As cheesy as this may sound, it has proved to be more than 100% true. I know everyone has heard this sentence more than a 1000 times; in movies, from parents, grandparents, friends, or anyone. You just have heard it before. But I wanted to share my experience with it, and how it literally is true.
Approximately 800 km/500 miles, that is how long El Camino de Santiago is. I decided to walk this Camino for various reasons which I have discussed in a previous post. But getting actually to Saint Jean Pied de Port in France (Part one of getting there, Part two, and three) and waking up the next morning, and starting to walk? That is a totally different thing that comes with a huge mixture of feelings. “Will I do it?” “Why am I doing it?” “Do I really want to do this?” “If I give up what will my friends and family say about me?” “How will I trust myself with big decisions if I give up?” and many, many more thoughts, fears and feelings were all mixed and racing through my mind when I woke up and was packing my backpack to leave.
But those were suddenly deleted, when I actually went out and asked a guy in a restaurant cleaning the table after some people had breakfast, with my extremely broken French: “Bonjour, où est El Camino de Santiago?”. He probably noticed that I can’t speak French and answered me in English: “Just cross that bridge”
Seriously? That’s it? It’s more than a 30 days walk and all the directions you give me are “cross that bridge”?
It is then that you notice that really, this “500 mile” road starts with a single step, over that bridge! The journey of a thousand miles (or 500) begins with one single step! You don’t need to think much about it, just take the leap into the road and the road will carry you.
Again I thought of the same quotation but in a different situation, my legs and feet were annoying and hurting, I had the wrong walking shoes and I had twisted both my ankles, got tendonitis and ofcourse a couple of blisters. Every morning I would wake up and decide that I will just walk for a very small bit, till the next town or village and then take the bus from there and just have the day off. But it never went that way, as soon as I would start walking, as soon as I took that first step, it’s over! It is then I know I will walk for the day, and I wouldn’t care about the painful feet or the bad shoes. Just after that first step is taken, you get all energized and ready to go on for even longer than you have planned! It is that first step that will kepp you going, you just need to “man up” and take it!