The road as a metaphor for our life

‘Caminante, son tus huellas

el camino y nada más;

caminante, no hay camino,

se hace el camino al andar’.

Antonio Machado


190 kilometres, too much or too little, it depends, in life everything is relative.

We are made for walking. And we owe it to bipedalism, one of the essential characteristics of our species. By standing upright and walking, our experiences and possibilities multiplied, continuing an increasingly complex evolutionary cycle. Walking may be the most characteristic movement that humans make. The way each of us walks reveals our unique integration of neuromuscular patterns; the quality of our gait reflects the qualities of our whole body, and our whole being. The philosopher Nietzsche said that, depending on one’s gait, one can see whether one has found one’s way.

When we wake up every morning just before we start walking, we have the possibility to negotiate who we are. Our thoughts and tensions are already present. Negotiate? Yes, to be able to choose.

Walking meditation gives us the opportunity to regain our awareness, which so often gets distracted or even stuck when the mind is left to its own devices. Whether moving between the floors of a building, down a city street or through the forest, it is an opportunity to guide us out of the distracted autopilot in which we live for much of the day. Taking one step at a time, focusing on the present. The mind quiets. It is easier not to get lost in our thoughts because we are tired and our mind is focused on the task at hand: walking. The “mental noise” is silenced. And inner space opens up. My Self.


190 kilometres, a lot or a little, it depends, in life everything is relative.

The road is a universal metaphor to refer to our existence, constant and “forced” walking, even in spite of ourselves. In a way, it could be said that we are “forced” to walk.

It also connects us to our body through greater body awareness. First through my aches and pains, maybe even blisters on my feet, am I tired, do I need to stop?

Our senses are amplified. Perception can become more powerful. I can feel that I hear or see more acutely.

This experience is like a magnifying glass, allowing me an expanded perception of life.



190 kilometres, a lot or a little, it depends, in life everything is relative.

These are the kilometres we have walked from St Jean Pied de Port to Logroño. Our group has been large, a lot of logistics, organisation, but a group that has mostly worked and has put its energy in being present so that we are all well, yes, every day with the good work and commitment. Walkers of different ages, it has been a great experience and I continue to marvel at seeing such vital people. Thank you all very much.


As I take a long walk, so I “walk” my life:

Do I walk in a hurry, wanting to reach my destination soon?

Do I walk slowly, enjoying the scenery?

Do I find it difficult to walk alone and in silence, do I prefer to be accompanied, do I stare at the ground, do I talk all the time, do I get bored?

Do I walk with my eyes fixed on the ground, do I talk all the time, do I get bored?

What thoughts come to me?

What movement patterns are accentuated, do I go more to one side, am I afraid of falling, which areas of my body are more compromised, do I know how to take care of them, what do I do when I reach the finish line at the end of the day, what do I do when I get to the end of the day?

Each pilgrim has his or her own rhythm and prefers not to alter it, even if this means walking alone for a stretch.



190 kilometres, too much or too little, it depends, in life everything is relative.

Seen from the outside, it’s all boots, maps, backpacks, hats, blisters and little or no make-up. However, from there, when we are all in the same conditions, differences emerge. On the one hand, we are all walkers and, on the other, each walker does his own Camino.

In a hostel I heard that the best thing for the feet was to wear two socks (one thin inside and the other thicker in contact with the shoes). The one next to me confirmed this, but always with light boots, he added. A third disagreed; he preferred sports shoes, as boots “roasted” his feet. Yet another praised the properties of his recently released insoles. In short, everyone has their own perfect footwear manual… and none of them are the same. I’ll stick with what I see in the guides, and Silvia, by the way, has been the best guide. Thin socks, wide shoes, you don’t need boots. The foot has to adapt.

The same goes for meal times and which foods are suitable. Another issue is the backpack and how to arrange the different elements of the luggage, according to the use we are going to make of them. And what to say about the type of clothes!

Although we all have to walk the same Camino, it is only by walking that we get to know our own strengths and weaknesses. From there, we can strengthen some and overcome others. But, in any case, it is only through action and subsequent reflection that we gain experience. Often we expect someone else to do exactly what we have done well. We can give a thousand pieces of advice, but each one of us must walk-know ourselves.


There are as many paths as there are walkers.

The path makes us equal, but walking the path makes us different.

And you, what experiences do you have of your path?


I just wanted to summarise El Camino as a metaphor, walking through life, each moment is a learning process that with awareness allows us to have more possibilities of choice and action.


Ah! more Roads will come, be on the lookout.

In the meantime read this poem:

“Llega un momento en que es necesario abandonar las ropas usadas que ya tienen la forma de nuestro cuerpo, y olvidar los caminos que nos llevan siempre a los mismos lugares.

Es el momento de la travesía. Y, si no osamos emprenderla, nos habremos quedado para siempre al margen de nosotros mismos.”

• Fernando Pessoa.