Buen Camino ~ a sabbatical pilgrimage

It’s been a life-long dream of mine to take time away from ‘the usual routine of work” for a significant period of time and set out on a personal journey that, although has been walked by thousands before me, will undoubtedly be a spiritual and magical experience. When walking the 800km ancient pilgrim path known as El Camino de Santiago, I intend to stay open for whatever, whoever, and however ‘it’ shows up along the way.

Packing for this adventure has been no small feat. The experts say to take not much more than 10% of your weight. Well, if you saw my closet you’d freak cause my natural inclination when I travel is to take one outfit per day! Ok – Ok This is absolutely not what I intend to do so here’s how things have transpired. I started out a couple of months ago buying my pack, sleeping sack, walking poles, hat and boots. The latter was a fairly big challenge cause I’ve had toenail problems in the past when hiking or running for hours at a time. What I have is something called ‘morgan’s toes’ – my second toes are longer than my big toes and thus jamming these babies into any kind of shoe for long stretches of time tends to cause the skin on the tip of my toes to blister and get perpetual calluses. Too much information? Alright … suffice to say searching for the perfect boots took me to four different places around the city and finally I decided on goretex Saloman Trail Runners. So far, with a few long walks under my belt, they are more than fine and I feel good to go. My next thing is to pack, unpack and repack again – each time weighing myself with and without my pack.

I must tell you that this trip has not been planned alone. A big part of my inspiration comes from my beloved friends Sue Kenney and Joe Yuan  (Sze Chiang). They are both passionate about the Camino and all that it has to offer. Sue now makes the Camino her life’s work and takes people on retreats to the ancient path. Joe has been a pilgrim three times taking various routes of the Camino. This year he plans to walk paths that he missed before and we plan to meet to walk together for ten days across the flat land of the Meseta. If we still enjoy each others company at the end, we will celebrate in Santiago and continue as tourists in the south of Spain relaxing and resting in style!

Naturally, planning to be away for a period of time means organizing things at home so that it’s possible to leave and be free of worry. I welcome Elizabeth Tromp, a friend, yoga teacher, and neighbour as Associate Teacher at Surround Circle Yoga, Elizabeth has kindly agreed to substitute for me while I am away, teaching all classes (adults, seniors, and Kids Yoga) for six weeks. To see the class schedule click here.

2 Responses

  1. Patrick Beaudry

    Dear Maureen, When I look at your painting I see your child within, a young girl, then a young woman, and further on, a woman whose life has been a continuing quest. There is so much innocence and the curiosity of a school girl whose life is a museum of exploration and wonder in this painting. It’s like stepping into a void with an open heart and damn the torpedoes. This continuing journey is such a privilege, and your walk on the Camino like for most, is for the privileged. What is comforting to know is that this opportunity will open up new doors of thought and contemplation, and an opportunity to, “see” and “listen,” and then bring it all back with you and share it with us through your gifts and blessings. I’m privileged to know you, and benefit from your friendship and insights. More important to me is how you inspire the best in me. I wish you a blessed journey and the freedom to let it all go, and see what’s there. Big love and thank you for everything. Enjoy every moment, Patrick…

  2. Jane Kleiman

    You, Maureen, are a model for living life to the fullest and staying open to your desires. You will undoubtedly return a new and yet absolutely the same person. Enjoy your journey!

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