Project Camino: Part 2- Confidence.

It takes a lot of confidence to try new things. I’m not saying that before I wasn’t confident, because I was. I wasn’t afraid to talk to people or try something new, however there is a difference in getting that weird sounding plate of food from wagamamas and walking 260km through Spain.
On my travels, it was hard, especially at the start, to walk up to other walkers to engage in conversation. This is a bit of a problem when you’re on your own for two weeks with nothing to do.

I have met some incredible people as I let my confidence grow. For me, it takes time, it takes time for everyone to adapt, yet they are all on the same walk as you are. Confidence takes time. You need time to grow but, once you realise that it doesn’t matter, it’s easy.
One of the many purposes of the trip was to allow myself to try new things. Jumping off of bridges into rivers, eating octopus tentacles, a cheeky splash of wine and even going to church. For me, that’s big.

Starting at Astorga, I was immediately nervous, not sure where we were starting that night, wether or not we could have a bed, what we would be eating, wether it would rain, if my bag was too light, how was my stomach? In the end, I decided none of that mattered.
It doesn’t matter, in all honesty. I was prepared for it, but I was still choosing to make myself anxious. Why would I choose to make myself feel bad? Ultimately, I am in charge of how I feel and I am the only person in control with my emotions. Why waste my time bumming myself out.

A wise man told me something along the way that has stuck with me, as a kind of mantra.

The only thing that is important is you being happy.

I was fortunate enough to understand that along the way. Why would I waste my time caring what other people think? If I want to try something, yet somebody doesn’t want me to, should I let that influence my decision in anyway. Granted if it was jumping out of a plane without a parachute I may reconsider, but everyday things. Talking to people, learning about new things and experience amazing things. Seeing great sights and sounds ultimately made me realise the importance of being happy. If I wasn’t happy, why would I do it.

Confidence is, for me, an interesting issue. You can’t pick up a bag of confidence at your local supermarket (a cheap bottle of whiskey that does the same thing maybe). It’s purely mental. I view it the same way as I view fear. It is a mental subject that is entirely self inflicted that limits ones ability. If I’m not confident in myself, I may perform at a lower level. So why? Surely if I am in charge of my own emotions and mental state I can simply decide, we can all simply decide, to simply stop and be confident. Confidence is purely subjective, once you realise that, you will soon not care about it any more.

Elliot out.

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Project Camino: Part I of V

PART ONE: ORIGINS

All stories have origins. Wether or not they happen in a particularly epic manner or not is a different manner. For me, the start of my 260km trek through Spain didn’t start with a vision in a burning bush, or a visit from the ghost of Christmas past, or a paranormal entity crawling out of my TV, but walking out of a cinema, 99p Chicken Mayo burger in hand.

“I’m just saying, sometimes it’s better to not know where you’re going. When was the last time you went on an actual adventure?”
This was the kind of thing we usually talked about, my dad and I, when out together. His mundane collection of maps annoyed me. My mundane approach of adventure and wandering blindly annoyed him. What was planned there and then may, or may not have been to put these theories to the test. My Dad, who had remained silent now offered his thoughts. “Have you ever heard of the Camino?”

Well, me being a sixteen year old obviously hadn’t. I knew about the burger, and munched on it silently. What was a Camino? It sounded like a species of Piranha.
I did have the guts to Google it when we got home. “WHAT! THAT’S A WALK, A LONG ONE!”. I hadn’t really known much about how long walks usually were, as the average duration for me was fifteen minutes down to the local Tesco to get a jumbo chocolate croissant in the morning (85p, in case you’re wondering, i’d recommend).
260km would be our distance, restricted by time.
That and my fitness.
Oh, and the sleeping arrangements.

I didn’t know this at the time, but hostels are not that comfortable. I was given a description, but nothing could prepare me for the living conditions. In fact, nothing could have prepared me for any of it. The walking, early hours, coffee, massive sandwiches, annoying birds and snoring women. All of which I experienced. But I did try to prepare.

Climbing Mt Snowdon, the numerous hikes, early starts and aching all played their part in my year long training so I would simply be able to finish. I do live in England though, so I don’t have the heat. Scorched earth beating down on you without any shade for hours as your lips dry and water depletes. You wage a constant war with the equilibrium of energy and sleep.

But I like a challenge. I like seeing what I can actually do, how far I can push myself.

After all, how bad could it be?

-Elliot

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