have read you previous posts about the pilgrimage, but this one tells more about your inner travel than the physical experience of walking to Santiago de Compostela. I truly must have been a life changing experience.

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