Before walking the Camino Frances, I read many accounts of trips and voyages from people all over the world. One thing they all had in common was that each person noticed upon their return that something changed within themselves. I did what any other reasonably open-minded cynic would do – I scoffed.  Now that I’m back home, I’ve realized something is actually different…no, I’m still a cynic. But I did realize that doing something intense for five weeks, there is no way it doesn’t leave its mark on you. So without me even attempting any sort of self-reflection or being “actively open to the Universe”, the Camino still managed to imprint itself on me. Without further ado, here are 25 random ways the Camino Frances left its indelible mark on moi, both physically and mentally:

  1. I see km in how many days it would take to walk it
  2. Developed and shaped my muscle tone – slimmed down my sprinter’s thighs and created an actual butt
  3. I can climb stairs without wanting to kill myself just so that my soul can fly up the stairs insteadChange is Gonna Come (2)
  4. Greet strangers more often and get annoyed when they don’t say hello back
  5. Less patience for clutter at home – to the utter annoyance of those in the house, I’ve been purging things left, right, center
  6. Less tolerance to heat/humidity which is probably just due to an increased fondness for lovely walking weather (which is how I now see each day – if it is nice and mild, my first thought really is “oh, this is good for today’s walk!”)
  7. Need to relearn that vino tinto does not cure all ills
  8. Umbrellas are optional
  9. Strangely enough, my hair is healthier
  10. My general walking speed has changedChange is Gonna Come (3)
  11. Embraced the idea that things do not need to be planned right down to the very last detail days in advance
  12. I see arrows everywhere and they make me smile and be sad at the same time (better than getting excited over arrows or I’d be worried about having developed a fetish)
  13. Flashbacks, especially during the workday – not conducive to getting assignments done on time
  14. Less patience for myself in just existing and not pursuing my goals
  15. Need to remember there is more to getting ready in the morning than rolling out of bed, washing one’s face, and picking up a backpack
  16. Constant craving for Cola Cao and tortillaChange is Gonna Come (5)
  17. More comfortable with myself and able to speak up
  18. Developed new skills such as taking off my jacket while still wearing my backpack AND while still walking
  19. Distance really is relative
  20. A meal feels incomplete without three courses (in fact, I still eat Camino amount which is why I now have to torture myself with a spinning class)
  21. My feet got super dependent on my orthotics – the days of wearing cheap shoes are gone
  22. Accepted things about my personality that while I may sometimes wish were different, I’ve learned to embraced themChange is Gonna Come (6)
  23. More able to endure a conversation about touchy feely crap
  24. Developed good/bad habit of “I’ll get there when I get there” but it is also tempered by a skill in time guesstimation
  25. People are not the enemy from whom one should run away. Chat, enjoy the company, and THEN runaway (why yes, I am an introvert)Change is Gonna Come (4)