Call Your Closest Clinic, Australia-Wide
Call Your Closest Clinic, Australia-Wide

Walking the Camino

Carmel Limpus RN based in Ipswich


During September 2017 I walked the Camino de Santiago or the Way of St James from France, over the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

I stumbled across the idea of a pilgrimage walk a couple of years ago when my Mother and the ‘Godmother’ took me to the movies to see a documentary on it.  I walked out of that theatre and thought – ‘ if those old dudes can do it, so can I’.

That started about 18mths of planning – equipment to gather, fitness and endurance to establish and the nerve to do this on my own.  I had never undertaken a trip such as this before, could I even do it? The short answer is a resounding YES!  When asked 'why?', I answer – ‘I don’t know, maybe it’s the challenge of doing something so totally out of the box for me.’  What I do know is that it was the most challenging, surprising, rewarding, life-affirming experience that I have ever encountered.

People walk this trail as a pilgrimage, often looking for a meaning to life, love, answers to life’s questions and a way to process grief.  The blogs I stalked had a lot of participants write of experiencing epiphanies of every sort.  I guess I’m still waiting for mine!  What I did discover is that I do love being outdoors regardless of the weather, trying to communicate in another language (especially for a glass of wine), meeting and talking with an endless amount of fellow walkers from all over the world, walking across the north of Spain of approximately 800kms, towards a common goal – Santiago de Compostela.

I walked through large towns like Pamplona and small farming villages situated in the middle of nowhere, through the middle of working farms even. I saw cities with the most awe-inspiring cathedrals, sampled amazing food, and have I mentioned the wine!  The walking was never difficult, even the steep bits, and of those there were many! The distances, however, could be long and on some stretches – never ending. Always glad to reach the next town and find a bed for the night, but the shared end goal always in sight, shown on the pathside markers letting you know just how far to Santiago.

There is something to be said about the excitement of getting up in the morning, having that first cup of café con leche and just following the paths and markers. A real sense of freedom from everyday life where everything is simple. Eat, sleep, walk and repeat.

No matter the aches and pains of the body (there are many drugs for that!!), one can go on.  I did. Over 5 weeks I walked approximately 700 of the 800kms with a plantar fasciitis that I developed several weeks before leaving!  Received acupuncture in Burgos, took anti-inflammatories and fell in love with my trekking poles!, and followed those yellow arrows and scallop shells right to St James.

I believe I have the walking bug ----- bring on the next big walk!


From Carmel Limpus RN

Ipswich TMA